Attenborough Warns Rio: “Don’t ignore population”
June 17th 2012
Sir David Attenborough, Jonathon Porritt and former Chief Scientist Lord May have warned the Rio Earth Summit that it will make no progress if it ignores the problem of population growth.
They were among a group of eminent people, Patrons and Supporters of Population Matters, to sign a statement
on behalf of the environmental charity. It points out that “Stable populations are an essential part of any sustainable future – reducing our personal footprint does not help if we keep increasing the number of feet”.
Population Matters Chair Roger Martin said: “We have been working to get population growth recognized, with over-consumption, as the two main drivers of all our environmental and resource problems. But the taboo around the subject remains strong. The global population hit 7 billion last year, and is projected by the UN as somewhere between 8.1 and 10.6 billion by 2050, depending on what we all do about it. Rio’s plans for sustainable development will be little more than a wish list if they ignore the urgent need to stabilize our numbers - along with all the other action needed on food, water, energy and so on”.
Population growth was much debated at the first Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The then Secretary-General, Maurice Strong, said bluntly: “Either we reduce our population voluntarily, or nature will do it brutally”. Since the Population Conference in 1994, however, the issue has been marginalized and family planning has been neglected.
- David Attenborough speaks online on population – 10th March 2011
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- David Attenborough urges business to protect nature from population boom
- Attenborough is new OPT patron
- OPT changes name to Population Matters