April 13, 2009
“I’ve seen wildlife under mounting human pressure all over the world and it’s not just from human economy or technology - behind every threat is the frightening explosion in human numbers,” Attenborough said according to a press release from Optimum Population Trust. “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more. That’s why I support the OPT, and I wish the environmental NGOs would follow their lead, and spell out this central problem loud and clear.”
Sprawl in the desert: Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.
“All serious environmentalists know perfectly well that population growth, exploding in the 20th century, has been a key driver of every environmental problem,” said OPT chair, Roger Martin. “It's a fact, not an opinion, that total human impact is the average per person multiplied by the number of people. Yet for far too long, governments and environmental NGOs have observed a taboo - invented in the 1980s by a bizarre coalition of the religious right and the liberal left - on stating this obvious fact. So they keep on implying that our numbers can grow forever with no ill effects. It's a ‘silent lie’ and by encouraging us to ignore the vital need to stabilise our numbers by humane means (contraception) before nature does it for us by inhumane, natural means (famine, disease, war) this absurd taboo betrays our children.”
Martin stated that he “delighted” to have Attenborough on board, and that he hoped the presence of the beloved filmmaker would encourage others to speak out. Other well-known patrons include Norman Meyers and Jane Goodall.
Rural depopulation to have biodiversity impacts
(12/01/2008) Urbanization -- and accompanying rural abandonment -- may have profound implications for global biodiversity and therefore should factor into conservation planning, argue researchers writing in the December issue of Tropical Conservation Science.
Continued focus on economic growth will doom the planet say ecologists
(10/15/2008) An economy that focuses on economic growth above all else will lead to "disaster", argues a series of editorials published in this week's issue of New Scientist magazine. Citing the current financial crisis, where governments have signaled their fear of anything that threatens growth by pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into failing banks and financial institutions, a group of economists question the logic of an economic system built on the assumption of growth based on continued exploitation of Earth's finite resources.
World population to peak at 9.2 billion in 2050
(03/13/2007) World population is expected to reach 9.2 billion by 2050 according to a new study by the United Nations. Virtually all growth will occur in developing countries, with their population growing from 5.4 billion today to 7.9 billion mid-century. The population of developed regions is expected to remain unchanged at 1.2 billion, and would have declined, were it not for the anticipated net migration from developing to developed countries.
Human ecological footprint to grow 34% by 2015 finds study
(02/08/2007) Population size and affluence are driving environmental degradation according to a new study published in the current edition of the journal Frontiers in Ecology. The authors say other widely cited drivers of environmental stress -- urbanization, economic structure, age distribution -- actually have relatively little impact.
Remote island provides clues on population growth, environmental degradation
(08/25/2006) Halfway between South America and New Zealand, in the remote South Pacific, is Rapa. This horseshoe-shaped, 13.5 square-mile island of volcanic origin, located essentially in the middle of nowhere, is 'a microcosm of the world's situation,' says a University of Oregon archaeologist.