Population Matters

Past events – 2009

Past events – 2009

The World Debate: Are there too many people in the world?

Broadcast by the BBC on 26th April 2009. (View online.)

Can technological advances and economic growth provide for all? Should we worry about population shrinking? Should we control population numbers and if so how? Might migration help population imbalances around the globe? Moderated by Zeinab Badawi.


  • Matthew Connelly, Professor at Columbia University, Historian and Author of Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population
  • Rosamund McDougall, Policy Director of the UK-based Optimum Population Trust
  • Professor A K M Nurun Nabi, Department of Population Sciences, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Wang Shuo, Managing Editor of the Beijing-based Caijing Magazine
  • Dr. Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, President, Union of African Population Studies & Director of Research, African Population and Health Research Center

The Optimum Population Trust Environmentally Sustainable Populations Conference: The scientific case for population policy

Held at the offices of the Royal Statistical Society on 26th March 2009.

The conference examined the scientific case for a decrease in human population, globally and nationally, to levels which are more likely to be environmentally sustainable in the long term. Speakers from a variety of disciplines suggested possible solutions to the population-environment crisis, and expert delegates were invited to join discussion on policy proposals. By invitation only — people from differing academic disciplines and ethnic backgrounds were invited. In some cases speeches may reflect the personal views of the speaker rather than those of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT).


  • Conference opening by Roger Martin, OPT Chair.
  • Welcome address by Sara Parkin OBE, OPT Patron and Founder Director of Forum for the Future.
  • The demographic transition by Tim Dyson, Professor of Demography, London School of Economics.
  • Climate change by Andrew Watkinson, Director of Living with Environmental Change and former Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UEA.
  • Food and water by Robin Maynard, Campaigns Director, Soil Association.
  • A population policy for the UK by Rosamund McDougall, OPT Policy Director and former Co-Chair.
  • Panel discussion and open debate by various speakers with Professor Judith Stephenson, Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health, UCL.
  • What ecological footprinting tells us by Dr. Martin Desvaux CPhys, OPT Trustee and former Director of ERA Technology.
  • Scientific solutions in contraception by Professor John Guillebaud, OPT Patron and Emeritus Professor of Family Planning & Reproductive Health, UCL.
  • Human, energy, climate: is sustainability achievable? by Professor Chris Rapley CBE, Director, Science Museum, and former OPT Patron.
  • Political policies for a sustainable future by Jonathon Porritt CBE, OPT Patron, Founder Director of Forum for the Future, and Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission.
  • Panel discussion and open debate by various speakers with Dr. Pippa Hayes, OPT Trustee and general practitioner.
  • Summing up by Sara Parkin OBE, OPT Patron and Founder Director of Forum for the Future.
  • Conclusion by Roger Martin, OPT Chair.

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