Too many of us? The population panic.

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird

At a political meeting recently, one woman got up and told us what rubbish ‘the media’ was and how you could not trust it. Others agreed. It gradually became clear that their idea of ‘media’ consisted of the corporate big fish in the mainstream. Not independent minnows like the New Internationalist.

It’s no secret that print media is struggling in these straitened times. Newspapers are worst hit. But magazines too are feeling the pinch. New Internationalist is no exception. In some ways we are fortunate in that we never relied too much on the now collapsing advertising market. Nor have we had a sugar daddy or mummy in the background that could cut us off without a penny.

Our business model is based on people like you subscribing to the magazine, buying the books we publish and the fair trade and ethical products we stock in our shop (shop.newint.org). And it’s thanks to you that the media does not consist entirely of just a few mass circulation titles in hock to corporate power. I’d love to hear from you (vanessab@newint.org) if there is anything you think we should be covering or could be doing differently.

This issue’s main theme is the hot topic of population. Is the mounting panic about increasing human numbers reasonable? There’s an on-the-ground special report from the recent Copenhagen climate talks by Jess Worth. And we tell the inspiring story of an against-all-odds friendship between Rami Elhanan, an Israeli, and Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, who feature in our best-selling book Nine Lives. As usual at this time, we present The Unreported Year 2009, a round-up of the best films, music and books, and the NI Jumbo Crossword.

Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs – Population
Division, World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision

Source: United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs – Population
Division, World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision

Too many people?

Vanessa Baird wonders why the demographers aren’t panicking.

Buy this magazine

When she was young, my great aunt – a tiny sprightly woman who painted vast canvasses –  had wanted to become a nun. Then she met a Flemish poet and they fell in love. She agreed to marry him on one condition: that they have 12 children. True to the old baking tradition, they made 13.

Her niece, my mother, also briefly flirted with the holy life. Her tryst with celibacy was equally convincing. As the eighth of her brood, I approach the subject of global population with a touch of trep...




Features

The smile of solidarity: Rami (left) and Bassan.

Brothers in peace

Israeli Rami Elhanan and Palestinian Bassam Aramin forged an unlikely friendship through a terrible tragedy. They share their story.

Buy this magazine

Blame the coffee

Blame the coffee

Why tiny Timor Leste is undergoing a baby boom.

Buy this magazine

Photo: Umit Bektas / Reuters

Ageing - 7 myths

The average age of the population is increasing – people are living longer. Also, women are having fewer children. But is this greying of nations really a ‘crisis’?

Buy this magazine

Nigeria has the world’s highest unsafe abortion rate. Young, Catholic women – especially students – are the most likely to seek abortion.Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly / Reuters

Sex action

How ‘abstinence’ is pushing up the abortion rate.

Buy this magazine

When sperm didn't meet ovum

When sperm didn't meet ovum

China and Iran: two ways to do family planning.

Buy this magazine

Most of the country’s land mass lies fewer than 10 metres above sea level. Climate change will subject farmland to both drought and flooding. Photo: Shaiful Chowdhury / DRIK / Majority World

Frontline Bangladesh

Some Pacifc islands are already being evacuated. Bangladesh stands next in the climate change frontline. The difference is, it has a massive and growing population.

Buy this magazine

Photo: Jenny Downing under a CC License

Population and climate change

Jonathon Porritt and the Corner House offer two very different perspectives on one of the big debates of the day.

Buy this magazine

The missing pieces

Is hell really other people? Vanessa Baird concludes with some sobering facts and reflections on equality.

Buy this magazine

Currents

Kings of the road: children join a protest in Maisuma, Srinagar.Photo by: Dilnaz Boga

Minor offences

India's brutal treatment of Kashmiri youths is fuelling conflict

Buy this magazine

Victory looms

Victory looms

Transatlantic student boycott forces clothing company to reopen factory

Buy this magazine

To buy or not to buy

To buy or not to buy

The Nestlé fair trade Kit Kat dilemma.

Buy this magazine

Handle with care: Aki Ra uses a bamboo stick to clear a deadly mine.Photo by Richard Fitoussi

Mine hero

The struggle to eradicate landmines continues

Buy this magazine

Caught in the net

Caught in the net

Brazil has no specific law to deal with internet content.

Buy this magazine

Regulars

Geert Wilders Photo by Jacco de Boer

Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders, the lying Dutchman.

Buy this magazine

The Government is trying to merge Krugersdorp’s 400 white squatters into the black settlement (population 5,000) of Munsieville. Neither group favours the proposal.

Afrikaners hit bottom

Photo-journalist Dean Saffron documents life in a South African squatter camp.

Buy this magazine

Sierra Leone

Every home in Sierra Leone is well stocked with candles, gasoline lanterns and trusty flashlights. These are life essentials in the capital, Freetown, where electricity is intermittent at best.

Buy this magazine

Cairo 2010

Cairo 2010

The dawn of a new decade has Maria Golia pondering the past.

Buy this magazine

Courtesy of Khwendo Kor

Maryam Bibi

Empowering girls and women in Pakistan

Buy this magazine

Film, Book & Music Reviews

Stereocanto

Stereocanto

Low whistle, hornpipes, kaval (this is a traditional Balkan flute) and practice chanter (and this a part of the Scots bagpiping set-up) are just a few of the instruments employed by Fraser Fifield on Stereocanto.

Buy this magazine

Makan

Makan

An elegant album, stripped bare to its poetry. Bass notes on the oud ground the songs wonderfully and Jubran’s voice is sinuous and expressive, full of colour tones.

Buy this magazine

Beyond Reach?

Beyond Reach?

A fictionalized account of the 2005 Make Poverty History campaign.

Buy this magazine

The Best of 2009

The Best of 2009

The best books, music & films of 2009 as reviewed by NI.

Buy this magazine

Precious

Precious

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels

Buy this magazine

Adoration

Adoration

A film about how far we know and trust others, and how other people make us who we are, partly through the stories we hear.

Buy this magazine

Back