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One weird old trick for population control: Aspirin

You may have heard that Rick Santorum financial backer Foster Friess proposed one weird old trick for birth control: an aspirin between the knees. (If you don't get it, try holding an aspirin between your knees, and then imagine that you only knew one sex position and it was missionary.) We found some file photos of Friess explaining his theory, which he put forth on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Read more: Politics, Population, Sex

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Green of hearts: Your last-minute guide to a sustainable Valentine’s Day

Photo by tanakawho.

With Singles Appreciation Day just around the corner, you’re no doubt looking to Grist to guide you through it in the greenest way possible. Surveys indicate that over three-quarters of Americans find eco-mindedness an attractive quality in a partner, so if you’re not concerned yet about the PVC in your sex toys or the child slavery that produced your dark chocolate, it’s time to get conscious. Not to worry: We put together a last-minute Whitman’s sampler of our Valentine’s Day advice to make sure that whether you’re in lust, in love, or (happily!) alone, Mother Earth will always be your Valentine.

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Why climate hawks should care about birth-control access

Cross-posted from ThinkProgress Green.

Any morally acceptable pathway to prevent catastrophic global warming includes broad access to affordable birth control for the world's women. The conservative war on birth control is a war on women’s rights, and thus on the rights of us all. Human-made global warming is one of the most troubling symptoms of economic and social injustice around the planet, and the "countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll." Researchers have found that empowering women to reduce unplanned pregnancies is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat greenhouse pollution, as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson discussed at the Durban climate conference last December:

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Rick Santorum wants women to have lots of babies, whether they like it or not

Rick SantorumPut that condom down right now!Photo: Gage SkidmoreRick Santorum isn't just a climate denier -- he's a contraception denier. He believes contraception exists, but he apparently wishes it didn't, and he's eying ways to deny you access to it.

No, we're not talking about abortion here, though of course he wants to deny you access to that too. We're talking basic contraception -- the Pill, condoms, all the stuff that more than 99 percent of American women (and some smart men) use to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

Get a load of this, from an interview Santorum gave in October 2011:

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Franzen on love, sex, population, birds, and making the world less toxic

If you've read the bestseller Freedom, you won't be surprised to hear that novelist Jonathan Franzen describes himself as "a long-time green." One of the book's main characters, Walter Berglund, is "greener than Greenpeace," Franzen tells us on the first page. Walter throws himself into campaigns to fight population growth and save birds, ultimately leading him to make a Faustian bargain involving mountaintop-removal coal mining and natural-gas drilling West Virginia. Franzen's own environmentalism is less obsessive, but, as he told Grist fans at a recent event in New York City, he's still passionate about the issues. Watch highlights from Franzen's …

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Live chat on population 7 billion — ask your questions and have your say-so

Sandeep Bathala and Carmen BarrosoJoin a Grist live chat on population issues on Monday, Oct. 31, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific, marking the occasion of the world population hitting 7 billion. We'll have two experts on hand to answer your questions: Sandeep Bathala of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, formerly director of the Sierra Club's population program; and Carmen Barroso, director of International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region. The chat will be moderated by Grist Senior Editor and Queen of Pop(ulation) Lisa Hymas. Ask questions in the box below, or tweet your questions to …

Read more: Living, Population, Sex

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7 billion, unpacked — a comic

The world population is hitting 7 billion. But what does that really mean? In this comic, we unpack some of the numbers and nuances. Click the image below to view the comic, and then click on each page to go to the next one: For those without javascript enabled, here are links to each page: 7 Billion, Unpacked Behind the Numbers The Good News Room for Improvement What Goes Down Can Look Up So What Can You Do? Or you can download and read the comic as a PDF. Written by Lisa Hymas. Illustrated by Thomas Pitilli. Lettering and headers …

Read more: Living, Population, Sex

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Talking to my son about sex and sustainability

Cross-posted from RH Reality Check. "Are we going to talk about sex again?!" screamed my 12-year-old son, Nick, as he ran down the stairs, away from me. That was five years ago, and I had just sat down with him to have one of our father-son talks, this time about sex and sustainability. Now Nick, a senior, is preparing for college at the same time that the global community is preparing for its own important landmark: The United Nations predicts that on Oct. 31, world population will reach 7 billion. The confluence of these two events gives me reason to …

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7 billion? It’s time to talk

The subject of population -- like sex, politics, and religion -- elicits such strong opinions that people often go out of their way to avoid talking about it. That's led many to believe that population growth is no longer a valid concern, but if you're worried about people, posterity, or the planet, it's time to talk. On Oct. 31, world population will cross the 7 billion mark. There's nothing particularly significant about that number. It's just a milestone, but it's also an opportunity for reflection and recalibration. A lot has happened since world population crossed the 6 billion mark in …

Read more: Living, Population, Sex

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Women’s rights are key to slowing population growth

Cross-posted from Policy Innovations. As human numbers approach 7 billion, the question is, "Where do we go from here?" The U.N. recently published new population projections, which envision a range of possibilities for the 21st century. In the U.N.'s low projection, our numbers peak at 8 billion by mid-century, then decline to 6 billion by 2100. By contrast, the medium and high projections envision continued growth for the foreseeable future. According to the medium projection, the world's population would reach 10 billion by 2100; according to the high projection, nearly 16 billion. Now, I don't believe there is an optimal …

Read more: Childfree, Living, Population, Sex