Population Matters

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Patrons

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Sir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FZS FRA

Naturalist, broadcaster and former controller of BBC Two

“The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrolled way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us and it is the poor people of the world who will suffer most.”
Video: Sir David Attenborough talks about the problem of unsustainable population growth

Sir Partha Dasgupta FRS FBA

Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge

“Population growth, poverty and degradation of local resources often fuel one another.”
Video: Partha Dasgupta – Nature’s Role in Sustaining Economic Development

Paul Ehrlich ForMemRS

Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University

“Overdrafts on aquifers are one reason some of our geologist colleagues are convinced that water shortages will bring the human population explosion to a halt. There are substitutes for oil; there is no substitute for fresh water.”
Video: Paul Ehrlich – Seven Billion of Us

Baroness Shreela Flather

Member of the United Kingdom House of Lords

“With the global population reaching the milestone of seven billion, population size is starting to get the attention it deserves. One of the most effective contributions to solving these problems would be to enable women worldwide to decide their own family size and timing through funding universal access to family planning and through enabling them to exercise their social and economic rights.”
Video: Shreela Flather – Women in Democracy

Jane Goodall PhD DBE

Founder, Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace

“It’s our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we’ve inflicted on the planet. If there were just a few of us, then the nasty things we do wouldn’t really matter and Mother Nature would take care of it — but there are so many of us.”
Video: Jane Goodall – Overpopulation in the Developing World

John Guillebaud

Former Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, University College, London and Medical Director, Margaret Pyke Centre for Family Planning

“Should we now explain to UK couples who plan a family that stopping at two children, or at least having one less than first intended, is the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren?”
Video: John Guillebaud – Sex and the Planet

Susan Hampshire OBE

Actress and population campaigner

“It’s been so obvious to me for so long that cramming ever more people onto our little planet does it ever more damage — I can not understand why so many people find this so hard to grasp, and why so many Governments ignore it.”
Video: Susan Hampshire – Interview

Adrian Hayes

Record-breaking polar explorer and adventurer, speaker, coach, campaigner and author

“I’ve seen melting ice caps with my own eyes and got very wet in the process. But, as a passionate promoter of economic, social and environmental sustainability, it is pointless campaigning against climate change or to ‘save the Arctic’ without addressing the root cause behind it and virtually every other environmental or indeed social issue we face: our unsustainable numbers on this planet. That is the real inconvenient truth.”
Video: Adrian Hayes on You Tube

James Lovelock CH CBE FRS PhD

Originator of the Gaia Theory

“Those who fail to see that population growth and climate change are two sides of the same coin are either ignorant or hiding from the truth. These two huge environmental problems are inseparable and to discuss one while ignoring the other is irrational.”
Video: James Lovelock – Population Reduction ‘Max 1 Billion’

Aubrey Manning OBE FRSE FIBiol

Emeritus Professor of Natural History, University of Edinburgh

“Looking across the world at present it is obvious to anybody with even slight biological knowledge that human numbers are out of balance.”
Video: Aubrey Manning – Population: Can We Begin to Talk Sensibly?

Norman Myers CMG PhD

Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, California, Michigan and Texas Universities

“Many children face a prospect of a world which has been devastated of its forest cover and lost many of its species. Would it not be worthwhile to reinforce that enormous investment in the future, that grand gesture of hope in the future by chipping in just a little bit more, that one penny per day for family planning facilities? To insure that our children inherit a world worth living in. A world where population growth has been slowed to zero, with equity and fairness for all citizens on this planet, and where our environments are safeguarded and restored.”
Video: Norman Myers – A Talk

Chris Packham

Naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author

“There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other — namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population.”
Video: Chris Packham – Natural Environment White Paper

Sara Parkin OBE

Founder Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future and board member of the Natural Environment Research Council and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Head Teachers into Industry

“As the soaring demand for food, water and energy is exacerbated by climate change, it is no longer legitimate to leave policies for lowering birth rates off the policy agenda.”
Video: Sara Parkin – Educational Association of University Centers Fifteenth Annual Conference Keynote Address

Jonathon Porritt CBE

Founder Director of the Forum for the Future and former Chair of the United Kingdom Sustainable Development Commission

“Population raises all these questions about religion, about culture, about male dominance in the world — and (people) get very uncomfortable about that.”
Video: Jonathon Porritt – Why is No One Talking About Overpopulation

Malcolm Potts MB BChir PhD FRCOG

Professor in Maternal and Child Health and the first and former holder of the Fred H. Bixby Endowed Chair in Population and Family Planning of the University of California

“Rapid population growth is at the center of many of the world’s pressing environmental, economic and security problems…The antidote is family planning, which is not only a universal need but also a basic human right. It is not about telling people what to do; it is about listening to what women want. Having worked internationally for almost 50 years, I have learned that whenever women are offered a range of family planning methods, backed up by honest information about side effects, family size always falls. Smaller families mean that parents are able to keep their children in school and put enough food on the table. When family planning is made available on a wide scale, as in South Korea and Brazil, not only do birthrates fall but entire countries grow more prosperous.”
Video: Malcolm Potts – Avoiding the Next Great Humanitarian Crisis

Lionel Shriver

Journalist and author

“We need to recognise that slowing population growth is one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways of easing pressure on our environment and securing a sustainable future for us all.”
Video: Lionel Shriver – Big Think Interview

Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO FZS

Former Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin Institute and former United Kingdom Permanent Representative on the United Nations Security Council

“Population was a big issue about 30 years ago, now it’s not, but I suspect it will come back because it has to be discussed as one of the big environmental problems of our time, it’s one animal species out of control, and the awful thing is that if we don’t control it then Mother Nature will do it for us.”
Video: Crispin Tickell – Director of Policy Foresight Programme