Our numbers have a huge effect on our natural environment. The more of us there are, the bigger the impact on nature. Human population growth is a key driver of biodiversity loss, resource depletion, deforestation, climate emissions and pollution.

In the 1970s, Population Matters Patron Paul Ehrlich and his colleague John Holdren developed an equation to describe our impact on the environment:

I = P x A x T

Where "I" is impact, "P" is population, "A" is affluence and "T" is technology. The "IPAT" equation shows that our numbers, how we live, and the technology we use all have an effect on our finite environment.

See our latest news stories and blog posts about the environment below.

Climate change

Sustainability Insights

Only recently has it been possible directly to measure temperature, rainfall and the other weather variables that make up our climate. H

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Biocapacity and ecological footprint

Sustainability Insights

These two concepts were developed by the Global Footprint Network (GFN) and are quantified as global hectares (gha). They provide a common basis on which to compare the biological capability of the environment to provide food and meet other essential needs, versus the demands placed by human communities on these ecological services.

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8 October 2018

IPCC report: we need net zero by 2050

Disappointingly, the report does not call for action on population but acknowledges that high population growth is a “key impediment” to reaching climate targets.

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5 October 2018

Sir David Attenborough: we must act on population

Population Matters patron Sir David Attenborough was interviewed on the BBC’s Newsnight, where he once again spoke out about our unsustainable population growth and the urgent need to address it.

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24 September 2018

Ten thousand walk for Britain’s disappearing wildlife

Last Saturday, Population Matters joined ten thousand people from across the UK who flocked to London for a ground-breaking event: the biggest march for wildlife the country has ever seen.

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13 September 2018

Wildlife under threat – UK hedgehog numbers plummet

A recent large-scale hedgehog survey across Britain’s rural areas found an alarmingly low number of animals, bolstering earlier research indicating a steep decline. An iconic animal in the UK, the decline in hedgehog numbers reflects disappearing biodiversity under human pressure.

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17 August 2018

Population growth puts green belts under housing pressure

A new report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published earlier this month revealed that under current council policies, 460,000 new homes could be built on ‘green belt’ land in the UK, with 35,000 proposals submitted last year.

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1 August 2018

Why isn’t one Earth enough?


Today is Earth Overshoot Day – the symbolic day in the year when we have exceeded the Earth’s capacity to sustain us. 

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23 July 2018

Making our mark on World Population Day

On World Population Day 2018, Population Matters took to the streets of London with a truck-mounted mobile digital display of the “population clock” – global population growth live. 

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11 July 2018

20,000 scientists ignored – time for action

Last November, 15,000 scientists urged governments to act to avoid what they bluntly called “widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss” identifying population growth as a “primary driver”.

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