Declining World Population Growth, Endangered Elephants and Heart Disease in Japan

News briefs on the declining world population growth, Africa's elephants, portable seawater and heart disease in Japan.

| May/June 1978

  • The elephants in Africa could be extinct in five years because of the demand for ivory.
    The elephants in Africa could be extinct in five years because of the demand for ivory.
    Photo by Fotolia/Duncan Noakes

  • The elephants in Africa could be extinct in five years because of the demand for ivory.

Learn the latest news on the declining world population growth, endangered elephants and heart disease in Japan. MOTHER provides these bits and pieces of news from around the world in 1978.

Declining World Population Growth

As of 1978, the latest U.N. statistics show that the rate of growth of the earth's population peaked in 1970 at 1.9 percent per year and has since fallen to 1.7 percent per year (meaning that it will now take 41 years for the world's population to double, instead of the 36 years it would have taken in 1970). That's the good news. The bad news is that if the rate of population increase in developing countries holds steady at its present value of 2.1 percent per year, food production will have to double every 25 years just to keep up with present supply levels, which are manifestly inadequate.

Food Is Wasted

One-fifth of all the food produced in the U.S. is lost or wasted each year, a recent General Accounting Office study says. In 1974 alone — GAO maintains — some 137 million tons of food valued at $31 billion were lost through waste, spoilage, etc. Of this amount, 16 percent was lost at harvest, 20 percent at the food distributor, 7 percent during storage, 2 percent in processing, 1 percent during transport . . . and 53 percent at the dinner table.

Folkwear's "Patterns From the Times Past"

If you like old-timey clothing, you'll love this. As with their other garment patterns (there are several), Folkwear's new Prairie Dress and Victorian Shirt — $4.50 and $3.50 respectively — are works of art that must be seen to be appreciated. (We can hardly wait to see what the other designs in Folkwear's new Patterns From Times Past series are going to look like!) For more information, contact your fabric store.

Michigan Sues Chemical Corporation, Farm Bureau Services

The State of Michigan has announced it will sue Velsicol Chemical Corporation and Farm Bureau Services, Inc. for $119 million to cover costs incurred by the state in destroying some 2,000,000 PBB-contaminated farm animals over a five-year period. (In 1973, Velsicol mistakenly shipped PBB's — polybrominated biphenyls, a deadly fire-retardant chemical — to Farm Bureau Services in place of a feed additive. Farm Bureau then sold PBB-tainted feed to farmers.) Velsicol and Farm Bureau have reportedly settled 700 PBB-related claims since 1973, at a cost of nearly $40 million. More than 100 suits now await trial.

Africa's Elephants May be Extinct Within Five Years

That's the latest word from Kenya-based wildlife expert Dr. Ian Douglas-Hamilton, who points out that the elephant population is declining rapidly in all but four African countries (Somalia, Rwanda, Botswana, and South Africa). The reason for the decline: Overhunting spurred by the worldwide demand for ivory. Douglas-Hamilton estimates that in 1976, an amount of ivory equivalent to between 100,000 and 400,000 elephants left the Dark Continent. Only about 1.3 million elephants remain.

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