This week's Radio Times has a front cover Feature on Chris Packham, one of the best know wildlife presenters on TV. Chris is not only a great wildlife presenter, he is also prepared to speak out on controversial issues, particularly human population growth as THE main threat to wildlife. Do read the feature about Chris and his attitudes, it gives grounds for some hope for the future.
"There's no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we're not addressing the one single factor that's putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other - namely the ever-increasing size of the world's population."
Conservationists have long been aware that the biggest single threat to wildlife and the natural environment is the burgeoning human population. But while conservationists such as the World Land Trust try to save what little is left of the world's wild places, others seem equally intent on ensuring that the human population continues to grow, and not only that, but they are intent on ensuring that the most consumerist of societies continue to grow.
The Human Population in Britain: A few facts and figures
- 11 million couples in Europe are reckoned to be infertile, and in Britain some 3.5 million are said to have fertility 'problems'.
- Infertility is perhaps one of the more benign ways that nature deals with overpopulation -- far more benign than famine, war and disease.
- Over 50,000 IVF cycles a year are performed in Britain alone (with around 30% success rates).
- And the 'value' of the fertility industry is estimated at around £550 million.
How much of this is paid for by the National Health Service I have no idea, but no doubt there is a significant contribution. Is it not time that politicians considered seriously the implications of not just allowing, but actively encouraging, uncontrolled human population growth in a tiny country like Britain? At present it is still actively encouraged with subsidies for children, and meanwhile, more and more agricultural land goes under concrete for roads and housing, and in turn, agriculture squeezes what is left of natural and semi-natural landscapes.
Overpopulation: Someone Else's Problem
The problem is that politicians are only responsible for the next four or five years, and the problem of overpopulation will always be someone else's problem. Confronting issues such as funding for IVF and Child Allowances is always in the here and now, and will always be worth a few votes. However, politicians should note the sudden rises in commodity prices. Food security is certainly going to become an important issue in the next few years, and if we don't want to see what little is left of natural England destroyed, what is left of the rainforests being destroyed, (now being bought by Chinese investors), then doing something about the human population must move up the agenda. And the £550 million being spent on IVF could save well over 5 million acres of rainforest.
The WLT has never been a campaigning organisation, we are doing what we are good at: helping our partners acquire land. But land prices are going up, and will continue to do so while the population not only grows, but also demands more and more economic growth. This is where you, the readers of this blog come in. Not only can you help by funding land purchase, you can think about the implications of the burgeoning human population. Suggestions as to what you do about it are welcome. Meanwhile, do read about Chris Packham in this weeks Radio Times, or read this Press Association Article. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5iVg5l7Z-y8GPCGloD7Q1J9Tir_5g?docId=N0404301301991592287A