A Call for Action on Scientists’ Warning on Population

A Call for Action on Scientists’ Warning on Population

20,000 scientists support the original 1992 Warning signed by over half of then-living Nobel laureates, and yet our leaders continue to ignore them. As World Population Day (July 11) approaches, governments are urged to act.

For Immediate Release

Ottawa, July 9th, 2018 – Population Institute Canada joins sustainable population organizations across the globe on World Population Day 2018 in calling on our governments to take action in response to the warning of 15,000 scientists last November regarding the worsening environmental crisis.
World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice noted that runaway consumption of limited resources by rapidly growing populations is crippling the Earth’s life-support systems, jeopardizing our future. Identifying population as a “main driver” of the crisis, its recommended actions include reducing fertility rates through education and family planning, and rallying leaders behind the goal of establishing a sustainable global human population.

Following a lack of meaningful response to the warning – subsequently endorsed by an additional 5,000 scientists – groups from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and France have issued a joint statement to be sent to their respective governments, in PIC’s case to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as all Members of Parliament and all Senators.

Madeline Weld, president of Population Institute Canada, observed: “Scientists have been warning politicians and leaders for decades about the impact of human population growth and humanity’s ever-increasing demands on our planet. But the economic paradigm of “growth forever” remains unaltered. Increasingly, the question is whether humanity will control its numbers and consumption, or whether we will simply allow nature to reduce humankind to sustainable levels by often catastrophic means.”

The statement follows below the contact information.

For more information contact:

Population Institute Canada: Madeline Weld
Email: president@populationinstitutecanada.ca
Phone: 613-833-3668

Global Statement and Call to Action
World Population Day July 11, 2018

Twenty-six years ago, 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists urged humankind to curtail environmental destruction and improve our stewardship of the Earth, in order to attain a sustainable future. The 1992 call to action was titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.”

In 2017, the Alliance of World Scientists published a Second Warning to Humanity, supported by over 20,000 scientists in 184 countries, pointing to runaway consumption of limited resources by a still rapidly growing population. It warned that:

Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”

We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats.”

Their warning calls for changes in public policy and individual behaviors. It lists 13 policy measures essential to safeguarding our future, including “estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.”

Actions people can take as individuals include “limiting our own reproduction” and “drastically diminishing” our per capita resource consumption.

Our lack of adequate and appropriate action since 1992 risks condemning our children to a bleak and challenging future. The global population has grown by more than two billion people. Hard-won progress in human rights and social justice is at risk.

As in 1992, the Second Warning has not received the attention it demands. To mark World Population Day (11 July), the undersigned organizations call on national governments and international institutions to respond to the Warning to Humanity with urgent action.

Specifically, we call on them to:

  •  Detail what actions they intend to take regarding the 13 specific policy prescriptions it lays out, including promoting a sustainable population size.
  •  Endorse the Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.
All signatories to this statement are committed to the goal of a sustainable world population, achieved through ethical, humane and non-coercive means that fully respect human rights.

SIGNATORIES

Démographie Responsible (France) www.demographie-responsable.org
.Population Institute (US) www.populationinstitute.org
Population Institute Canada www.populationinstitutecanada.ca
Population Matters (UK) www.populationmatters.org
Population Media Center (US) www.populationmedia.org
Sustainable Population Australia https://population.org.au/
World Population Balance (US) www.worldpopulationbalance.org

-END-

NOTE: This statement and call to action is made with the knowledge of but entirely independently from the Alliance of World Scientists.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice was published in Bioscience on 13 November 2017, and was supported by 15,364 scientists.

Since its publication, a further 5,146 scientists have signed in support and the warning is now open for endorsement by individuals, scientists and organizations at www.scientistswarning.org.

Its action points are:

(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;
(b) maintaining nature’s ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats;
(c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;
(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics;
(e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;
(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;
(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods;
(h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;
(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature;
(j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;
(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;
(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and
(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.

The first World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity was issued in 1992.

World Population Day falls on July 11th every year. Intended to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, it was established by the then-Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. The United Nations’ chosen theme this year is “Family planning is a human right.”

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