Population Matters

Past events – 2006

Past events – 2006

Cafe Scientifique UK: Population — the issue that dare not speak its name?

Held at the Manchester Museum on 6th November 2006.

Speaker: David Nicholson-Lord, Research Associate, Optimum Population Trust

The Tenth Annual Offwell Lecture: Population — the unmentionable problem

Held at Mackarness Hall in Honiton on 27th October 2006.

Speaker: Dr. Pippa Hayes, Optimum Population Trust

The BBC World Debate: Advancing sands — deserts and migration

Broadcast on 15th October 2006.

Moderator: Zeinab Badawi

Panelists: Sunita Narain, Director of India’s Centre for Science and Environment; Fatima Jibrell, Executive Director of Horn Relief, Somalia; Dr. Christian Mersmann, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism established under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification); Martin Sommer, Director of the Natural Resources and Environment Division of the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation; Ibrahim Thiaw, Acting Director-General of the World Conservation Union); Rosamund McDougall, Advisory Council, Optimum Population Trust.

Discussion points: Why is the world ignoring desertification? Is competition for dwindling resources in dryland areas a major contributor to ethnic conflict? To what extent does desertification contribute to illegal migration to rich countries? There is a human and livestock population boom in the drylands — what will happen if it’s business as usual? Is it a creeping disaster or an age-old phenomenon that vested interests deliberately exaggerate?

Ethical Society: Population and the environment — the greatest good for the greatest number?

Held at Conway Hall in London on 14th May 2006. (View text.)

Speaker: Rosamund McDougall, Advisory Council, Optimum Population Trust

Global Development Forum: Human population growth is a bigger threat than climate change

Held in London on 22nd March 2006. (View summary.)

Chair: Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development

Panel: Dr. Saleemul Huq, IIED; David Nicholson-Lord, Research Associate, Optimum Population Trust; Professor Chris Rapley, Director, British Antarctic Survey and Patron, Optimum Population Trust.

A few years ago slowing down the growth of population was seen as the key issue of world poverty. Is this one of the hidden issues that cannot be mentioned?

CSFI-OPT-NEF Round Table: Reconsidering population growth

Held in London on 15th February 2006.

Chair: Dr. Andrew Hilton, CSFI.

Speakers: Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley MP; Professor David Coleman, Oxford University; Rosamund McDougall, Optimum Population Trust; David Nicholson-Lord, Optimum Population Trust / New Economics Foundation.

Peter Lilley MP, a former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, focused on the effects of immigration on overpopulation and explained the severe flaws in economic arguments made in favour of mass immigration, pointing out that the government denies the true costs of population growth. David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University, discussed the prospect of population decline — environmental relief or economic threat — and concluded that modest and slow decline might be welcome, provided it can be halted. Rosamund McDougall drew attention to some similarities between systemic risk in financial systems and the bankrupting of ecosystems by human activities, concluding that policies to allow populations to stabilise and gradually decrease cannot be excluded from environmental policies. David Nicholson-Lord introduced the concept of the ecological footprint into the discussion, which dramatically increase when an individual moves from a poor society to a rich one, or from a developing country to a developed one. He concluded that human beings as individuals must be responsible for the state of our own societies and nations. Experts present at the meeting were able to put questions during the presentations, though time for concluding discussion unfortunately proved too short.

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