The Optimum Population Trust, now known as Population Matters, was founded in 1991 with the goal of informing and educating about the dangers posed by unsustainable population growth.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the organization, Population Matters has published a briefing paper which examines the changes that have occurred in the world since 1991 in terms of technology, demography, resource consumption and biodiversity.
There have been many societal changes in the 25 years since the organization’s inception, with rapid technological advancements, such as the development of the internet, the uptake in use of mobile phones and the rise of social media, dramatically altering the way we live.
Over the same time period, global population levels have increased by approximately two billion people, driven by high fertility rates and longer life expectancy.
Unfortunately, this increase in population levels has been accompanied by significant environmental damage. Consumption of natural resources has increased correspondingly, leading to deforestation, loss of arable land, significant declines in animal, plant and fish species, and huge increases in carbon emissions.
The briefing concludes that, given that global population levels are expected to increase by one billion to eight billion by 2030, and to 11 billion by 2100, demand for resources will continue to increase, likely causing even greater environmental damage.
To prevent this from happening, policymakers must learn from their mistakes and commit to confronting rapid population growth by making family planning services available to all, ensuring that girls around the world receive an education, and promoting smaller families.