Population Matters Update - March 2016 Part II
 

Population

Deciding to have a smaller family can be an empowering choice for women, according to our briefing. With fewer children, a woman has more time to spend on her leisure interests and career progression.

More women than ever now use family planning

The latest figures by the UN show more women than ever now use family planning, with some poorer regions recording the fastest pace of growth since 2000.

The British public views global population growth as a serious risk to their well-being and security, according to research published in the journal Risk Analysis. Those interviewed for the research paper also believed that the effects of population growth would be felt most strongly by the world’s poorest people.

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Society

We have issued a briefing on the problems faced by UK local authorities in areas of high population growth. We consider the consequences of the strain placed on infrastructure, healthcare, housing and education facilities in areas with a rapidly-expanding population — such as Tower Hamlets and Lambeth, both in London.

Good-quality apprenticeships could help close the UK skills gap

Good-quality apprenticeship programmes could be used to close the skills gap in the UK, according to our latest submission. Our submission to the ESE Sub-Committee Inquiry on Apprenticeships argues that vocational training should be promoted so that it is not viewed as inferior to a university education.

Population growth will soon mean that UK councils cannot ensure a school place for every child, according to a report from the Department of Education, as analysed by the BBC. Last year, councils had to provide 2.7 million secondary school places, and this level of demand is set to increase by 20 per cent by 2024. As a result, many more parents will not be able to send their children to their first preference school.

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Sustainability

New technology alone will not be able to counter the negative effects of population growth, according to our briefing. In fact, advances in robotics are likely to make the situation worse, since the mechanisation of labour will increase unemployment levels.

A number of towns in the east of England have illegally-high levels of air pollution

A number of towns in the east of England have illegally-high levels of air pollution, according to research by BBC East. Environmental lawyers at ClientEarth plan to take the UK government to court over the findings.

A group of teenagers is suing Barack Obama and the US government for their failure to tackle climate change. The young people’s lawsuit is already being opposed by many big oil businesses, such as BP and Shell.

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Fertility

To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, we pledged to campaign for gender equality. An important dimension of this, as we see it, is to ensure that women everywhere have access to contraception and can choose the family size they want.

60 per cent of British girls aged 13 to 21 said they have been sexually harassed at school or college

Plan UK has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the sexual abuse and violence that many young women experience at school. 60 per cent of British girls aged from 13 to 21 reported experiencing sexual harassment at school or college, according to a recent report from Girlguiding.

The right to sexual and reproductive health is fundamentally linked to many other crucial human rights, according to an announcement from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). CESCR’s members adopted a legal commentary underlining the committee’s obligation to protect sexual and reproductive rights across the world.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


 

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We thank all those who contacted us about our reference to conifers as a “broad-leaved species of tree” in the previous issue of our Update. This has since been corrected.

Please help oppose the censorship of domestic population issues by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We encourage our supporters to contact the Association challenging such censorship.

Some British Quakers have created a website, Quaker Concern over Population, which you may wish to visit.

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