Today’s problems are increasingly pressing. The scale and pace of biodiversity loss, climate change, resource depletion and population density should be a matter of grave concern for us all. Those who think humanity will continue to prosper on the basis of ever more industrialisation or prospective technologies are gambling with the prospects of future generations and neglecting the rights of other species.
We all love our children. We want them to grow up loved, healthy, well-nourished and well educated in a safe and pleasant environment. Today only a small proportion grows up in such circumstances. Looking ahead, climate change and resource over consumption means that even those born into fortunate circumstances may not be able to guarantee the same circumstances for their own children and for later generations.
The reasons include consumption levels that vary widely between rich and the poor, both within and between countries; over consumption and waste of resources by the richest countries; finite resources: the greater the number of people, the fewer resources are available for each individual.
Solutions are available: technology is finding ways to reduce carbon dioxide production, the main cause of global warming, and are improving the efficiency of food production; individuals can make a contribution by eating less meat; political will and the changing of commercial priorities could produce a more equitable distribution of resources; and, finally, stabilising and then reducing the world’s population will lessen the pressure on resources, for both mankind and other species.
There are many established charities and campaign groups that recognise this and work in the fields of green technologies, green lifestyles, conservation, sustainable development, poverty alleviation, social justice, family planning and women’s rights. Their work is important and something we support. However, for historical reasons, they generally shy away from addressing one of the main causes of many of today’s problems, the unrelenting growth in human numbers. They wrongly feel that even talking about the benefits to society of smaller families is the start of a slippery slope to state control of procreation, despite the abundant evidence that people generally welcome the support they need to manage their own fertility.
Population Matters exists to provide evidence to raise awareness of the urgency and importance of problems associated with the increasing global population and to offer solutions as well as to challenge those who deny this reality.