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.

Big Baby climate change event Parliament quare
3 December 2019

Big Baby calls for small families to cut CO2

With the critical COP25 climate change meeting opening in Madrid, Population Matters' 7m-high Big Baby brought a critical message to Westminster on Friday: cutting population growth through choosing smaller families is vital to fight climate change.

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Kenyan woman with baby
28 November 2019

Unmet needs: conversations with the women left behind

Population Matters' Director, Robin Maynard, summarises events at this month's Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, and recounts his experience of meeting young women and their families in Africa's largest slum and surrounding rural communities.

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Population Matters Magazine Autumn 2019

Population Matters Magazine

Features World Population Day 2019, Population Declinism, an interview with Dr Edu Effiom and our new Empower to Plan project Jiwsi.

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Nairobi traffic
11 November 2019

Time to talk population again

This week, representatives from Population Matters will attend one of the most significant global meetings on population and development in recent years, the Nairobi Summit on ICPD 25. They will be taking the message that securing sustainable population is an essential goal and that failure to recognise this has led to the promised benefits for people and the environment being delivered too little, too late.

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Person sitting on cracked soil
8 November 2019

11,000 scientists call for population action to prevent catastrophic climate impacts

The Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, signed by more than 11,000 scientists from around the world, warns of “untold human suffering” unless governments take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis, including ending and reversing population growth.

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Human population and the convention on biodiversity - briefing 2019

Briefings and submissions

A four page summary outlining the impact of human population on biodiversity, and options to address it within the Convention on Biodiversity

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Population Matters’ Submission to the UK National Food Strategy

Briefings and submissions

Population Matters’ submission of evidence to the UK Government's National Food Strategy, 25 October 2019.

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Soil
25 October 2019

Organic agriculture could increase climate emissions without changes in population and diet

A new study shows that converting all farmland in England and Wales to organic agriculture could increase greenhouse gas emissions because meeting the food demands of the UK population would require using more land abroad.

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condom
16 October 2019

Scientists call for improving contraceptive use to fight climate change

A new commentary article published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health urges wide-scale adoption of policies that increase the use of modern contraception as part of global efforts to reduce climate emissions.

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African school kids
8 October 2019

High population density hurts child health, study finds

A continent-wide analysis of how different development factors affect the health of children in Africa found that child health is worst in countries with high population densities.

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