Published10 hours agoShare
China’s decision to allow couples to have up to three children continued to dominate discussion online as people debated if it had come too late.
The announcement came as census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.
Many – mostly millennials – wondered how the announcement sat with plans to delay retirement ages in the country which were also announced on Monday.
Others called for compensation for the trauma their families suffered for wanting more children in the past.
Under China’s strict one-child policy which was introduced in 1979, families caught flouting the rules faced fines, loss of employment and sometimes forced abortions.
Campaigners say it also led to issues like female infanticide, and the under-reporting of female births.https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/cacheableShow?aid=tYOkq7qlAI&templateId=OTBYI8Q89QWC&templateVariantId=OTV0YFYSXVQWV&offerId=fakeOfferId&experienceId=EXAWX60BX4NU&iframeId=offer_0e763acc7b457c03340a-0&displayMode=inline&widget=template
A number of descriptions of what it was like for families during that time have now emerged online in response to the new policy.
‘Everyone has become data’
One person on China’s microblogging service Weibo claimed his mother was forced to get an IUD after giving birth to him as he was a second child, adding that to this day she still gets infections from it.
“The policy is just a cold notice – it doesn’t look at the kind of distress it has caused people. Everyone has become reduced to data, rather than people who deserve to be respected and seen,” he wrote on Weibo under the pseudonym Chillsyrup.
Many also recalled the story of Feng Jiamei who was made to undergo a forced abortion in the seventh month of her pregnancy as she could not pay the fine for having a second child.
City officials apologised after photos showing Ms Feng and her foetus shocked internet users.
Another person known as Jia Shuai wrote that as an illegal child growing up in the countryside, he remembered having to jump into ponds to hide from family planning officials.
“If you could not pay the fines, some officials would clear your house and take your animals away. What a bizarre memory,” he wrote.
Yet another user claimed her younger sister was still alive only because a compassionate doctor had let their mother escape from the hospital, after she was called in to have an abortion while eight months pregnant.
Meanwhile celebrated filmmaker Zhang Yimou and his wife – who were fined a hefty $1.2m (£842,850) in 2014 for violating the country’s one-child policy – also commented on the new announcement.
“Finished the task ahead of time,” the couple wrote on Weibo, along with the flexing arm emoji.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International said the policy, like its predecessors, was still a violation of sexual and reproductive rights.
“Governments have no business regulating how many children people have. Rather than ‘optimising’ its birth policy, China should instead respect people’s life choices and end any invasive and punitive controls over people’s family planning decisions,” said the group’s China team head, Joshua Rosenzweig.
‘The awkward generation’
But much of the criticism on the new policy came from Chinese millennials, who complained they were the “awkward” generation caught in the middle.
“For those born after the 1980s and 1990s – we can’t catch a break. The government is pressuring us to have more babies, but at the same time, they want us to keep working for longer. What kind of life is this?” one person asked.
For more than four decades, China’s retirement age has remained unchanged at 60 for men and 55 for women. But on Monday China said it would phase in delays in retirement ages, though it did not provide details.
“I don’t even want one child, let alone three,” another commented.
Until more details are announced, many on social media are sceptical that the policy change will actually do much to boost birth rates.
When China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016 to replace it with a two-child limit, it failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births.
“If relaxing the birth policy was effective, the current two-child policy should have proven to be effective too,” Hao Zhou, a senior economist at Commerzbank, told the Reuters news agency on Monday.https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.43.0/iframe.htmlmedia captionParents and children on the streets of Beijing disagreed on whether the new policy was a good idea
(CNN Business)China’s decision to allow families to have three children could produce a windfall for makers of strollers, car seats and baby formula. At least, that’s what investors think.Stocks tied to baby products and maternity services soared in mainland China and Hong Kong on Monday after the Chinese government announced a major change to its family planning policy as the country tries to avert a demographic crisis.Shares of Goodbaby, which makes children’s products, jumped 31% in Hong Kong. Suzhou Basecare Medical Co., which offers genetic testing for couples looking to undergo IVF, rose 15%.
China’s economy needs workers but a three-child policy may not fix the problemJinxin Fertility Group, which provides assisted reproductive services, gained nearly 18%, while Aidigong Maternal & Child Health, which offers maternity health services, increased 22%.
Beingmate, a major infant formula manufacturer, climbed 8% in Shenzhen. Goldlok Holdings, which makes electric trains and dolls, leaped 10%. Clothing maker Lancy was up 7%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI) inched up 0.1% on Monday, while the Shenzhen Composite rose 1.1%.
In 2015, the Chinese government announced that it would loosen the restrictions to allow up to two children per family. But the reversal failed to raise the country’s birth rate, which fell by almost 15% year-on-year in 2020.— Laura He, Ben Westcott and Eric Cheung contributed reporting.
Updated 9:39 AM ET, Mon May 31, 2021
Landmark survey of 21,000 people in almost 30 countries shows perception gap on climate impact of personal actions Air drying clothes saves just 0.2 tonnes of carbon emissions a year per person © Reuters Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Chelsea Bruce-Lockhart 12 HOURS AGO 222 Print this page The majority of people are unable to identify which lifestyle decisions are the most effective at limiting their carbon footprint, according to an international survey of more than 21,000 people across almost 30 countries. Yet, an overwhelming number claim they know which personal actions they must take to play their part in tackling climate change, according to the Ipsos Mori survey exclusive to the Financial Times. Across all countries, the average person who took part in the survey almost consistently ranked an avoidance of tumble dryers and a switch to low-energy lightbulbs as more effective ways to reduce individual emissions — rather than not owning a car or choosing a plant-based diet. In reality, an individual using less carbon-intensive forms of travel, instead of driving a car, could prevent an average of 2.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the atmosphere each year in a developed country. Air drying clothes would save just 0.2 tonnes of carbon emissions a year per person. By comparison, total annual greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are about 10.4 tonnes per person in high-income countries, compared with 12 tonnes in 2000. The reality is . . . the actions that need to be taken require significantly bigger sacrifices Ipsos Mori Entire global annual greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, are about 51bn tonnes. This is more than 40 per cent higher than emissions in 1990, which were around 35bn tonnes. “Our research shows that the issue of the environmental crisis is familiar to people around the world,” said Kelly Beaver, managing director of public affairs at Ipsos Mori. “But people remain confused about what actions are most likely to have a significant effect on their carbon footprint.” “The public seem to have got the message when it comes to the importance of recycling, but the reality is . . . the actions that need to be taken require significantly bigger sacrifices,” Beaver added. Recycling was the action most commonly selected as an effective means to limit an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, the environmental impact of recycling has less to do with limiting emissions, and more to do with reducing personal waste and eliminating plastic pollution. Annual emissions savings for an individual who is recycling as much as possible are estimated to be around 0.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Recommended Climate change Climate change quiz
One of the options most ignored by respondents, as a possible way to reduce personal impact on the environment, was choosing to have fewer children. A commonly quoted estimate for annual emissions saved from having one less child dwarfs that of other actions, at 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emission, as featured in Environment Research Letters in 2017. Although some academics argue this is an overestimate, the Ipsos Mori survey responses suggest there is a lack of awareness around the potential impact having smaller families can have on the climate.
A generational knowledge divide was also highlighted in some of the results. Younger people were more aware of the environmental impact of having fewer children as well as the benefits of a plant-based diet, the results showed, while older populations placed more value in recycling. One of the most unexpected findings in the survey, considering the misperceptions, was that nearly 70 per cent of respondents believed they knew how to lessen their impact on the environment. People in Japan were least confident about how to lessen their carbon footprint, followed by Russia and also Saudi Arabia and South Korea, all countries with a relatively high dependence on fossil fuels. Chart has been updated to correct two countries’ responses. Follow @ftclimate on Instagram Climate Capital Where climate change meets business, markets and politics. Explore the FT’s coverage here
CHARITABLE CAUSES: POPULATION MATTERS
Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson:
In 1971, I wrote and recorded the song “Locomotive Breath” for the Aqualung album. The lyrical subject matter was the topic of runaway population growth.
Now, 47 years later, you have the chance to add your voice to the single most pressing problem facing future generations. From increases in global population, all other danger factors threatening our species, including climate change, continue to accrue. Apart from the odd rogue asteroid or black hole, of course.
In my lifetime alone, the population of the planet has slightly more than tripled. Yes – in one generation!
I have been a supporter of Population Matters for some years – ever since the venerable and much-loved David Attenborough became visibly the first person of real media presence to come out, unafraid to discuss the issues of population growth in our times.
Tricky and controversial stuff, I know, but don’t think that we concerned voices are about to shout down your right to have children. We are about the sense of responsible family planning and size. Responsibility not just to a nation, ethnic group or continent, but to the precious resource and life-giving spirit of planet Earth itself. No one is about to tell you what to do or not to do; merely to learn, understand and act upon your own conclusions. Responsible, informed choice. Especially for women in the modern world.
READING LISTENVIRONMENT & HEALTHThis Nightmare Anniversary Should Remind Us It Didn’t Have to Be This WayECONOMY & LABORBlack Workers in Alabama Aim to Slay the Trillion-Dollar Behemoth That Is AmazonECONOMY & LABORThe House Just Passed the Most Sweeping Labor Legislation of This GenerationPOLITICS & ELECTIONSBoebert, Gosar and Brooks Aided Capitol Attackers, Jayapal Says in LettersPOLITICS & ELECTIONSGOP Senator Absurdly Tries to Claim Credit for Stimulus That He Voted AgainstENVIRONMENT & HEALTHJapan Hasn’t Recovered 10 Years After Fukushima Meltdown
ARepublican lawmaker in Texas has introduced a bill that would make all abortions in the state illegal, with the punishment being the death penalty for anyone performing or undergoing the medical procedure.
Texas Republican State Rep. Bryan Slaton said in a press release that his bill would showcase how his party truly feels about the practice. “It’s time Republicans make it clear that we actually think Abortion is murder,” Slaton’s statement said. In a tweet about the proposal, Slaton also claimed the bill would “guarantee the equal protection of the laws to all Texans, no matter how small.”
Slaton’s bill, HB 3326, would charge any person who has an abortion, as well as any provider who performs the medical procedure, with assault or homicide. Those charges carry with them extreme punishments, including the death penalty in the state, and are in stark opposition to the stated “pro-life” positions anti-abortion activists say they hold.
Never miss another story
Get the news you want, delivered to your inbox every day.
The bill would ban all abortions from the point of fertilization, and would not make any exceptions for rape or incest, though it would allow the procedure when a pregnant person’s life is at risk. The bill would also grant immunity to any individual who gives evidence or testifies against a person whom they have helped in obtaining an abortion.
The official Twitter account of the Texas Democratic Party sent out a tweet blasting the proposal.
“Texas Republicans filed a bill to abolish and criminalize abortions — potentially leaving women and physicians who perform the procedure to face the death penalty,” it said. “The right to choose is a human right. Period.”
Abortion is a favorite topic for Slaton, a freshman legislator in Texas. He previously led an effort to try to halt any legislation in the state from moving forward — including the naming of roads and bridges — until the issue of abortion was addressed.
It’s unlikely that Slaton’s bill will advance very far, as previous legislative efforts with similar goals have failed in recent years. An anti-abortion bill in 2017 failed to receive any hearings at all, and in 2019 a similar bill died in committee after several hours of public input.
But the bill is representative of a series of other bills across the nation that are seeking to impose extreme limits on abortion, and it’s possible that his proposal could go beyond those other two bills. Fourteen states throughout the U.S. have seen Republican legislators propose similar plans to ban abortion outright. It is hoped by these lawmakers that enacting these laws will lead to lawsuits, which in turn could result in the U.S. Supreme Court taking them up, and possibly overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision.
Just this week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed into law a bill that bans nearly all abortions in the state. In a statement regarding the new law, Hutchinson expressly stated that he hoped the law would be challenged.
The abortion ban “is in contradiction of binding precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is the intent of the legislation to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
Jessica Mason Pieklo, executive editor at Rewire News Group, a reproductive rights-focused media organization, noted in a tweet that the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas was already planning to challenge it. But Pieklo also worried over how far legal challenges would advance, particularly within conservative-leaning federal courts.
“The question is what will the Trump judges on the 8th Circuit do and what [toll] will that take on patients and providers?” she asked in her tweet.
Within the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 10 of the 11 active judges are appointees of Republican presidents, including George W. Bush and Donald Trump. As recently as December, the court ruled in ways that would allow Arkansas to enact other strict measures regarding abortion, including banning the practice after just 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Dave Alsup and Hollie Silverman, CNN • Updated 30th June 2020FacebookTwitterEmail
(CNN) — A 72-year-old California woman was gored by a bison in Yellowstone National Park, a news release from the park said.The woman approached the bison to take a picture and got within 10 feet of it multiple times before it gored her on June 25, according to the release.She sustained multiple goring wounds and was treated by rangers before being flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for further treatment.The news release said the woman approached the bison several times near her campsite at Bridge Bay Campground in northwest Wyoming before the bison charged.Related contentA woman suffers burns after illegally entering Yellowstone National Park, park officials say“The series of events that led to the goring suggest the bison was threatened by being repeatedly approached to within 10 feet,” Yellowstone’s senior bison biologist Chris Geremia said in the release.”Bison are wild animals that respond to threats by displaying aggressive behaviors like pawing the ground, snorting, bobbing their head, bellowing, and raising their tail. If that doesn’t make the threat (in this instance it was a person) move away, a threatened bison may charge,” Geremia added. “To be safe around bison, stay at least 25 yards away, move away if they approach, and run away or find cover if they charge.”The attack serves as a reminder that “wildlife in Yellowstone National Park are wild,” the release said.Park visitors must stay 25 yards away from all large animals in the park including bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose and coyotes, the release said. If people encounter bears and wolves they should stay 100 yards away.Another woman was also gored at the park in late May only days after the park reopened to visitors following a closure for coronavirus.
Scientists’ warning on affluence
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
A group of researchers, led by a UNSW sustainability scientist, have reviewed existing academic discussions on the link between wealth, economy and associated impacts, reaching a clear conclusion: technology will only get us so far when working towards sustainability – we need far-reaching lifestyle changes and different economic paradigms.
In their review, published today in Nature Communications [ OPEN ACCESS pdf ] <<https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16941-y.pdf>> and entitled Scientists’ Warning on Affluence, the researchers have summarised the available evidence, identifying possible solution approaches.
“Recent scientists’ warnings have done a great job at describing the many perils our natural world is facing through crises in climate, biodiversity and food systems, to name but a few,” says lead author Professor Tommy Wiedmann from UNSW Engineering.
“However, none of these warnings has explicitly considered the role of growth-oriented economies and the pursuit of affluence. In our scientists’ warning, we identify the underlying forces of overconsumption and spell out the measures that are needed to tackle the overwhelming ‘power’ of consumption and the economic growth paradigm – that’s the gap we fill.
“The key conclusion from our review is that we cannot rely on technology alone to solve existential environmental problems – like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – but that we also have to change our affluent lifestyles and reduce overconsumption, in combination with structural change.”
During the past 40 years, worldwide wealth growth has continuously outpaced any efficiency gains.
“Technology can help us to consume more efficiently, i.e. to save energy and resources, but these technological improvements cannot keep pace with our ever-increasing levels of consumption,” Prof Wiedmann says.
Reducing overconsumption in the world’s richest
Co-author Julia Steinberger, Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds, says affluence is often portrayed as something to aspire to.
“But our paper has shown that it’s actually dangerous and leads to planetary-scale destruction. To protect ourselves from the worsening climate crisis, we must reduce inequality and challenge the notion that riches, and those who possess them, are inherently good.”
In fact, the researchers say the world’s affluent citizens are responsible for most environmental impacts and are central to any future prospect of retreating to safer conditions.
“Consumption of affluent households worldwide is by far the strongest determinant – and the strongest accelerator – of increased global environmental and social impacts,” co-author Lorenz Keysser from ETH Zurich says.
“Current discussions on how to address the ecological crises within science, policy making and social movements need to recognize the responsibility of the most affluent for these crises.”
The researchers say overconsumption and affluence need to be addressed through lifestyle changes.
“It’s hardly ever acknowledged, but any transition towards sustainability can only be effective if technological advancements are complemented by far-reaching lifestyle changes,” says co-author Manfred Lenzen, Professor of Sustainability Research at the University of Sydney.
“I am often asked to explain this issue at social gatherings. Usually I say that what we see or associate with our current environmental issues (cars, power, planes) is just the tip of our personal iceberg. It’s all the stuff we consume and the environmental destruction embodied in that stuff that forms the iceberg’s submerged part. Unfortunately, once we understand this, the implications for our lifestyle are often so confronting that denial kicks in.”
No level of growth is sustainable
However, the scientists say responsibility for change doesn’t just sit with individuals – broader structural changes are needed.
“Individuals’ attempts at such lifestyle transitions may be doomed to fail, because existing societies, economies and cultures incentivise consumption expansion,” Prof Wiedmann says.
A change in economic paradigms is therefore sorely needed.
“The structural imperative for growth in competitive market economies leads to decision makers being locked into bolstering economic growth, and inhibiting necessary societal changes,” Prof Wiedmann says.
“So, we have to get away from our obsession with economic growth – we really need to start managing our economies in a way that protects our climate and natural resources, even if this means less, no or even negative growth.
“In Australia, this discussion isn’t happening at all – economic growth is the one and only mantra preached by both main political parties. It’s very different in New Zealand – their Wellbeing Budget 2019 is one example of how government investment can be directed in a more sustainable direction, by transforming the economy rather than growing it.”
The researchers say that “green growth” or “sustainable growth” is a myth.
“As long as there is growth – both economically and in population – technology cannot keep up with reducing impacts, the overall environmental impacts with only increase,” Prof Wiedmann says.
One way to enforce these lifestyle changes could be to reduce overconsumption by the super-rich, e.g. through taxation policies.
“‘Degrowth’ proponents go a step further and suggest a more radical social change that leads away from capitalism to other forms of economic and social governance,” Prof Wiedmann says.
“Policies may include, for example, eco-taxes, green investments, wealth redistribution through taxation and a maximum income, a guaranteed basic income and reduced working hours.”
Modelling an alternative future
Prof Wiedmann’s team now wants to model scenarios for sustainable transformations – that means exploring different pathways of development with a computer model to see what we need to do to achieve the best possible outcome.
“We have already started doing this with a recent piece of research that showed a fairer, greener and more prosperous Australia is possible – so long as political leaders don’t focus just on economic growth.
“We hope that this review shows a different perspective on what matters, and supports us in overcoming deeply entrenched views on how humans have to dominate nature, and on how our economies have to grow ever more. We can’t keep behaving as if we had a spare planet available.”