Wednesday, 22 August 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability

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Genre - Health & Eating / Conservation 
Rating - G 
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China introduced its controversial one-child policy in 1979 and has recently reported that it does not intend to review this policy until 2015 although it made way for some couples to have a second child in March 2011.

Many have argued that this policy is dictatorial, limits personal freedom and can spark an unhealthy economy. While the first two points are debatable, China’s economy is anything but unhealthy with even the Eurozone seeking bailout help from its Asian counterpart. Logically, this decision simply means that the population of a country should go hand in hand with a country’s growth. If a country does not have enough economic strength and agricultural development, its population should be reduced or at the very least slowed.

How effective will population control be in attaining sustainability? This remains to be an ongoing discovery as the world’s population has reached seven billion. It is becoming increasingly important that people in highly populated countries understand the concept of birth control. Whether they choose to practise it is a personal choice but they must be made aware of it and have ready access to it.

In Rift Valley, Kenya in 1985, it was apparent that birth control was a tremendous challenge. The nearest clinic was said to be at least 15 miles away, and its service was spasmodic. In addition, the journey to the clinic would cost the equivalent of nearly $2, a luxury for an average Kenyan woman. On top of it all, it wasn’t certain that women who arrived at these clinics were able to see anyone or receive free birth control pills.

“Everyone criticizes the women for having too many children, but if women in the Western world had to travel the distances our women in rural areas are expected to cover to meet an inefficient service, they would be discouraged as well,” commented the leader of one women’s group.

It would be expected that in more than twenty years, the situation would have improved. It hasn’t. Nicholas D. Kristoff from the New York Times made his annual trip across Central Africa in 2009, “the pill, 50 years old this month in the United States, has yet to reach parts of Africa and condoms and other forms of birth control and AIDS prevention are still far too difficult to obtain in some areas.”

It isn’t just developing countries that need to focus on birth control issues. Birth control should be a choice for any woman for the simple reason that unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping and over flowing orphanages all have a significant impact on sustainability and the long-term development of a country.

Religious and cultural views are often given precedence, and as with the recent issue in the United States, the debate of free birth control options is one that needs to be given more awareness.

In early March 2012, Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke testified before the United States congress that birth control had to be included in health insurance plans. A popular radio host, Rush Limbaugh responded to her remarks by saying “What does it say about the college coed … who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?” He went on to call her “a slut” and “a prostitute”.

While birth control as part of a health insurance plan may not be a viable option for all countries, women cannot be afraid of birth control, in any country be it developed or not. It must always be an available option.

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