Demographic, Environmental
Security Issues Project


Addendum #1 -- June 1996

Ronald Bleier, editor

with an article, special to DESIP, by Michael Strutt

c o n t e n t s


CHINA: Demographic and grain production report from Calypso Log, February 1996.

Population 1995: 1.23 billion; 55 ethnic minorities; Population growth reduction campaign began in the 70s. In 1970 the fertility rate (the number of children born per number of women of reproductive age) was 5.8. By 1980 the rate had dropped to 2.85. And since 1992, it has continued to fall to an estimated 2.0.

65% (800 million) of the Chinese are under the age of 35 and the population increases at the rate of 13 million people a year.

Population aging. According to some forecasts, in 40 years there may be more persons over the age of 65 in China than in all the developed countries combined. How will the Chinese deal with this ever-increasing number of older persons, while the number of working-age people is dropping proportionally?

China's single child policy leads to gender imbalance. There is a lack of almost 50 million women.


"Grain production has stagnated at 445 million tons while demand is skyrocketing as the Chinese population grows, has increased wealth, and seeks improved diets. Once a grain exporter (8 million ton s in 1992), China has had to import 16 million tons annually since 1994. This change is all the more alarming because soil erosion -- due in part to increased deforestation which, since 1949, has stripped one-third of the country's forests and woodlands -- and the thrust toward urbanization have swallowed up 12 million square kilometers of arable land in the past 50 years. Combined with demographic growth, this represent a 50 percent reduction in available farmland for every inhabitant! The return to private land ownership has also had negative effects, as millions of peasants were no longer needed to work the farmlands. One hundred fifty million jobless peasants have already fled to the cities, despite very strict measures to control migration between provinces."



Child Prostitution

from "Asian Childhoods Sacrificed to Prosperity's Lust" by Nicholas Kristoff, NYT, 14 April 1996

According to estimates by social workers and government officials, more than a million girls and boys aged 17 and younger are engaged in prostitution in Asia. Rising economic development and the fear of AIDS which is driving customers to younger boys and girls are aggravating the problem.

AIDS is spreading rapidly in the area. India had its first AIDS case in 1986, yet already some 1.6 million Indians are infected with HIV. Thailand has 800,000 cases; Myanmar (Burma) where condoms are banned has 400,000 cases. In Cambodia, 39% of prostitutes are infected with HIV.

Africa, Middle East, United States

Female Genital Mutilation

According to a column by Ellen Goodman reprinted from the Boston Globe in Liberal Opinion Week (30 October 95), Female Genital Mutilation is increasingly becoming a phenomenon in immigrant communitie s in the United States. Estimates of cases range from the hundreds to the thousands. Only three states, New York, Minnesota and North Dakota have made FGM on minors a felony while it is illegal in England, Sweden and much of Europe.

Estimates are that somewhere between 100 million and 130 million women worldwide undergo the practice. It is the fate of nearly every woman and girl in Somalia, 90 percent of the females in Ethiopia and half in Egypt [some estimates put the figure for Egyptian women as high as 90% --ed.]


Roadbuilding in the Pacific Northwest

from "Roads Take Toll" by John C. Ryan with research by Chandra Shah, reprinted in Earth First! Journal, February 1996 (Brigid), courtesy of Northwest Environment Watch <nwwatch@igc.apc.org>

The Pacific Northwest encompasses most of BC, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, southeastern Alaska, northwestern California, and western Montana.

In a striking illustration of the increase in two-wheel drive roads in the Kootenay Mountains in BC, an accompanying map shows that in 1952, about 80% of the mountains were unmarked; while in 1986 more than 85% of the same area was covered by such roads.

In Oregon, Washington and western Montana, roads have surpassed streams as a defining feature of the landscape. Roads built for logging as well as driving threaten the Northwest's natural heritage, "from ceders to salmon, salamanders to grizzly bears. Roads harm the environment by degrading and polluting nearby streams, dividing wildlife habitats into small fragments, and spreading exotic species...

"Impervious surfaces like pavement collect and concentrate water and toxins. Because water runs immediately off pavement rather than soaking into the ground, roads often lower groundwater tables and destabilize nearby waterways...Studies in the Seattle area show [a decline in] stream channel stability, fish habitat quality, and salmon and amphibian populations if even 10-15 percent of a watershed is covered by impervious surfaces...

"Heavy metals and hydrocarbons emitted or leaked from cars -- along with road salt and roadside herbicides -- run off roads and into adjacent waterways...Roads built for logging degrade forests befor e any trees are cut. Erosion and sedimentation, often in massive landslides, are inescapable by-products of road building in steep terrain; sedimentation is particularly harmful to salmon. In Idaho and Oregon, forest roads have caused erosion at least 100 times greater than natural rates. Even as roads block the movement of many native species, they open remote areas to hunters, exotic weeds, a nd diseases. Port Orford cedar, a highly prized tree found only in southwestern Oregon and northwestern California, is endangered by a root-rot fungus that is spread along logging roads."


"Anti-Iran fever"
from Middle East International, 2 Feb 96, by Donald Neff

"...a major influence on Washington's [anti-Iran] policy is Israel. It has been inflaming U.S. policy against Iran for years, and especially since President Clinton came to power in 1993. In the mon ths before the passage of the new directive [ordering the CIA to launch an $18 million cover action programme against Iran], AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was busy lobbying Con gress to take tough action against Iran. Its efforts have been highly successful. Now that Israel is gaining peace with its Arab neighbors, its strategic perspective has grown to identify non-Arab Iran as its strongest `outer' enemy."

"Gingrich follows Israel's lead"

"The moving power behind the directive to the CIA is Congressman Newt Gingrich of Georgia ... an ex officio member of the House Intelligence Committee, which has to authorize covert operations. He is a rabid supporter of Israel, as is his wife Marianne, who is vice-president of an Israeli company, the Israeli Export Development Corporation of Jerusalem. Gingrich himself has been a consistent re cipient of contributions from pro-Israel groups, totaling through the 1994 election around $70,000, not including individual donations. In 1994 he led a group of new Republican Congressmen on a visit to Israel to extol its virtues, and in Congress he strongly supports massive aid to Israel while crusading for budget cuts in almost every other area involving needy Americans.

"Following Israel's lead, Gingrich has become one of the most vocal and hysterical critics of Iran. He has called it `a permanent, long-term threat to civilized life on this planet ... a terrorist s tate ... committed to defeating the West in any way it can'... [H]e has warned Americans that Iran's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction could enable it `to annihilate Tel Aviv and in the long run to annihilate Chicago or Atlanta.'"


from The Balance Activist, March 1996, a publication of Population-Environment Balance, a membership organization.

U.S. is the third most populous country in the world: March 96 population estimate: 263,457,000.

U.S. population increases by about 3 million every year.

Present U.S. growth rate = 1.1%. At this rate our population will double in 64 years.

To accommodate growth, we pave over an area the size of Delaware every year. Every person adds an extra acre of land for urbanization and road-building.

In 1993, more than 53 million U.S. residents drank contaminated water.

The U.S. fertility rate in 1995 was 2.08 which is approximately replacement level, but up from 1.7 in 1976. Also, the percentage of unintended pregnancies increased from 29% in 1970 to 33% in 1990.

Immigration is the largest contributor to population growth accounting for more than 50% when the higher fertility rates of immigrants are taken into account. We currently admit about 800,000 legal immigrants a year.

Dr. George Borjas of Harvard University estimates that immigration costs U.S. workers $133 billion annually, mainly in lost job opportunities and depressed wages. Dr. Donald Huddle of Rice Universit y calculates the cost of immigration in 1994 at a net $52 billion to U.S. taxpayers, after subtracting the taxes paid by immigrants, with that amount slated to increase to an average of $81 billion a nnually by 2004 unless immigration is substantially reduced.

California is considering reversing its 1972 ban on hunting cougars. California's population growth, increasing from 10 million in 1950 to 32 million in 1996, has resulted in development in prime co ugar habitat, which has driven the cougars out of the mountains and into backyards.


"Nuclear Wastes in the Colorado River" by Ken Sleight in American Rivers, Spring 1996
"The Colorado River and its tributaries are fast becoming some of the most threatened waterways of America, as great amounts of radioactive wastes escape regularly into the Colorado River system.

"Uranium mill tailings make up the largest volume of radioactive waste in the country. For decades, thousands of these mill tailings have been abandoned in our canyons. Piles of waste lie along the Colorado River, beneath the waters of Lake Powell, and on the upper reaches of their tributary streams.

"Radiation from Uravan, an old tailings site in Colorado, is still leaking, like a giant sieve, throughout the subsoil into the San Miguel River. These nuclear wastes then flow into the Dolores and then the Colorado River. The Atlas milling site downstream is also leaching its destructive waste into the Colorado, directly affecting both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks....The Colorado Heal th Department issued a permit to Umetco Minerals for a new tailings pile to be sited over the old dumping ground at Uravan.

"Utah was not consulted, even though the wastes would flow down the rivers into Utah, Arizona, and then into California..."

ZAIRE: Population and Health Report from The Washington Post National Weekly Edition Feb 5-11, 1996.
Population: 44 million (mid 1993: 41.2 million)
Growth rate: 3%, at which population would double by 2020.

Fertility rate: 6.7 (children per woman)
Life expectancy at birth: 52
Medical staff: One doctor for 14,286 people; one nurse for 1,351 people.
30 million have no access to health services, 24 million no access to safe water and 31 million no access to sanitation

Note: All information labeled "Main arms supplier(s)" is from the Armed Conflicts Report 1995 published by Project Ploughshares, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Waterloo, ON.


Comments, information, contributions, requests, welcome. Write to: Ronald Bleier (rbleier@igc.org).