Population Matters Update - June 2016

From the Chief Executive

Chief Executive Simon RossWe have had a busy month, raising the issue of population with UK election candidates and dealing with lots of media interest in our analysis of the England subnational population projections. Thanks to all the members who helped increase awareness of them.

We have also welcomed Joanna Lumley as our latest patron and issued a paper and two briefings on specific topics and a comment on the EU referendum.

On a sadder note, we mourn the passing of Ed Barry of the US based Population Institute. This month, we will, amongst other things, be commenting on the latest UK population estimates, released on the same day as the EU referendum, and attending a major conference on Malthus commemorating his 250th anniversary.


Tropical vegetationNew renewable energy sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate yet, according to the Renewables Global Status Report. 147 gigawatts of capacity was added in 2015, equivalent to the total generating capacity of Africa.

One in five plant species are now at risk of extinction from climate change, invasive species or other causes, according to a report by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. The report also found that one tenth of plant-friendly habitats are highly sensitive to climate change.

series of nine short films about the relationship between humanity and nature will be released in Spring 2017. The project, titled Insignificant, is looking to reach its funding goal by early July.


Crowd of people

Economic inequality makes environmental sustainability harder to achieve, according to our briefing. We argue that the greater the inequality, the greater the risk of exploitation of people and the environment.

The world is not prepared for an increase in natural disasters brought on by climate change and population growth, according to a report by the World Bank. Population growth and urbanization could put 1.3 billion people at risk from flooding alone by 2050.

More than 250,000 new houses are scheduled to be built on Green Belt land in the UK. Despite the current government’s claim to protect this land from urban sprawl, the number of houses set to be built there is now double the number planned in 2009.


We attended the Bristol VegFest 21-22 May, which advocates sustainable living. We received a lot of interest at our stall and are pleased to welcome some new members.

Increasing numbers of firms are producing goods that are durable and easy to reuse. Since population growth means that the demand for consumer goods cannot be met by the Earth’s finite resources, these businesses are challenging today’s throw-away culture.

Apple and Samsung supplier Foxconn has replaced 60,000 of its factory workers with robots. Increasing automation raises the question of whether fewer workers will be required in the future.


Crowd of people

Improved sex education and increased access to contraception are the way to reduce teen pregnancy, according to our briefing. Recent public health cuts by the UK government will put these provisions at risk.

The Office for National Statistics has published its latest subnational population projections, forecasting growth across much of England. We prepared model letters to help people contact their local media and politicians to highlight population concerns.

High rates of population growth in Nigeria are putting pressure on the country’s infrastructure and resources, leading to high levels of unemployment and poverty. Nigeria will have 300 million people by 2030, and by 2050 it will be the world's third most populous nation after China and India.

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Gearing up to World Environment Day!

Population Matters embraces the proactive message of World Environment Day yet  our research shows that endorsement of a sustainable lifestyle is not sufficient on its own to achieve long-term environmental preservation. The environment is affected in many ways by increasing human activity. Read more

Population size affects everyone today, other species and our children’s future. Your support will enable us to continue carrying out our research, education, campaigning and lobbying activities and help us to move population-related issues up the political and media agendas.

David Attenborough
"All environmental problems become harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people." - David Attenborough

Organization news

Our 25th anniversary. This year Population Matters is celebrating our 25th anniversary. Starting on 11 July - World Population Day and the month of our founding - we will be sharing stories from members who support our vision and some of our achievements throughout the years. Please keep an eye out for these stories and help us celebrate 25 years of campaigning on population.

New patron. We are delighted to announce that Joanna Lumley has accepted an invitation to become our newest patron. She joins our existing patrons, who include Sir David AttenboroughDame Jane GoodallSusan Hampshire and Lionel Shriver.

Patron recognition. We are pleased to hear that the UK polar ship with the potential name of Boaty McBoatface will in fact be named after our patron, David Attenborough.

London marathon. Eric Stevens is a member who ran in this year's London Marathon and will also cycle in this year's event on 31 July to raise awareness of Population Matters. Please consider supporting him. If you would like to participate in future fundraising events, please contact Christina.

Volunteering. We are recruiting a volunteer to support our Fundraising Coordinator with research projects. Send Christina your CV and a writing sample to apply.

Local Groups. Welcome to our most recently formed Local Group in Fife! They have already had a stall at the inaugural VegFest in Scotland and plan to have another at the Vegan Festival in Edinburgh in August. Click here to find your nearest Local Group.

Media coverage. Simon Ross, Population Matters’ CEO, speaks of the effect of population growth on congestion in London. Click here for more coverage.


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