Population Matters Update - February 2016 Part II
 

Population

Our latest submission to the International Development Committee argues that the Department for International Development must do more to address the issue of population growth in Nigeria, where only 15 per cent of married couples in their fertile years are using contraception.

An ageing population could be a golden opportunity to establish a more sustainable society

We have released a briefing on how best to manage the UK’s ageing population. We suggest more effort be made to enable older people to contribute, and that other measures be taken to increase the productivity of the existing population, rather than increasing its size.

Of 17 surveyed countries, Britain is the most concerned about global population growth, according to a recent YouGov poll, placing it third after terrorism and poverty, hunger and thirst. Globally, people’s greatest concerns are terrorism, poverty, hunger and thirst and climate change, with population growth coming in at sixth.

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Society

Population growth has a significant impact on flood risk worldwide, according to our recent briefing on the subject. We show that demand for new housing is leading to the construction of homes on increasingly unsafe terrain, such as floodplains, while growing populations are putting pressure on sewers and other flood management measures.

It is time to consider the impact of population growth on the increasing rate of homelessness

With the number of homeless people in England rising by 37 per cent between 2010 – 2013 alone, it is time to consider the impact of population growth. This is the message of our submission to the Communities and Local Government Committee in response to its inquiry into homelessness.

The UK will face a 40 – 55 per cent electricity supply gap by 2025, by which time the government will have closed all coal-fired power stations. This will mean greater reliance on the UK’s ageing nuclear power stations to keep up with the demands of a growing population.

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Sustainability

Food insecurity in the Middle East is set to greatly increase over the next few years, according to a report by the US National Intelligence Council. Climate change and conflict — both attributable to population growth — have been blamed for increasing famine and drought in the region.

Population Matters at the Greater Manchester Humanists' Darwin Day Talk on religion and cooperation

On 12 February, team members and volunteers were in Manchester, UK for the Greater Manchester Humanists’ Darwin Day talk on religion and cooperation. We also held a stall in the Conference Centre and recruited new supporters for Population Matters.

The ancient forest of Białowieża on the Polish-Belorussian border — already reduced to 0.2 per cent of its original size — is set to lose much of its remaining area to a new logging initiative. Experts fear that the forest will suffer a massive loss in biodiversity as a result.

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Fertility

On 25 January, our volunteers performed a campaign stunt outside the Department for International Development in London to coincide with the International Conference on Family Planning. This is part of our wider campaign to call on the UK government to spend more of their international development spending on family planning.

Women and girls in crisis situations have a desperate need for proper family planning services

The United Nations Population Fund has released its report on the state of the world population in 2015. The report stresses the importance of bringing family planning methods to women and girls in situations of conflict and natural disaster.

The Indian government plans to increase maternity benefits from 12 to 26 weeks of paid leave, in the hope that it will encourage women to keep their jobs after having children. The new law is being praised for addressing the gender gap at India’s top firms.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


 

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The fast-spreading Zika virus has been linked to birth defects. We are calling for much better access to family planning to limit the effects of the virus.

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