Population Matters in Scotland
Held at the Scottish Parliament on 17th November 2010 and sponsored by Ian McKee MSP.
Speakers: Professor Aubrey Manning (zoologist, broadcaster and a patron of OPT), Patrick Harvey (MSP, Green Party), Professor Peter Gregory (CEO of the Scottish Crop Research Institute) and Dr. Libby Wilson (a pioneer of family planning).
Humanity’s impact on the world is a product of the resources that each person consumes and the number of people on the planet. If our population exceeds what the planet can sustain then humans and wildlife alike will suffer from a deteriorating climate and erosion of natural habitats. Over recent years attention has focused on reducing carbon dioxide consumption per person, especially in the developed world. However, these so-called per capita reductions are meaningless if the global population continues to grow. This is a sensitive and emotive subject, and rightly so, but we aim to discuss the implication of continuing population growth and ethical ways in which it might be limited.
Some robust and informative discussion followed the short presentations covering topics such as:
- Women’s rights to education and to control their own fertility.
- Can technology and improved agriculture overcome the need to limit population growth?
- Food sustainability and security in Scotland and the UK.
- The effects of population pressure on the environment and biodiversity.
- Ethical approaches to limiting and, over time, reducing global human population.
The primary purpose of the evening was to encourage debate on this important subject. We have just one planet and limited natural resources with which to sustain ourselves and the whole of the natural world. It is important that people feel able to stop and ask “Is Planet Earth already full?”.