Population Matters Update - December 2015 Part II

Population awareness

Stephen Emmott has written in The Guardian about the impact of population growth on climate change. He called for world leaders at the COP21 talks in Paris to address the issue of high fertility rates when crafting an agreement on climate change.

The EU's naturally sustainable limit is 280 million people, but the current population is 500 million

Anchored Minds has released a short film about the effects of overpopulation in Europe. The film explores the impact of population on climate change and quality of life, urging viewers to reconsider their choices and lead more sustainable lifestyles.

The Economist has published a feature about the effects of a rising population in certain African countries. Warning that the continent faces a “population explosion”, the author insists that more people will only exacerbate instability and poverty in the region.

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Family planning & women's rights

We have launched a campaign against planned public health cuts in the UK. As part of this, we are encouraging our supporters to sign our petition against the cuts and write to their MPs to convince them to take action on the issue.

Most infant and maternal deaths are due to inadequate response to conflict and natural disaster

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released its annual report on the state of the world population, focusing on women’s rights. Amongst other points, the UNFPA noted that inadequate response to conflict and natural disaster accounts for the majority of infant and maternal deaths around the world.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Pope’s leading adviser on climate issues, has shown support for the idea that birth control can “offer a solution” to the impacts of climate change. The cardinal denied that his church is opposed to all birth control methods.

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Environmental conservation

Philip Cafaro has written an article in Biological Conservation in which he describes the sixth mass extinction as a “crime” attributable to selfish and avoidable human behaviours. Describing humanity as a “cancer on the biosphere”, Cafaro encourages individuals to take responsibility for their environmental impact.

Three-quarters of the planet's carnivores are in decline due to human activity

The final episode of Sir David Attenborough’s BBC documentary series The Hunt has highlighted the importance of conservation efforts to preserve global biodiversity. In this episode, Attenborough, who is one of our patrons, also draws attention to the impact of human population growth on conservation and biodiversity.

China’s first ever pollution “red alert” was put into effect in Beijing on 7 December in response to unprecedentedly high smog levels. The move comes after news that Beijing’s air quality qualified as “good” only two per cent of the time from 2008 - 2015.

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Sustainable lifestyles

Research from the University of Reading indicates that thousands of British wildlife species may be under threat from pollution, pest control measures and other factors. To reverse the trend, Professor James Bullock recommends that Britons cultivate wildlife-friendly gardens and only purchase food grown in a sustainable way.

Replacing meat with healthy alternatives, like this vegan mushroom and spinach lasagna, can help fight climate change

CBC News has published a list of the five most effective ways for individuals to help fight the effects of climate change. Amongst the suggestions listed are eating less red meat and using electrical appliances more sparingly.

Clauses acknowledging the importance of sustainable individual consumption have been added to the draft COP21 agreement. India, whose leaders proposed the clauses, had criticized the developed countries for adopting “extravagant” lifestyles that exacerbate climate change.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


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We would like to thank those who have already donated to our holiday appeal this year. For those who have not yet donated, we are raising money for the human family planning element of our patron Jane Goodall's chimpanzee conservation work and other family planning projects we are supporting through PopOffsets.

We are currently seeking Campaign and Development Coordinators. If you can contribute the equivalent of two or more days per week, please email us with your CV and a recent writing sample.

We would like to thank one member, who wishes to remain anonymous, for their significant donation to our work.

Finally, we wish you all very happy holidays, and look forward to getting in contact again in the New Year.


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