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For Immediate Release, April 26, 2012

Contact: Amy Harwood, (520) 260-7172

Royal Society Study: Population, Consumption Are 'Profound' Challenges to People, Planet

TUCSON, Ariz.— A scientific study released today 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 Amy Harwood, coordinator for the Center for Biological Diversity’s human population campaign. “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 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 the 7 Billion and Counting campaign to raise awareness about population and wildlife extinctions.

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