Wait, NINE Billion People?? World Population Day 7/11/2013

I recently received the following (slightly shortened) email. Sometimes, because there’s just not enough time to read them all, I delete mass emails like this. However, I found the title compelling enough to open and then, the message within even more interesting. There could be 9 Billion people on the planet before my time is up (given I live to be nice and old and past 2050). That’s alarming since we’re struggling now to balance food and water and other resources equitably for the 7 billion we have now. Read below and learn more about these challenges- truly upsetting.

BUT, what I liked most about this email is the hope it provides. Hope is a powerful motivator and clearly (below) there are many folks out there with hope that they can make a difference.

Danielle, author of the email, asks the readers to suggest other groups and names addressing the issues presented within- do you know anyone? I wrote back and suggested the Half the Sky Movement.


“Dear Stephenie,

Thursday, July 11th, is World Population Day.   The United Nations estimates that global population will swell to 9 billion by the year 2050.   Most of this growth will occur in urban areas and emerging economies in Asia,   Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. Cities such as Delhi, India; Sao   Paolo, Brazil; and Lagos, Nigeria will become the largest in the world, while   rural areas will lose inhabitants.

At least one billion   people around the world do not get enough to eat. A nearly equal amount – 1.4   billion – are overweight, and can suffer from various health problems such as   diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. And more than 200 million women across the globe have an unmet need for   contraception, keeping them from planning how many children they want to have   and when. In addition, women farmers often lack access to land, credit, and   education making it harder for them to provide for their families. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that if women had the same access to these services as men, global malnutrition could be reduced by 12 to 17 percent.

But committed groups around the world are highlighting the   connections between population growth, gender, reproductive health,   agricultural production, and environmental sustainability and the need for   integrated, holistic approaches to nourish both people and the planet.

The 18 individuals and organizations below (in alphabetical order) are all taking action to prepare for the challenges presented by global population growth through research, advocacy, education, and community outreach.   What other groups are taking on these issues? Please let us know in the comments or email me.”

  1. Aspen Global Health and Development
  2. Cecile Richards
  3. Center for Environment and Population
  4. Debra Hauser
  5. The Earth Institute, Colombia University Center on   Globalization and Sustainable Development
  6. Every Mother Counts
  7. Family Care International (FCI)
  8. Global Fund for Women
  9. Hans Rosling
  10. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
  11. Jane Goodall Institute
  12. Jill Sheffield
  13. Jon Foley
  14. Population Council
  15. Population Services International (PSI)
  16. Suzanne Ehlers
  17. Marie Stopes Foundation
  18. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

“Who would you add to this list? Please email me and let me know! Also, you can share the list by clicking HERE.

All The Best,

Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder, Food Tank
Email: danielle@foodtank.org
Phone: 202-590-1037

Why 400+ PPM Matters – it’s not an environmental issue

So I for one am horrified at recent news of atmospheric CO2-e concentration reaching 400+ppm… Why? Climate Change is a serious problem. Not because it can harm the environment (though it will, and that does pain me) but because of the wicked uncertain predicaments we face. The bigger issue with uncertainty is the threat it poses to national security- and even more, global human stability (i.e., peace).

In 2009, the Pentagon made a formal claim that climate change was then (is still now) a threat to U.S. national security.

And for those of you (how!?) still on the fence about whether climate change is real, is caused by CO2-e, is man-made or not, etc. This video is awesome! It uses no climate models (something anti-climate change folks use in their debate to say it’s all guess-work) and it’s not funded by or produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (again, often sited as spinning fallacies and using scare-tactics claiming it’s all for the sake of folks like Al Gore to get rich or whatever…). This is based on historical, peer-reviewed, science. Science. Not speculation. Not feelings or emotions. Not guess-work. Science.

The evidence for climate change WITHOUT computer models or the IPCC

Public school swaps chicken nuggets for tofu, becomes first all-vegetarian cafeteria

WOW! This really goes beyond Meatless Monday. I would love to hear a response to this… could it be done at Moraine Valley? Or a local K12 school? Why or why not?

REPOST: By Elizabeth Chuck, Staff Writer, NBC News Braised black beans and plantains. Tofu roasted in Asian sesame sauce. Falafel and cucumber salad. These aren’t menu items from a high-end restaurant; they’re lunchtime grub for students at a Flushing, Queens, public school’s all-vegetarian cafeteria, the first in New York City to nix meat and believed to be one of the first public school in the nation to serve only vegetarian fare. … full article linked below


Climate Change & NY State’s Bond Offerings

So there you have it. NY State just listed climate change as a real threat to the value of the State’s bonds. This is alongside other risks like unresolved litigation and potential cuts in federal spending! Here’s a clip from the Environmental Leader article about this:

“The decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Administration follows Hurricane Sandy, which caused more than $40 billion in damage in the state after it made landfall last year, according to Bloomberg News. New York may be the first US state to warn investors of the risk caused by climate change, such as rising sea levels, flooding and erosion, the news agency says.”

It goes to reason that other states will soon follow NY’s lead.  Of course, there are a lot of concerns with increased hurricanes and sea-level rise, so coastal states are sure to consider this. But, climate change affects us in the middle, too, with increased droughts and mega-snow storms. Perhaps Illinois will be next?

A New Record 55.3, Warmest Year Ever

NOAA announced that 2012 was the warmest year on record (see NCDC Announces Warmest Year on Record for Contiguous U.S.). Chicagoland has had a strange winter, and we also had a long drought over the summer, but it is difficult to recognize if we are just having a localized, abnormal year, or if out local weather is connected to larger trends. The NOAA report may suggest that our local weather is impacted by larger trends. Interestingly enough, Fox News has questioned the NOAA report and has given climate skeptics a platform (see Fox News Questions Whether Government Faked Hottest Year On Record Quotes “Skeptic” Blogger Sugges). It is interesting to watch how ideology colors this debate.

Melting permafrost exposes huge risks

Melting permafrost being ignored at climate talks, experts warn
More on the melting permafrost can be found in a story by Miguel Llanos of NBC News. Llanos sites an over view of the huge risks at hand and quotes U.N. Environment Program Director Achim Steiner who in announcing the report by top permafrost scientists said,

“Permafrost is one of the keys to the planet’s future because it contains large stores of frozen organic matter that, if thawed and released into the atmosphere, would amplify current global warming… Continuing to ignore the challenges of warming permafrost is not an option…”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Global Food Security and Sustainability

We wanted to spread the work about this Global Education event that connects to our sustainability mission.

Global Food Security and Sustainability
December 4th: 10:30-12:30, Moraine Room 2 (M Building)
Two key issues in nearly every country are the cost and availability of food and energy. Rising prices of commodities, such as wheat, corn, rice, and gasoline can lead to many problems, including: riots, hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. This event will discuss the causes, interconnections, and implications of rising commodity prices throughout the world.



Politics vs Science: Climate of Doubt

The Frontline piece about the anti-climate change movement is very interesting. They build an argument where the down turn in the economy opened up an opportunity to attack climate science. The partisans working against climate change ignore the science in order to advance their political agenda.

Frontline: Climate of Doubt: An investigative report on the movement against climate change.

Watch Climate of Doubt on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Global Warming Absent from Last Night’s Debate

Last night was the last of the 3 presidential debates.  Obama and Romney covered many topics, but the newspaper the Guardian noted that one topic that they did not cover was climate change. The Pentagon has listed climate change as one of the most significant security threats facing our country, so it would seem that this would have been a relevant discussion to have. Here is a link to the article from the Guardian: 

US presidential debates’ great unmentionable: climate change: No mention of global warming for the first time since Congress was briefed on the threat in 1988


What is the real impact of increased oil & gas production?

Recently, the presidential candidates have been debating the benefits and pitfalls of increased oil and gas production. I have the feeling that increasing output is an easy short-term solution but don’t we know that there are negative, long-term consequences? Here is a short video covering the debate:

Weighing Benefits and Pitfalls of Increased Oil and Gas Production in the U.S.
SUMMARY: Two years ago, the U.S imported two-thirds of its oil. Now, imports are less than half of U.S. oil needs. Jeffrey Brown talks to National Resources Defense Council’s Kate Sinding and the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce about increased domestic energy production and whether economic benefits outweigh environmental concerns.