2 February 2024

Florence Blondel from Population Matters interviewed for SPA Newsletter


Sustainable Population Australia is very impressed by the achievements of Population Matters (PM).  While based in the UK,  it is a truly international organisation which has become a world leader when it comes to campaigning for global population sustainability.

We were delighted when PM agreed to be profiled for SPA’s  Newsletter Feb 24 edition.    We had the pleasure of interviewing Florence Blondel,  Content and Campaigns Specicalist at PM.  Florence took the time out to answer our questions for the Newsletter.  We were unable to fit the whole interview into the Newsletter,  so we reproduce in full below.



SPA: Florence, tell us a little about yourself, including your role at Population Matters and your values and passions.

My role involves a diverse set of responsibilities, including campaign development, content creation, stakeholder engagement, relationship building, representation, and support for various aspects of Population Matters’ (PM) initiatives.

While I am passionate about various causes, my focus is particularly on issues such as menstruation, bodily autonomy for girls and women, environmental well-being, and the transition in fertility levels (the decline from high fertility rates). Hailing from Uganda and being part of a large, polygamous family, I share a commonality with many in my country, contributing to the high fertility rates and one of the world’s fastest population growth rates. While Uganda’s contribution to the climate crisis may not be substantial, we are rapidly depleting our natural resources. I am eager to witness a reduction in these rates and PM’s ‘small families’ campaign has been a favourite. A fall is possible. It has happened elsewhere. This indicates the potential for implementing measures or experiencing societal changes that contribute to a reduction in fertility rates, mirroring successful occurrences in countries such as Thailand.


Graphic courtesy of Population Matters


SPA: Why is population sustainability and important issues for Population Matters, and for you personally?

It’s for people and planet.

A growing population puts increased pressure on the environment, increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related challenges. More people result in higher consumption levels, increased demand for resources, and greater waste generation. Additionally, natural habitats are often compromised or lost leading to a decline in biodiversity. The increased demands for resources such as water, land, and energy puts strain on finite resources, leading to depletion and potential conflicts over access. PM advocates for strategies that promote sustainable population and emphasises the importance of achieving a balance between human needs and environmental sustainability to mitigate the impact on the planet. More importantly, PM advocates for voluntary, rights-based approaches that prioritise education, empowerment, and choice for girls and women. This matters personally to me as girls and women benefit a lot from a sustainable population which can only happen through the approaches we campaign for. These approaches support social/gender equality, health, and economic stability.


SPA: PM is seen by many as standard bearers within the population sustainability movement, in terms of organisation size, professionalism and outreach.  What do you believe PM ‘gets right’ with regard to messaging, campaign success, etc.?

PM works with partners globally to achieve a sustainable human population through a voluntary, rights-based framing. That is one which prioritises education, empowerment, and choice for girls and women, for the greater good and wellbeing of people and planet. Many of our partners share the same commitment. In terms of what we get right, all the information we provide is grounded in factual evidence derived from scientific research and other fact-based studies. We also commission independent research and make dedicated efforts to translate this information into easily understandable content for diverse audiences, including policymakers, through our campaigns and communications. Our overarching message consistently revolves around the interconnectedness of population growth, poverty, environmental impact, consumption, and women’s rights. Recently, we featured a series highlighting some of our staff members, showcasing their passion and professionalism in addressing these critical issues.


Population Matters campaigns


SPA:  Population groups are often criticised for prioritising population over (say) consumption.  We observe that some of PM’s recent messaging is explicit in bridging this perceived gap with a focus on consumption within richer countries.  Would you like to expand on this, further how PM addresses the usual criticisms on population? 

We see the need to address population, environmental issues and changing consumption habits as vital. Our consumption campaign aims to disrupt the norm and stimulate critical reflection on the impact of our choices. By consistently addressing the insanity of overconsumption, we strive to foster a culture of responsible consumer behaviour that transcends individual purchases and resonates with a broader commitment to environmental stewardship.

However, while it is evident that a shift in our consumption patterns is crucial, the challenge lies in the fact that the continued addition of consumers exacerbates the problems stemming from unsustainable practices. It is a reality that hundreds of millions of people are undeniably entitled to enhance their quality of life by consuming more as they transition out of poverty. In low and middle-income countries, consumption levels are relatively lower, but they are on the rise with improvements in the standard of living. Unfortunately, the collective consequence of an increasing global population is a heightened strain on our natural resources.

It becomes especially crucial for those of us in affluent societies to adopt more sustainable lifestyles, both at the societal and individual levels. Simultaneously, preventing the addition of more consumers to the global population is another vital strategy to curtail our overall consumption. This stance is clearly articulated and emphasized on our Mythbusting page on the website. By acknowledging the interconnectedness of consumption, population growth, and environmental impact, we stand firm in advocating for a holistic approach to achieve a more sustainable and balanced world.


SPA: What have been some recent PM campaign highlights for you?  What can we anticipate from PM in 2024?

This year, our agenda is quite extensive. We are initiating discussions on population dynamics with partners in Nigeria, which follows a successful ‘Population Conversation’ in Kenya in 2022, which is generating further action which we’ll be reporting on soon. . This ‘Population Conversation’ is part of our going global strategy – we’re also discussing some promising projects with partners in India. Our participation in the 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) and 57th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD57) is imminent, and soon after, we will be actively involved in World Population Day events in July. The ongoing recognition of Change Champions through our awards on the day remains a pivotal aspect of our endeavors. Of utmost significance is the remarkable progress of our grassroots project, Empower to Plan, which continues to grow in influence and impact, so many wonderful partners to keep an eye on. We will advance the education of the public in issues relating to human population worldwide & its impact on sustainability​.


SPA: Why do you believe it is important for like-minded organisations to collaborate? How can SPA members keep informed of PM campaign and be further involved and support PM, despite the geographical distance between UK and Australia?

In the current climate, the importance of collaboration is greater than ever, and we appreciate the fact that it is integral to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognizing the sensitivity surrounding the population issue, often treated as taboo and misconstrued by a few who misunderstand or misrepresent it, there is a pressing need for collective action. Joining forces to share knowledge and skills, tackle prejudices and conduct research for instance, are essential steps to address and dispel misconceptions surrounding this critical matter. Members of SPA have the option to subscribe to our newsletters, and for those who are active on social media platforms, you can locate us across various channels. Your support in digitally sharing our messages is greatly appreciated. We can all help to bend the population curve to UN low projection of 7.3 billion people by 2100.



This interview appears in shortened form in SPA’s 2024 February Newsletter.  Florence was interviewed for the SPA supported ‘Post-Growth Australia Podcast’  when can be listened to at our ‘Diversity and Social Inclusion‘ page

Help SPA say NO to a BIG Australia.  You can SIGN our position statement,  DONATE,  or become a MEMBER.




Scroll to Top