Population and the environment

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.

Hitting the Targets - Population and the SDGs

Briefings and submissions
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School children
25 June 2020

Can relationships & sex education help save the planet?

On the UK's Relationships and Sex Education Day, Population Matters Campaigner Katrina Dixon lays out why quality sex education is key to protecting lives and the environment. 

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Population Matters' response to the Dasgupta Review

Briefings and submissions

Response note to The Dasgupta Review – Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity Interim Report as commissioned by the UK’s HM Treasury.

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Sumatran rhino
9 June 2020

Human-caused mass extinction still accelerating

A new analysis shows the sixth mass extinction is accelerating, with more than 500 vertebrate species at risk of becoming extinct in less than 20 years – as many as were lost over the entire course of the last century.

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Rainforest
5 June 2020

Easing our impact on biodiversity and nature

On World Environment Day, conservationist and forestry expert Dr Edu Effiom explains why protecting biodiversity requires improving access to sexual and reproductive healthcare alongside more sustainable production and consumption patterns.

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29 May 2020

How much would it cost to end the worst gender inequalities?

A new UN report summarises last year's Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, which aimed to boost global progress on women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health. One key outcome of the meeting was its revelation that ending maternal deaths, gender-based violence and unmet family planning needs is affordable and within reach, but desperately needs more funding.

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To Kid Or Not To Kid
16 June 2020

To Kid Or Not To Kid virtual Q&A

Tune in for a live Q&A on Facebook with Population Matters, To Kid Or Not To Kid filmmaker Maxine Trump and special guests for a discussion about the path to choosing a childfree life and how it can promote global sustainability.

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Amazon River
21 May 2020

Population Matters demands action on biodiversity

To mark the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22nd, Population Matters is writing to governments across the world to demand action on human population. Our message is simple: continued mass extinction is inevitable unless we address human numbers. Our Head of Campaigns and Communications, Alistair Currie, explains more.

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Earth at night
14 May 2020

Empowerment or 'kicking down'? The truth about population concern

Population Matters Director Robin Maynard responds to environmental writer George Monbiot's denigration of population campaigners in a recent Guardian piece.

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28 April 2020

Planet of the Humans: Infinite growth is suicide

Our Director Robin Maynard reviews Planet of the Humans, the controversial new documentary produced by Michael Moore and directed by Jeff Gibbs, released on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

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