‘Reuse Cabins’ for every recycling centre

Have you ever been to the recycling centre and thrown something away that you thought might have some value to someone? Or have you seen people throw things away and thought ‘What a waste!’?

Every time I visit I see people throw things away that could be re-used – bicycles, chairs, tables, pictures, plants etc. We throw away mountains of perfectly good items every day, how can this be happening, how can we let this continue? Why not keep them to one side in a ‘Reuse Cabin’ and either give them to charity of let people buy them or take them away for nothing.

It makes so much sense it should be rolled out everywhere, immediately. For a relatively small investment, all that is needed is a large container added to every centre where items can be stored for a short period.

Some councils are already doing this. Colin at Midlothian Council saw this as an obvious thing to do and just did it. Their Facebook page has hundreds of comments of praise for the idea:

Michelle Watson ‘Well done Colin what a great idea such a brilliant thing to do something close to my heart is reuse and upcycling x’
Alison Malcolm ‘This is great! Brilliant idea well done Colin and thanks for supporting this idea too!’
Stephanie Taylor ‘Colin is fantastic, always says hi and is so helpful, I’m so pleased you implemented this great idea! Brilliant’

Why wasn’t this rolled out nationwide decades ago? We have a throwaway society now, where some people see these items as cheap and worthless, when in fact they are valuable and plenty of people would be more than happy to have them.

Over to you Councils…. we want this done by Thursday at the latest. (of 2006)

 

Brightwells Solar Array

There is an opportunity for a new solar development to accompany the Brightwells development in Farnham, Surrey. The development currently has no planned solar provision, despite the large areas of suitable roof space and rooftop parking areas. Given the massive drop in solar energy production costs in recent years and the development of Brightwells, this is an opportunity that should not be missed.

The development of Brightwell began in 2019, so siting of the solar infrastructure can be the icing on the cake of the development and need not alter any design. To add the solar in parallel with the construction work is much more cost efficient than fitting solar retrospectively, so it should be added to the plans now, before any construction goes ahead. There are many funding options available, council, private and developer – solar is a good investment and there are many options available. The solar could also be used to reduce household electricity costs for the new housing development and the new local businesses.

There are many companies that specialise in commercial solar, such as Hive Energy: http://www.hiveenergy.co.uk/our-uk-solar-parks/working-with-you/roof-top-solar/

With the increase of electric cars over the coming years, the solar power can also supply banks of car charging points, again these can be fitted as part of the development rather than retrospectively. Whether or not solar is fitted, there will still be a growing need for car charging points.

Another opportunity is for rooftop gardens to be included in the design, which are particularly beneficial to residents who would otherwise have no garden.

With a Climate Emergency declared by Surrey County Council in July 2019, the measures listed above plus any others which may be of value, should now be included in this, and all other developments in the county.

Lego Batman is a catalyst for ADHD

I’ve just watched the Lego Batman film following some great reviews. If you are over 12 with a brain larger than a pea, don’t. It is mindless drivel from start to finish with special effects throughout so mind-bending and dazzling that your brain will be overexposed to an expanse of images that you would never experience in the real world in a thousand years, unless you were tripping on acid next to an erupting volcano. The plot is as thick as a soup made of water and one mushy pea. You come out with your mind in a fug, deflated and exhausted, realising it was complete drivel from start to finish.

So, is this a good film to take your 7 year old son and his friends to? On the face of it, it’s perfect. Lego!!! Superheroes!! Action from start to finish!! Wow! What could be better!!!!

But put yourself in the mind of a young boy, and this is like feeding an excitable, developing boy a mixture of sugar, cocaine and alcohol. Forcing him to sit still and watch for two hours while his adrenaline is released with nowhere to go but to run wild in his developing brain. This is not good for him. He should be outside, running and playing, not strapped into a chair in the dark and fed sugar. There should be parental advice not to take your child to films like this. A film should have some sort of a plot, rather than a plot created purely to cater for the effects. A film should engage the mind and make you think, and not just be about ‘action’. There is space for some fun and action, but to have it thrown at you for most of the film is pointless. It is like pornography instead of love. It reinforces all of the pathetic macho stereotypes that we should removing.

This is not a film for girls, who will mostly not engage with this action-based adrenaline ride and just won’t be interested, as with my 13 year old daughter. But it is over the top for boys too, and is a contributor to the malaise we are seeing in boys. It removes boys from interaction with the real world, which includes interaction with girls and adults, which are essential for their development into adult life, which one day they will have to enter.

 

 

A Burning Issue

Today, while harvesting some leeks at the allotment, I watched Farnham Town Council workers in the allotment unloading a trailer-full of freshly cut tree branches and adding them to a fire. Why were they doing this? Did they need to burn it? Was that their only option? I spoke to them.

The branches were from work done at the cemetery next door. In some previous years they had shredded the branches, but disposing of the wood chip was a problem. Couldn’t the branches be disposed of somewhere else? In a nearby wood? It is only tree branches, natural and biodegradable. Surely is doesn’t need to be burnt, there must be somewhere it could go. The branches are fresh, green wood so will not burn well anyway. Smoke and fumes for people, such as myself working on the allotment. Then there is pollution and the environment and adding CO2 and carbon to the atmosphere to add to climate change. Do we really need to burn it?

I left it there and went to Farnham Park for a walk with my dog. According to the Farnham Town Council website “…this green flag status, 130 hectare medieval deer park, with its impressive one kilometre tree lined Kings Avenue offers tranquility…” They have even laid fresh wood chip onto the King’s Avenue so the park users don’t have to get mud on their boots. I took a photo, above.

Maybe they could have used some of the chips from the branches being burnt at the allotment? That would have meant no fire, smoke or pollution and a real use for the wood chips at zero cost to the tax-payer. A win-win, surely?

Is is really that difficult to put two and two together?

Farnham Park

 

Do Bears Shit in the Woods?

Do you have a dog? Do you pick up their mess, put it in a bag and then hang it from a branch of a tree?…..Well someone does….

It’s best not to pick it up in the first place. It is a natural biodegradable material that will disappear as nature intended – unlike the plastic bag which will sit there for centuries.

The problem is that people have become so indoctrinated by the media and the ministry of muppets about picking it up that they think they have to do it everywhere.  In fact, whenever possible, you should not pick up your dog mess.

If you always pick it up, you’re not doing the right thing. The most annoying thing I see when walking my dog in the countryside is a bag of excrement hanging from a tree or thrown in a bush. That really is the worst. If you’re going to do that, then just don’t pick it up in the first place. You’re doing it because you think it’s the right thing to do, but you’re in the middle of nowhere, there are no bins, and the last thing you want to do is carry a bag of warm poo around for half an hour. So you hang it on a bush and tell yourself you’ll pick it up on your way back. Then you forget. Or you realise there are still no bins and you don’t want to carry a bag of dog poo in you car, all the way home.

If you’re in a field or woods, please don’t pick it up. Anywhere natural, without many people, if you don’t need to pick it up, don’t pick it up. Instead, cover it or move it from the path, so passers by don’t have to see the little pile or step in it. Dogs naturally look for somewhere suitable to perform their daily movement, and it is often on a pile of leaves or in some long grass. When this happens, grab a handful or two of the nearby leaves, pop them on top of the steaming pile and gently use your boot to press some of the leaves to the pile. Or rip off a couple of handfuls of long grass and do the same. If your little friend hasn’t been so good and has left something in the middle of the path, grab a stick and a quick flick sends the pile into the bushes. This will act as a fine piece of natural fertilizer for the land to decompose as naturally as a bird dropping. No bag required. No bin required.

If you’re in a public place like a park or sports field with lot’s of people and children, pick it up. If you’re on a pavement or a public beach, pick it up. These places have bins, so use them. If there are no bins nearby, the chances are you’re in the middle of nowhere, so you shouldn’t need pick it up. Use your common sense and ask yourself if you need to pick it up.

There are 8.5 million dogs in the UK. If a third of owners use one bag a day, then over a billion dog bags are put in to landfill every year. Is that good for the environment?

The next time you’re about to use a bag, first ask yourself “Do bears shit in the woods?

Global over-population is the real issue

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s article from the Daily Telegraph, October 2007. Population then: 6.7 billion. Since then we’ve added another 800 million.

Telegraph Article

“It is a tragic measure of how far the world has changed — and the infinite capacity of modern man for taking offence — that there are no two subjects that can get you more swiftly into political trouble than motherhood and apple pie.

The last time I tentatively suggested that there was something to be said in favour of apple pie, I caused a frenzy of hatred in the healthy-eating lobby. It reached such a pitch that journalists were actually pelting me with pies, and demanding a retraction, and an apology, and a formal denunciation of the role of apple pie in causing obesity.

As for motherhood — the fertility of the human race — we are getting to the point where you simply can’t discuss it, and we are thereby refusing to say anything sensible about the biggest single challenge facing the Earth; and no, whatever it may now be conventional to say, that single biggest challenge is not global warming. That is a secondary challenge. The primary challenge facing our species is the reproduction of our species itself.

Depending on how fast you read, the population of the planet is growing with every word that skitters beneath your eyeball. There are more than 211,000 people being added every day, and a population the size of Germany every year.

As someone who has now been travelling around the world for decades, I see this change, and I feel it. You can smell it in the traffic jams of the Middle East. You can see it as you fly over Africa at night, and you see mile after mile of fires burning red in the dark, as the scrub is removed to make way for human beings.

You can see it in the satellite pictures of nocturnal Europe, with the whole place lit up like a fairground. You can see it in the crazy dentition of the Shanghai skyline, where new skyscrapers are going up round the clock.

You can see it as you fly over Mexico City, a vast checkerboard of smog-bound, low-rise dwellings stretching from one horizon to the other; and when you look down on what we are doing to the planet, you have a horrifying vision of habitations multiplying and replicating like bacilli in a Petri dish.

The world’s population is now 6.7 billion, roughly double what it was when I was born. If I live to be in my mid-eighties, then it will have trebled in my lifetime.

The UN last year revised its forecasts upwards, predicting that there will be 9.2 billion people by 2050, and I simply cannot understand why no one discusses this impending calamity, and why no world statesmen have the guts to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.

How the hell can we witter on about tackling global warming, and reducing consumption, when we are continuing to add so relentlessly to the number of consumers? The answer is politics, and political cowardice.

There was a time, in the 1960s and 1970s, when people such as my father, Stanley, were becoming interested in demography, and the UN would hold giant conferences on the subject, and it was perfectly respectable to talk about saving the planet by reducing the growth in the number of human beings.

But over the years, the argument changed, and certain words became taboo, and certain concepts became forbidden, and we have reached the stage where the very discussion of overall human fertility — global motherhood — has become more or less banned.

We seem to have given up on population control, and all sorts of explanations are offered for the surrender. Some say Indira Gandhi gave it all a bad name, by her demented plan to sterilise Indian men with the lure of a transistor radio.

Some attribute our complacency to the Green Revolution, which seemed to prove Malthus wrong. It became the received wisdom that the world’s population could rise to umpteen billions, as mankind learnt to make several ears of corn grow where one had grown before.

And then, in recent years, the idea of global population control has been more or less stifled by a pincer movement from the Right and the Left. American Right-wingers disapprove of anything that sounds like birth control, and so George W. Bush withholds the tiny contribution America makes to the UN Fund for Population Activities, regardless of the impact on the health of women in developing countries.

As for the Left, they dislike suggestions of population control because they seem to smack of colonialism and imperialism and telling the Third World what to do; and so we have reached the absurd position in which humanity bleats about the destruction of the environment, and yet there is not a peep in any communiqué from any summit of the EU, G8 or UN about the population growth that is causing that destruction.

The debate is surely now unavoidable. Look at food prices, driven ever higher by population growth in India and China. Look at the insatiable Chinese desire for meat, which has pushed the cost of feed so high that Vladimir Putin has been obliged to institute price controls in the doomed fashion of Diocletian or Edward Heath.

Even in Britain, chicken farmers are finding that the cost of chickenfeed is no longer exactly chickenfeed, and, though the food crisis may once again be solved by the wit of man, the damage to the environment may be irreversible.

It is time we had a grown-up discussion about the optimum quantity of human beings in this country and on this planet. Do we want the south-east of Britain, already the most densely populated major country in Europe, to resemble a giant suburbia?

This is not, repeat not, an argument about immigration per se, since in a sense it does not matter where people come from, and with their skill and their industry, immigrants add hugely to the economy.

This is a straightforward question of population, and the eventual size of the human race.

All the evidence shows that we can help reduce population growth, and world poverty, by promoting literacy and female emancipation and access to birth control. Isn’t it time politicians stopped being so timid, and started talking about the real number one issue?”

Human Population Explained – Badly

Kurzgesagt’s YouTube video “Overpopulation – The Human Population Explained” on YouTube has gone viral with 2 million views.

Much of the information is factually incorrect and goes against most of the available scientific evidence. The Population Matters Charity has been working to highlight and mitigate the effects of overpopulation for the last 25 years, and it is very painful when we come across videos such as this which paint a picture portraying a world where population size is not a problem for the world, when in fact it is. The video has had 2 million views as of 24th December 2016 and increasing by hundreds of thousands per day, meaning 2 million viewers may believe everything said in the clip.

Kurzgesagt has the moniker “Videos explaining things with optimistic nihilism”, which is admirable, and your videos are excellent sources of well-explained science.  This video is particularly optimistically nihilistic, but unfortunately it is also wrong.

The beginning of the video presents us with apocalyptic scenarios of mass migration, overcrowded slums, diseases and pollution, chaos and violence over energy, water and food.

The narrator asks “Is this prophecy just ungrounded panic?” alongside the caption “The End of the Fiction Thing”. The implication is that we do not have to worry about any of these things.

To take each of the scenarios in turn:

  1. It asks whether there will be mass migration.

As we have seen for the last few years, there is mass migration, particularly to look for a better life in Europe, with 5,000 thousand migrant deaths in 2016 alone. This is set to increase as African populations increase and resources deplete.

  1. Overcrowded slums in megacities.

We are witnessing an unprecedented movement of people to cities, and now have cities larger than those ever seen before. Many of these cities do, indeed, contain overcrowded slums.

  1. Diseases and pollution.

Diseases are potential disasters for humans – avian flu, for example, and so should not be dismissed as nothing to worry about. With the increase in city dwelling, above, once diseases take hold in cities they are far harder to manage, as transmission is much easier due to the proximity of humans in densely populated cities.  Pollution is another major factor, with many Chinese cities experiencing serious effects and deaths due to air pollution.

  1. Chaos and violence over energy, water and food.

Again, this is dismissed as nothing to worry about. We have already had large scale war over energy as we have seen with the Gulf wars of recent history.  As yet, there has been limited violence over water and food. As the effects of climate change and increased population increase, these become more and more likely.

Regarding the ‘demographic transition’, the video states that countries must go through this in order for populations to stabilise. Many cultures do not stabilise and still have increasing populations despite increased wealth.

Populations of many developed countries are still increasing e.g. UK and USA.

An average of 2.5 children, as stated in the video, still leads to growth.  Saying ‘the rate of growth will slow’ is true, but there is still growth.

The video says that reduced growth is due to ‘progress’. This progress equals increased consumption, which adds to all environmental problems. The world is in overshoot, meaning that it cannot support current levels of consumption.  An increased population combined with increased per capita consumption is impossible to sustain.

The clip states that the ‘percentage in poverty is lower’, but 80% of population lives on less than 10 dollars a day with 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty.

UN forecasts of growth vary by several billion. 12 billion may not be reached, but their figures are always revised upwards.

We acknowledge that at some point in the future population will stabilise. But it is crucial that we continue to talk about population – we must stabilise the population as quickly as we can in order to mitigate all of the devastating consequences we see playing out across the world today. The sooner this happens, the sooner we can begin to enjoy life on our planet again and the sooner the environment can begin to recover. Population and consumption are two sides of the same coin and we should be paying as much attention to both issues.  Not to do so is a betrayal to future generations.

We hope we have explained some of the details and that Kurzgesagt will consider revising and editing your video.

Misrepresenting the Chinese

The UK media continues to malign the Chinese policies of managing their population size.

On Assignment, November 23rd 2016, ITV

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-22/parents-who-will-suffer-in-old-age-because-of-chinas-one-child-policy/

One year after the end of China’s one child policy, Debi Edward explores the impact of the controversial law and meets the women who now have the chance of having a second child.”

The programme was biased against the Chinese policies. It focused on negative aspects of the policies, as experienced by a tiny minority of people, including distressing clips of parents whose one child had died from suicide or illness.

This is an unfair representation of the policy, which results in the perpetuation of the negative view it has in the Western World. In the programme, Debi Edward says the policy has left “deep scars”, and has clips of very distressed women, crying and explaining their torment.

One example include a crying woman saying “It is like an arrow through my heart”

There are images of artist Wang Peng’s collection of foetuses from terminated pregnancies, calling it “a murdering policy”, further adding to the misrepresentation. The programme is biased towards childbearing, with phrases used such as ‘blossoming baby bumps’ to describe pregnant women.

The Chinese One-child policy has resulted in the Chinese population being 400 million lower than if the policy had not been introduced. This is an incredible number with massive importance to the future well-being of our planet. If the policy had not been introduced, China, and by implication, the planet would be in a far more parlous state than it already is. China has been vilified for its policy – it should be applauded. The West should apologise for its malicious misrepresentation of a great achievement.

The policy was not in any way as coercive as many reports have suggested. There were at least 22 ways in which parents could qualify for exceptions to the law towards the end of the one-child policy’s existence. As of 2007, only 35.9% of the population were subject to a strict one-child limit. 52.9% were permitted to have a second child if their first was a daughter. Ethnic minorities are allowed more than one child, as are residents of rural areas. Some cities allow families in which both parents are only children to have additional children. And some couples simply ignore the law and pay a fine for having two or more children.

Today, at family planning offices, women receive free contraception and pre-natal classes that contribute to the policy’s success in two respects. First, the average Chinese household expends fewer resources, both in terms of time and money, on children, which gives many Chinese people more money with which to invest. Second, since Chinese adults can no longer rely on children to care for them in their old age, there is an impetus to save money for the future

A small family can result in more resources for children development, better health care for families, overall better living standards. It results in an increased saving rate: the average family expends fewer resources due to fewer children. Reduces unemployment as more jobs are available due to decrease in population.

A 2008 survey showed that the one-child policy is largely popular with the Chinese public – 76% approved of the policy, while only 21% disapprove. Approval was particularly high among those with higher incomes (85%) and those who live in cities (84%). Individuals who have two or more children under the age of 18 living at home were less likely to support the policy, although even in this group, 63% approve of it.

On 20 September 2014 a special report in The Economist on global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions ranks China’s one-child policy as the fourth most important policy or action contributing toward this goal in recent decades, after the Montreal Protocol, worldwide use of hydroelectric power and the spread of nuclear power. The one-child policy is credited with producing a cumulative reduction of 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other gases.

China has become the world’s largest economy and the world’s largest source of the greenhouse gases blamed for driving up global temperatures.

With a global population heading towards 8 billion, the truth is that trying to support this many people will bring about environmental disaster. We can see the damage that is already being done by our present population. Climate change is causing droughts, storms, rising sea levels, soil depletion. Overpopulation is resulting in a lack of fresh water, overfishing, species extinction, and overcrowding in cities.

Given the damage we are causing, and the suffering we foresee for all those who live after us, having more than one child is something that none of us has a moral right to do. We have no right to cause great harm to others when we can avoid this without great loss to ourselves.

An economic system based on growth, where growth means more people using more resources, will eventually face a crisis. Changing it now, before the crunch, will be less painful than trying to do that when our backs are against the wall.

It’s new for us to think of something as immediately joyful as childbearing as harmful, and it’s hard to change our ideas when we are confronted with new circumstances. This is natural. Natural, but dangerous. We’re in a different world, a world of 7.5 billion and counting, and we need to recognize that and act accordingly. We have to pave the way for a prosperous, stable society for future citizens. Any kind of one-child policy will be unattractive, but the alternative looks to be worse.

Talks with the WWF about overpopulation

A  positive step forward for the environment at the WWF headquaters on 14th October 2016 to talk about overpopulation. Representatives from Population Matters local groups attended a climate change event hosted by the Woking Speak-up. A substantial 9-person PM contingent arrived at the event brimming with information and detailed knowledge of population for the public and the WWF to listen to. The panel were Rebecca Williams from WWF, Sean Rendell from Woking Borough Council, Billie Anderson from Woking Fairtrade and Jonathan Lord, MP.

By the end of the evening our message had been listened to by everyone at the event, which was well received by the WWF. After speaking to WWF staff, they have welcomed the proposal for Population Matters to come and talk to the WWF further about population matters. We look forward to talking further.

The letter below was handed out to key WWF personnel:

Population Matters
Guildford & Reading Groups
www.populationmatters.org
jonausten@hotmail.co.uk
M. 0777 5768723

14th October 2016

We are joining the Woking Speak Up event today at the Living Planet Centre to bring your attention to WWF’s silence on human overpopulation, which is a fundamental cause of wildlife loss.

We are aware that the subject may be a challenge to talk about, but it is our duty to protect the natural world, and overpopulation is the root cause of most environmental issues. As members of the Population Matters charity we are requesting that the WWF review its policies concerning the effects of increasing human numbers in time for the forthcoming Living Planet Report.

The 180-page Living Planet Report from 2014 says:
With another 2.4 billion people to be added to the human population by 2050, the challenge of providing everyone with the food, water and energy they need is already a daunting prospect. Unless we take significant steps to reduce the pressures we are placing on the planet’s climate and natural processes, it could prove impossible”

All of the WWFs causes would be helped if the human population stabilised, yet there is no mention of these benefits, which are very easily achieved through family planning and education.

WWF Founder Sir Peter Scott:
You know, when we started the World Wildlife Fund its objective was to save endangered species from extinction, and I am now near the end of my career and we have failed completely. We haven’t saved a single endangered species. And if we’d put all that money we had collected into condoms, we might have done some good.’

WWF Ambassador Sir David Attenborough, who opened the Living Planet Centre in 2013:
All environmental problems become harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people”

The WWF could directly address human overpopulation by campaigning for, and providing, access to family planning and education alongside all of its campaigns.

We hope for a positive change in direction for the World Wildlife Fund and would welcome further discussions with you.

Sincerely

Jon Austen,
On behalf of Population Matters, Reading and Guildford groups.”

The letter was distributed to:
Event Host, Rebecca Williams
Mr Naussbaum, ceo
Political Media Relations Manager, Oliver Fry
Press Office manager, Ms Mason
Acting Chief Executive,  Glyn Davies
Executive Director of Communications & Fundraising , Ali Lucas
Acting Executive Director of Global Programmes, Mike Barrett
Executive Director of Operations , Robert Hardy
Campaigns Manager, WWF-UK, Yael Rosenfeld

and Trustees:
Andrew Cahn (Chair)
Jane Cotton
Michael Dixon
Natalie Gross
Ila Kasem
Georgina Mace
David Phillips (Honorary Treasurer)
Richard Sambrook
Mark Richardson
Malcolm Press

img_20161014_185916
Eric Rimmer and Bill Dowling talk to WWF staff, Campaign Executive Ollie Wilson  and Bernadette Fischler, adviser to the CEO,  about our work.

The 2016 Living Planet Report is about to be released. Will there be any mention of human numbers, or will it be the elephant in the room yet again?

A glimmer of hope for the WWF is the appointment of its new Chief Executive, Tanya Steele, who takes the helm officially on 1st January. Tanya’s previous position was Interim Chief Executive of Save The Children, which has a much better record than the WWF in recognising the environmental and human benefits of universal access to family planning.

The WWF, as a pre-eminent worldwide charity, must acknowledge that we have the duty to look after the planet by considering how many people the world can hold and recognise that any increase in human population directly, and negatively, impacts endangered species.

PM attendance was organised by Bill Dowling.  PM supporters attending were Jon Austen (post author), Eric Rimmer, Dorothy August, John Charnock-Wilson, Peter Bloyce, David Hepper, Hazel Prowse  and others.

The Wrongheaded Wildlife Fund

The WWF is a global brand whose mission is to save wildlife, but it is trying to fix a problem without addressing at the root cause, human overpopulation.

The WWF is a great charitable organisation doing fantastic work raising awareness and acting to save wildlife throughout the world. But it is fighting a battle it cannot win. It is not addressing or acknowledging the fundamental cause. This is the equivalent of saving all the furniture in a house with a hole in the roof and covering each piece with a plastic sheet, whilst not thinking of fixing the hole in the roof itself. Or using pots and pans from around the house to save all the water from an overflowing bath without turning the taps off first.

A real example of this is the tiger in India. Today there are fewer than 1,800 tigers in India according to the Wildlife Protection Society of India. This is a critically low number, while the number of people in India is 1.25 billion and growing by over 40,000 – per day. That is half a million people per tiger. If you switch the figures around, would the human be considered endangered if there were 1,800 humans and over a billion tigers? The difficulty in saving the wild tigers arises when a growing human population takes the land used in the tiger’s habitat. The local population will do anything it can to protect its families from the penned-in tiger which is looking for food for its own cubs. Unfortunately the tiger will inevitably lose. We are so accustomed to our massive numbers that we can’t see the what we’re doing – it is just business as usual.

This scenario is played out in myriad situations affecting thousands of species throughout the world. The tiger receives more coverage than the toad, but the toad is suffering just the same. In all cases, it is the growth in human numbers, and their consumption of resources, which has caused the problem.

The planet’s environment is in a crisis like never before. Humans are destroying wildlife at an unprecedented rate, with the Sixth Extinction in full swing, right now. We are sitting back and watching it happen in front of our eyes. When a species becomes extinct, that’s it, it’s gone forever. Millions of years of evolution creating incredible, beautiful animals which we are wiping off the face of the planet in order to mine some fuel to heat our homes.

The WWF’s 180 page Living Planet Report from 2014 states:

With another 2.4 billion people to be added to the human population by 2050, the challenge of providing everyone with the food, water and energy they need is already a daunting prospect. Unless we take significant steps to reduce the pressures we are placing on the planet’s climate and natural processes, it could prove impossible”

A first step to reduce these pressures would be to promote awareness of the benefits of smaller families, which the WWF isn’t doing.

WWF Founder Sir Peter Scott said:

‘You know, when we started the World Wildlife Fund its objective was to save endangered species from extinction, and I am now near the end of my career and we have failed completely. We haven’t saved a single endangered species. And if we’d put all that money we had collected into condoms, we might have done some good.’

WWF Ambassador and Population Matters patron, Sir David Attenborough:

All environmental problems become harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people”

Given the above statements, why isn’t the WWF talking about human numbers, surely it should be? Or would it rather keep away from adverse publicity and let the natural world suffer as a consequence? If the WWF doesn’t recognise that overpopulation is an issue we should be talking about, what hope is there that anyone else will?

The WWF, as a pre-eminent worldwide charity, must acknowledge that we have the duty to look after the planet by considering how many people the world can hold and recognise that any increase in human population directly, and negatively, affects endangered species.

I hope the WWF will soon be helping communities to recover their lost environment through education and promotion of responsible family sizes as part of its policy.