Our president is our ambassador to international events and a contact point for our patrons. Our first president is Roger Martin.
Roger has had two careers: as a diplomat in Africa, Asia, the United Nations, and Middle East, resigning “in fury” as a Deputy High Commissioner; and an environmentalist: Director of Somerset Wildlife Trust, national Trustee and South West Regional Chair of CPRE, founder “green” representative on South West Regional Assembly, founder Chair Sustainable Somerset Forum, Secretary of State rep on South West Environment Agency flood defence and environmental pollution committees, Regional Agriculture Panel and National Park Authority, founder Chair South West regional Biodiversity Action Plan, regional Water Framework Directive committee etc, with experience also of planning, transport, energy, waste, etc.
“As a diplomat in Africa and Asia, I saw plenty of evidence of the damaging impact of rapidly growing populations both on poor women and on the environment,” said Roger. “It was only when I resigned and became an environmentalist in Somerset, however, that I experienced the ‘mad taboo’. At all the worthy green quangos and NGO bodies to which I was appointed, I started to point out that all our problems got harder with ever more people and suggested that we said so. The response was always the same. Everyone would stare at their papers; after a short pause the Chairman would move on; and then over coffee lots of them would tell me how glad they were I had raised it. When I asked why they hadn’t supported me, they would change the subject! Increasingly exasperated by this, I joined Population Matters as soon as the late, great Willie Stanton told me of it in the early ’90s.”
In his time as chair of Population Matters, Roger put the main focus on campaigning, supported by research and education, and increased the number of our contacts and profile of our Patrons. As both chair and president, he has spoken in over 20 countries. He has spoken many more times in the United Kingdom, including many debates and broadcast interviews.