Page 39 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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cent of U.S. corn harvests; and oil
prices exceeding $100 a barrel hike the
cost of transportation, fertilizer and fuel
for farm machinery.
Population growth also leads to po-
litical, ethnic and economic conflict.
Some governments banned all food ex-
ports when food prices spiked last year,
leading others to seek to buy or man-
age farms in other countries. Burma
recently pulled the plug on a dam
China was building, both because the
project ignored local environmental
concerns and because Beijing planned
to send the dam’s electric power back
to the PRC.
Cote d’Ivoire just resolved a series of
civil wars largely fought over Christian
opposition to Muslim immigrants es-
caping poverty in Burkina Faso and
Mali. The United States and Europe
are both wrestling with how to handle
millions of immigrants, some of whom
allegedly have connections to terrorism.
Particularly among young people in
countries from Morocco to Iraq, there
appears to be a correlation between
sympathy for Islamist extremism and
having to live without jobs or ways to
start a family.
Finally, countries with the highest
rate of population growth also experi-
ence the highest rates of environmental
degradation.
Money Well Spent
Worldwide, about $10 billion is allo-
cated each year for family planning.
Seventy percent of that is spent by
countries seeking to limit their own
growth.
Heather Boonstra, a senior public
policy associate at the Guttmacher In-
stitute
(www.guttmacher.org)—
an or-
ganization dedicated to advancing
sexual and reproductive health and
rights through an interrelated program
of research, policy analysis and public
education—estimates that there are at
least 200 million women around the
world who want to stop bearing chil-
dren but lack contraceptives.
She cites estimates by former
USAID population officials that if U.S.
aid for family planning doubled from
the current level, that would meet the
A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
39
If humanity puts one
or two billion dollars a
year into additional aid
for family planning, the
world population could
peak at a sustainable level.