This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, November 6, 2015

Saving Children, Like Saving Forests, Requires Foresight

This weekend's NYTimes Magazine includes a multimedia feature story on "The Displaced" (and thanks to Professor Rumbaut for pointing me to the story). Here's the setup: "Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes because of war and persecution. Half are children. This multimedia journey tells the stories of three of them." Inside the story the reporters note that: "...these 30 million girls and boys are from all over — Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Honduras, El Salvador, Myanmar, Bangladesh." And what do all of these places, along with Syria and Iraq, have in common? You know the answer--rapid population growth. I noted this issue with regard to Syria more than three years ago, as things were starting to get out of control in that country. Indeed, things were "out of control" before the civil war started because there were too many people and not enough water to go around. So, while we of course have to do everything possible to make life as good as we can for these 30 million displaced children, we also need to have the foresight to give their parents, and then them, access to birth control, so that they can keep family size down to what they and their region can handle.

This kind of foresight and action is what led to the news just out that the reduction of air pollution in North America is finally having the effect of reducing acid in the soil of the continent. Just like demographic processes, these environmental processes are slow to evolve and slow to change course, but the sooner we act, the better off we will all be in the long run.

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