Population Matters Update - July 2016

From the Chief Executive

Chief Executive Simon Ross

The big event in the UK has been the narrow referendum vote to leave the European Union, albeit that a majority voted to remain in Scotland, Northern Ireland, most cities and amongst those under 45.

We have commented on the outcome. We are concerned about high levels of inward migration to countries such as the UK which consume more than they can sustainably produce. We also believe that the international community must address population growth in non-EU countries of origin, which is the underlying driver of refugee numbers, currently at an all-time high.


World Population Day 2016 focused on empowering teenage girls

On 11 July we celebrated UN World Population Day, which aimed to raise awareness of population issues. This year’s focus was empowering teenage girls so that they can decide for themselves when and whether to marry and have children. This is one of our core campaigns. Join us today or make a donation to help support our campaign to empower girls and women, and bring child marriage to an end.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended that education about sex and reproductive health be on the mandatory school curriculum in the UK. The Committee believes that this step would help reduce unintended teen pregnancies. This is a positive step forward for our campaign!


While technological advancements might help reduce food waste, the best solution is for ordinary people to consume mindfully, according to a report by the BBC. UK households waste more than £12bn ($17bn) of edible food each year. We’re calling for individuals living in developed countries to be environmentally aware and limit their consumption. We believe the world’s poor are entitled to improve their living standards, while calling for sustainable approaches to be incorporated into development.

Ocean warming will cause fish numbers to decline

Declining numbers of edible fish will result in malnutrition in the developing world, according to a study in Nature. Ocean warming is predicted to decrease dramatically the number of fish available for human consumption over the coming decades.


17 June marked World Day to Combat Desertification, which promotes public awareness of the issue. Desertification may displace up to 50 million people in the coming decade, according to our blog. Join us today in our campaign to limit biodiversity loss and minimize exploitation of increasingly limited natural resources.

Will British wildlife suffer from a lack of legal protection after Brexit?

Climate change campaigners are worried that regulations to protect British wildlife may be at risk following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Currently, more than 70 per cent of environmental safeguarding is based on European legislation.


Population growth in London may make the Underground inoperable within 15 years, according to a Transport for London manager. It is predicted that by 2026, 30 stations across London may experience intolerable crowding of greater than four people per square metre. As population grows, communities face further problems, as transport infrastructure becomes increasingly congested. Transport constraints have a negative impact on well-being, while vehicles cause air pollution, which in turn affects health.

New mobile apps are enabling women to obtain prescription contraceptives legally online

In the US, new mobile apps and websites are making it possible for women to get prescription contraceptives without going to the doctor, according to the New York Times. At least six digital ventures are now providing legal prescriptions for birth control pills.


China’s health ministry is aiming to reduce its citizens’ average meat consumption by 50 per cent through new dietary guidelines. If successful, the initiative will also reduce China’s carbon dioxide emissions by 1bn tonnes by 2030.

Vietnam is making progress towards a zero-tolerance policy on wildlife crime

The Communist Party of Vietnam gathered experts and government representatives in June to discuss the impact of illegal wildlife consumption. As a result of the event, the participants developed action plans to establish a zero-tolerance policy towards wildlife crime. Another step in the right direction!

We’d love to hear from you! To make this newsletter perfect, please take 30 seconds to answer this question: what is the one thing you’d like Population Matters to do more or less of? Thank you to everyone who already sent us their replies. Keep an eye out for how this will shape our next steps! Please send any ideas for our work to suggestions@populationmatters.org.

If you love what we do, please consider supporting us by making a donation or becoming a member. Population size affects everyone today, other species and our children’s future. Your support will enable us to continue our research, education, campaigning and lobbying activities and move population-related issues up the political and media agendas! We also welcome legacies to support our activities.

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Please forward this to someone who might find it of interest.

Population Matters Update is edited by Tessa Dickinson.


Become a member

25th Anniversary
Population Matters was launched as the Optimum Population Trust following a meeting on 24 July 1991 by the late David Willey and others concerned about population numbers and sustainability. They were impelled to act by the failure of United Kingdom governments to respond to a series of recommendations regarding population growth and sustainability.

For this special year, we hope you will help us celebrate by joining us or donating to our 25th Anniversary appeal. As a “Thank you”, and to celebrate 25 years of hard, rewarding work, we wish to enter all new members who join us this month into a raffle to win their very own copy of the book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, published by Global Population Speak Out.

We have launched our new journal, Population and Sustainability, for our members. The first issue features papers on population issues from former Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Steven W. Sinding, and Population Matters patron Aubrey Manning.

Help sought
Straight Talking, a charity that educates young people on the reality of parenting, is seeking funding for a new London office. If you can help, please contact us.

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

Upcoming events


ONS: Population Projections for Areas of Scotland
United Kingdom
July 2016

ONS: Birth Summary Tables for England and Wales
United Kingdom
July 2016

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW): 64th Session
Geneva, Switzerland
4—22 July 2016

World Population Day (UN Observance)
11 July 2016

United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2016)
New York, USA
11—20 July 2016

International Conference on Earth Science & Climate Change (Fifth Session)
Bangkok, Thailand
25—26 July 2016


Earth Overshoot Day
8 Aug 2016

World Social Forum 2016 (Social and Citizens’ Movement)
Montreal, Canada
9—14 Aug 2016

European Population Conference
Mainz, Germany
31 Aug – 3 Sept 2016



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