Population Matters Update - January 2016 Part I

Population awareness

Over half of Australians are against further population growth, according to a recent survey. More than half of the survey respondents said they believe their country is “full”, while two thirds believe Australia’s population should not exceed 30 million. It currently stands at 24 million and is rising rapidly.

Shanghai's population growth rate is successfully slowing down

New measures implemented by the Chinese government to curb population growth in Shanghai have been effective, according to newly-released government data. The number of permanent residents surged from 16 million in 2000 to 24 million in 2014, but for 2015 – 2020 an increase of just 740,000 is forecast.

The UK Office for Rail and Road has revealed that nine of the 10 busiest train stations in the country are found in Greater London. The report indicates London’s exceptional population growth and rising commuter numbers.

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Family planning & women's rights

Our petition asking the UK government to reverse its latest public health cuts has already surpassed 180 signatures. The cuts, which will cost millions in increased unplanned pregnancies and sexual disease transmission, are the focus of our latest campaign, in which we encourage all our members to take part.

The Chinese government now seems to be trying to encourage people to have more children

The Chinese government has announced a draft amendment to the country’s strict family planning laws. The change would mean those who delay marriage or pregnancy receive fewer additional days of marriage and maternity leave, while some financial incentives for only having one child would no longer be awarded.

BBC News has invited readers to write in with their experiences of deciding not to have children. While some people have reported that they regret having children, many have written that they face stigma for their choice to remain childless.

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Environmental conservation

Our chief executive, Simon Ross, has written for the Huffington Post on the impact of population growth on environmental conservation. Simon’s article references the final episode of our patron David Attenborough’s BBC documentary series “The Hunt”, which examines the impact on wildlife of human population growth.

Habitat loss, pesticides and climate change are driving UK butterflies into a severe decline

A study by the charity Butterfly Conservation suggests that three quarters of UK butterfly species have declined over the past 40 years. The use of neonicotinoids — a class of pesticides — has been blamed previously for the decline in the UK butterfly population.

New research published in IOP Science suggests that snow may prove a highly important water source for future generations. The study also shows that climate change will greatly reduce the availability of this resource.

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Sustainable lifestyles

George Monbiot has written in the Guardian that eating free-range meat products can be even worse for the environment than taking long haul flights. According to research published by Chatham House, one kilo of organic British meat creates more greenhouse gas emissions than a flight from London to New York. Monbiot concludes that the most ethically-sound solution is to swap most of the animal protein we eat for vegetable protein.

The unique ecosystem of Macedonia's Lake Ohrid includes 350 plant and animal species found nowhere else on the planet

Lake Ohrid, the oldest lake in Europe, is “under threat” due to plans to build luxury homes and artificial beaches for visitors, according to biologist Dr Christian Albrecht. Lake Ohrid is home to 350 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world, but tourism to the area threatens to disrupt this unique ecosystem.

Dr Duncan Smith, at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, has created a map that reveals the extent and pace of urbanization for 1950 – 2030. According to Smith's projections, Africa and the Middle East will experience their biggest urbanization “boom” yet over the next 15 years.

More >>   What you can do >>

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


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