Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sustainability Update 6-28-07: Will You Choose Green Cities & Family Planning or Industrial Age Energy Paradigm & Dark Age Religious Dogmatism?

* By 2008, more than half of the world's current 6.7billion population will live in cities.
* By 2030, the urban population will have risen to 5 billion, 60 per cent of the world's population.
* Half of the world's urban population is currently under 25. By 2030, young people will make up the vast majority of the 5 billion urban dwellers.
* Between 2000 and 2030, Asia's urban population will increase from 1.3 billion to 2.64 billion. Africa's population will rise from 294 million to 742 million, Latin America and the Caribbean from 394 million to 609million.
* Mega-cities do not have a monopoly on population growth. More than half of the urban world lives in cities with a population of less than 500,000.
Planet of the slums: UN warns urban populations set to double, Independent, 6-27-07

Sustainability Update 6-28-07: Will You Choose Green Cities & Family Planning or Industrial Age Energy Paradigm & Dark Age Religious Dogmatism

By Richard Power

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released The State of World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth, a report which highlights the projection that urban populations in Africa and Asia will increase by another 1.7 billion people over the next thirty years, i.e., a total amounting to the populations of China and the USA combined.

What are the implications of such growth? Well, it will impact the whole of the planet. In some ways, it will define this century for better and worse.

The UNFPA report calls for a "revolution in thinking." UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid points out that the struggle to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, i.e., half poverty by 2015, will be won or lost in the planet's cities, urges "accepting the rights of poor people to live in cities and working with their creativity to tackle potential problems and generate new solutions."

It underscores the need to come to grips with our sustainability issues. It underscores the need to come to grips with over-population. It underscores the need to come to grips with both the destructive climate changes resulting from global warming and the ways in which the human footprint is aggravating and accelerating global warming.

Here are two easily grasped notions that belong together (this is Words of Power speaking now, not the UNPF, which is constrained by the politics of consensus):

We must green the cities.

We must engage in an intense family planning campaign, including both education and making safe and effective birth control available to all.

Greening the cities will mean overcoming the resistance of those who benefit from the current energy paradigms.

Launching an effective family planning campaign will mean overcoming the resistance of religious dogmatists.

I encourage you to advance these coupled notions at all levels of business, government, and everywhere within your communities.

Will you choose green cities and family planning or Industrial Age energy paradigm and Dark Age religious dogmatism?

Here is more news on the UNPF report from One World:

"What happens in the cities of Africa and Asia and other regions will shape our common future," says UNFPA Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. "We must abandon a mindset that resists urbanization and act now to begin a concerted global effort to help cities unleash their potential to spur economic growth and solve social problems."
To take advantage of potential opportunities, governments must prepare for the coming growth. "If they wait, it will be too late," she says. "This wave of
urbanization is without precedent. The changes are too large and too fast to allow planners and policymakers simply to react: In Africa and Asia, the number of people living in cities increases by approximately 1 million, on average, each week. Leaders need to be proactive and take far-sighted action to fully exploit the opportunities that urbanization offers." ...
According to the report, city authorities and urban planners should make it a priority to provide for the shelter needs of the urban poor. They should offer the poor secure tenure on land that is outfitted with power, water and sanitation services. Those living in poor communities should have access to education and health care and should be encouraged to build their own homes. ...
Policymakers and planners need to harness the potential of cities to improve the lives of all. Three initiatives stand out:
a.. Accept the right of poor people to the city, abandoning attempts to discourage migration and prevent urban growth. City authorities should work closely with organizations of the urban poor, including women's organizations.
b.. Adopt a broad and long-term vision of the use of urban space. This means,
among other things, providing minimally serviced land for housing and planning in advance to promote sustainable land use both within cities and in the surrounding areas.
c.. Begin a concerted international effort to support strategies for the urban future.
Urban Boom Needs 'Revolution in Thinking', Says UN, One World, 6-27-07

For more information on the greening of cities, go to

For more information on family planning and reproductive rights, go to Planned Parenthood.

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