Population Matters has been conducting research and producing briefings and government submissions for more than 20 years. You can use this page to find resources on a wide variety of population and environmental subjects.
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Note: Documents published by Population Matters in the past may not reflect current policies or positions.
While waste disposal was once a local concern, today it is a global challenge. The consumption of finite resources, and the damaging of the earth in the processes of mineral extraction, pollution and waste management, transcend borders. 1
Natural amenities are beneficial to humanity in many ways. They contribute economically, socially and environmentally to our lives. Losing these free services would inflict great costs on our society.
Resources are fundamental for maintaining and improving our quality of life. Although the role of fossil fuels for the generation of energy is often highlighted, the essential role of metals, minerals, rocks and biotic materials is much less discussed. Nevertheless, non-energy raw materials are widely used.
The concept of ‘planetary boundaries’ serves to define the limits of a safe environmental space for human development on Earth by determining the risk of threshold effects of biophysical processes and identifying the key drivers that could lead to them.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is the UK government agency working to end extreme poverty around the world. It focuses on job creation, ‘unlocking the potential of girls and women’ and helping to save lives during humanitarian crises .
The first official "zero" draft of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) was published on 2 June 2015.
Summary January 2016 sees the launch of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), a set of 17 objectives that will guide international development until 2030, and the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Indonesia.
The term “demographic dividend” (DD) refers to the accelerated economic growth that a country can achieve when it has a low dependency ratio or, in other words, when the proportion of its population that is of working age is greater than the proportion of its population that doesn’t work (e.g. children and the elderly).
“The strong correspondence among emission, population, and GDP rankings reflects the importance of population and economic growth as emissions drivers.” (Climate data: insights and observations, Baumer & Pershing, Pew Center on Climate Change, December 2004.)
In 2007 the world finally woke up to climate change. It has not, however, woken up to one of its fundamental causes – human population growth.
Societies age when the age distribution of their population shifts towards an older age. This is a consequence of increasing longevity and falling birth rates.
In recent years, governments across the world have been accepting more legal human rights obligations to combat gender inequalities. Despite this, discrimination against women is still widespread, and the severest of human rights violations are persisting in many countries.
The list below shows a range of goods, services and infrastructure that play a significant part in 21st century human activity, particularly in prosperous, economically-developed countries.
In many cases, it is not obvious to the consumer what resources go into making a particular product.
Technology allows us to convert natural resources into the goods and services that we eat, drink, wear, live in, travel on, etc. It can make both positive and negative contributions to sustainability.
It is completely unsustainable for the whole world population to enjoy the high-consumption lifestyles that industrialized countries such as the UK benefit from at present.
A sustainable activity is one that is capable of going on for an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, the term sustainable has been widely abused, as illustrated by the commonly-used contradiction sustainable growth: growth can never be truly sustainable in a finite world.
There are more people in the world than ever before, and we are living closer together, with over half the world’s population now in towns and cities.