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The population problem

Jonathon Porritt OBE: ‘human overpopulation’ is driving the extinction crisis
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Is human overpopulation dving the sixth mass extinction?

Environmentalist Jonathon Porritt OBE is set to call for people to stop having large families, claiming it is a driver of the current extinction crisis.

Jonathon believes the rapid growth in population has been one of the ‘fundamental drivers’ of species loss. He will make the call for people to have smaller families to stop the human population rising at the Population Matters 2019 conference in London today (Saturday 27 April).

A range of views

Jonathon’s comments will come on the back of a wave of protests across London and the world, which are intended to draw attention to the destruction of nature.

He will head a panel of international experts and campaigners representing a range of views, including Population Matters director Robin Maynard and WWF UK director of science Dr Mark Wright.

Primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace Dame Jane Goodall will express her deep concerns about the impact of population growth on biodiversity in a recorded message.

‘School striker’ and wildlife campaigner Bella Lack will also back the call for smaller families in a video message to the conference.

The global population

Since 1970 populations of vertebrate wildlife have declined by some 60% – in the same period, the global human population has doubled.

According to the most recent UN projections, human population will continue to increase throughout this century. Its medium projection is for a population of 11.2 billion by 2100.

Population Matters campaigners are calling for action to reduce human population growth by voluntary means to be included in the post-2020 Convention on Biodiversity.

Following an initial set of targets to be met by 2020, governments are now negotiating the next stage of the Convention’s work.

Human population and biodiversity

Jonathon believes the post-2020 Convention on Biodiversity should incorporate measures to end the crisis of unsustainable human population growth.

Speaking ahead of Population Matters 2019, Jonathon Porritt OBE said: ‘Over the last 50 years, human population has doubled and wild animal populations have halved – undoubtedly, if we’d taken steps to prevent that population explosion, then biodiversity would be in a less perilous state today. ‘

‘We can no longer sit passively back, treating one of the fundamental drivers of species loss as something over which we have no control’, Jonathan continued. ‘We can’t expect to add billions more humans to the planet and arrest the sixth mass extinction.’

Population Matters Director Robin Maynard said: ‘Grave news about the biodiversity crisis is coming thick and fast, and studies, scientists and conservationists are now increasingly willing to identify human population growth as one of its key drivers. It’s time for population to assume its proper place in the extinction debate and, most importantly, among its solutions.’

Population Matters 2019 – The Last Elephant in the Room: Human Population and the Sixth Mass Extinction will take place on Saturday 27 April, 14.00-17.00, at The Light, Friends House, Euston Road, London. Registration is free and can be completed here.

Click here to find out where Jonathon Porritt ranked on a 2017 list of environmental heroes.

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