Scientists have determined the temperature near the Earth’s centre to be 6000 degrees Celsius, 1000 degrees hotter than in a previous experiment run 20 years ago.
Japan is getting older, in large part because its population is also declining. This brings up issues that need to be addressed.
It is interesting to take a look at some of the consequences of population decline that may lie ahead for Japan, particularly since, while Japan may be at the forefront of this trend, it is only one of many countries that will experience population decline over the coming decades. In East Asia, Korea has a total fertility rate (TFR)—estimated at 1.23 for 2012—that is roughly similar to Japan’s and China’s TFRs, which are estimated at 1.39 and 1.55 for 2012 respectively. All of these are well below the replacement rate of 2.1 that is needed to simply maintain the current population size. This problem is not limited to East Asia; many European countries have very low TFRs and even parts of the developing world are experiencing declining TFRs.
In rural areas depopulation has some neat effects.
One of these is that as rural areas experience population decline, wildlife (both animal and plant) begins to move back into areas from where it had previously been displaced by human occupation. In many rural areas, particularly in mountain villages, animals such as bears have moved into populated areas where they may pose a risk to residents. Bears also present problems in farming areas and it is not uncommon to find farmers erecting electrified fences to keep them out of their fields, thus generating expenses related to protecting crops that until recently were not necessary. Knight argues that encroachment by wild animals may further deter people from remaining in the rural parts of Japan.
There’s also the fact that we don’t tend to clean up after ourselves…
A drive around farm villages in Japan often brings one face-to-face with one of the more significant consequences of depopulation—abandoned property. An increasing number of houses, and their associated land, are left unoccupied when the elder resident dies. Younger family members have moved to the cities and are unable or unwilling to return. As a result, buildings are left empty and become very difficult to maintain, with weeds and other brush rapidly growing up around the property.
There’s an odd consequence on the religious side as well.
Some of the more esoteric effects of population decline in rural areas are the problems it creates for local Buddhist temples. In Japan, temples are supported by a parish of local residents who pay for the upkeep of the temple and provide for the priest and his family (although many priests also have to supplement their income with other types of work). Depopulation has meant many temples have seen significant decreases in the size of their parish and, consequently, their level of income.
In some cases, income becomes insufficient to maintain a temple, forcing temples to merge. These mergers take place even as the workload of priests has increased because the primary work of Buddhist priests in Japan is to conduct rituals for the dead. A larger elderly population means more funerals and a lack of young people means fewer family members to take care of family grave sites, leaving them to the local priest to upkeep.
Anyways, here’s hoping they figure some of this stuff out.
[On the Birth Rate] This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1,000 persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate. The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth
[On Total Fertility Rate] This entry gives a figure for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age… it refers to births per woman.
SOMETIME in the next few years (if it hasn’t happened already) the world will reach a milestone: half of humanity will be having only enough children to replace itself. That is, the fertility rate of half the world will be 2.1 or below. This is the “replacement level of fertility”, the magic number that causes a country’s population to slow down and eventually to stabilise. According to the United Nations population division, 2.9 billion people out of a total of 6.5 billion were living in countries at or below this point in 2000-05. The number will rise to 3.4 billion out of 7 billion in the early 2010s and to over 50% in the middle of the next decade. The countries include not only Russia and Japan but Brazil, Indonesia, China and even south India.
There is no velvet rope to traverse, no waiting in line and no entrance fee. Instead, the poets take their works to New Yorkers: on trains and ferries, in stores, on the street, and in parks and laundromats.
The poets call themselves, appropriately enough, Poets in Unexpected Places.