Population Matters Members Update
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Population Matters Update
December 2016
From our new Chief Executive
I am delighted to take up the post of interim CEO. A couple of years back, Population Matters patron Jonathon Porritt and I attempted to persuade leading environmental and conservation groups to embrace the conclusion of the Royal Society’s ‘People and the Planet’ report that both human consumption rates and population numbers must be addressed if we are to achieve a sustainable future for the world.  Our approaches met initially with silence then, after polite prodding, a plethora of excuses – including outrage at our raising the human population issue at all! 
So I’m not naïve about the challenges in gaining more widespread acceptance of the simple fact that the number of human beings on Earth matters and must be part of any honest analysis assessing our impact on the planet.  Or in overcoming fatalistic inertia that we can moderate that impact - in particular, by enabling all women to have the right and means to choose how many or how few children they bear.
Population Matters has trod a lonely path over the past 25 years which other organisations, on the basis of logic and science, should have joined us on long ago. But the ‘P’ word throws up deep-rooted psychological, cultural and social barriers – it is those that we must understand, overcome and work around, as much as continuing to present the facts. 
As PM patron, Aubrey Manning observed in the latest Population Matters magazine, we are a ‘pro-human organisation’.  I look forward to working with you all in promoting that positive vision of a more equitable world where everyone has access to a fair, sustainable share of the Earth’s resources - and where humans co-exist with the dazzling diversity of other species and ecosystems that underpin our planet’s ability to support life at all.
Robin Maynard
The UK’s Office for National Statistics released figures on births and deaths and migration in November. They showed that 777,000 babies were born in 2015, 175,000 more than the number of people to die. The migration figures showed that 650,000 people immigrated into the country and 315,000 left in the year up to June 2016, making the total net migration figure 335,000. The UK’s current “total fertility rate” (TFR) of 1.8 is below the global average of 2.5, although at 11.9 births per thousand population per year, the UK's "crude birth rate" is one of the highest in the European Union. 
In a statement to the media, Population Matters said: 
"More people means more pressure on everything, from buses to butterflies. There’s a global environmental challenge too. People emigrating in pursuit of a better life usually end up consuming more and producing more carbon emissions – the same is true of British emigrants, most of whom end up in places such as the US and Australia. Economic development where it’s needed, lower consumption where it isn’t and having smaller families everywhere will reduce the pressures that drive migration and will give our country and our planet some breathing room."
Sexual health and women’s rights
The FP2020 international family planning initiative has released its fourth annual progress report.  300 million women in the world’s poorest countries are currently using modern contraception. While the initiative aims to have an additional 120 million using contraception above the number in 2012, half way through the program only 30 million have been reached so far. With a benchmark of 60 million set for this stage, fears have been raised that the program may not reach its goal. Two particular problems have been highlighted: a significant funding gap, with aid from developed countries failing to meet the resource needs, and, in some places, difficulties in getting contraceptive supplies into the hands of the women who need them.
Good news. A recent study published in the Journal of Conservation reveals that “citizen scientists” contribute to scientific understanding of biodiversity through activities like bird watching or monitoring blossoms. Biodiversity is essential for our wellbeing and the health of our planet. By fillings gaps in data, citizens may help better assess trends in biodiversity loss and resilience at the regional and global level. The study calls for greater use to be made of information provided by members of the public in this field.
News from Population Matters
COP22. Population Matters and climate change campaign group Saving Our Planet (SOP) issued a joint statement and briefing at the COP22 global climate change talks held in Morocco in November. Distributed to delegates in Marrakesh by SOP, the statement stressed the threat that unchecked population growth poses to our climate “The additional CO2 produced by projected global population growth would cancel out a 96% cut from 1990 emission levels (21.4 billion tonnes).”


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“Species are becoming extinct at an ever increasing rate in the pursuit of "growth" with no thought given to the restriction of human population growth which is the root cause of practically all the troubles that beset the world today. Global warming for example is merely a symptom.”
- Roger Barnes, Population Matters member
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