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Population is a Profound Challenge for People and Planet, New Study Shows

A scientific study released by the London-based Royal Society finds that the world’s human population growth and consumption of natural resources by rich countries present “profound” challenges to economies and our environment. The report, People and the Planet, includes several recommendations for ensuring the health of all life on the planet, including supporting voluntary family planning.

“The recommendations included in this study should be heeded by environmental activists around the world,” said the Center for Biological Diversity, which launched an innovative human population campaign a few years ago. “Unsustainable growth of the world’s human population is having profound environmental effects, including pushing more and more plants and animals toward extinction. Population growth and consumption simply have to be part of the discussion when we’re talking about environmental issues.”

In recent years, awareness and concern about the effects of a growing population has been increasing. As environmental advocates succeed at promoting new initiatives to reduce consumption, the resulting changes are jeopardized by more and more people doing the consuming. In People and the Planet, researchers recognize this complex connection: “Population is not only about the growing numbers of people: changes in age structure, migration, urbanization and population decline present both opportunities and challenges to human health, wellbeing and the environment.”

The world’s human population has doubled since 1970, reaching 7 billion in 2011. It could exceed 9 billion by 2050.

The Center for Biological Diversity is the only environmental group with a full-time campaign highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world. Since 2010, it has handed out more than a half-million free Endangered Species Condoms as a part of its 7 Billion and Counting campaign to raise awareness about population and wildlife extinctions.

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Photo credit: © iStockphoto.com/mura

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48 comments

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4:05PM PDT on Oct 29, 2012

Why do you need light if you are blind...
the majority of people opted for blindness years ago and now i feel it is a bit too late. salvage some maybe but the children and animals will be suffering soon because of greed and power and maybe ignorance. Still we can try to salvage what we can right now.

12:13PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Anyone concerned about population growth should consider supporting Population Matters (in UK), http://populationmatters.org/ , or Population Media Center in US, http://www.populationmedia.org/

Marie Stopes International, www.mariestopes.org.uk , is also worth supporting: they tell me that in 2011 their action provided 8.6 million couples with long lasting or permanent contraception, they averted 7.2 million unplanned pregnancies and saved 15,000 maternal deaths.

Population Matters and Marie Stopes are registered charities in the UK

9:41AM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Well said Shel G. and others. Growth is the sold out politician's favorite word. The more we overpopulate the world, the more money corporations make, growing like cancers to kill its earthly host.

The fascist oligarchy is against Planned Parenthood. It wants new blood to run its machines. It plans to kill off the "unproductive" after they are no longer of use, are not suitable cogs for the corporate machines, or stand in the way of corporate invasions.

We have been systematically rendered powerless to change things by an oligarchy dictatorship, their New World Order.

Direct democracies like Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Ecuador have found out that progress comes from the people themselves, who know what is best for them.

10:08AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Shel, some people need to be hit over the head before they clue in.

10:03AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Surprised that people posted "this is old news". Maybe, and maybe it is stating the blindingly obvious, but the overpopulation issue is rarely, if ever, addressed in conjunction with all the environmental woes it creates. I think the main reasons are twofold: people, esp. public officials, don't want to be seen as politically incorrect by suggesting that maybe people should curb their fertility. Second, as Will R pointed out, growth = wealth, especially for those that own and control resources. If you own Target, Walmart, Kraft, etc., the best thing to increase sales is an ever-growing population, as it's an ever-growing sales market. However, that ignores the downsides: using up increasingly limited resources to continue this growth pattern, and the miseries inflicted by living in increasingly close quarters.

People need to have incentives to have fewer (or no) children, not incentives to breed more.

12:18AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

This report doesn't surprise me at all .........

Trees
by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

12:03AM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Well, well: the Royal Society has finally caught up with the rest of us!

10:27AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

I believe this is what Basil Fawlty once referred to as "stating the bleeding obvious".

4:01PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

this is old news

4:01PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

this is old news

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