Control human numbers or nature will: pimentel (JUL)

8 July 2002

Media Releases 2002

Humans should not continue to increase their numbers lest nature impose its own controls, according to world expert on population issues, Dr David Pimentel.

Dr Pimentel was speaking prior to his departure for Australia where he will give public addresses in Canberra, Sydney and Adelaide this week. His visit coincides with World Population Day on Thursday, July 11.

“The current world population of 6.2 billion would double in 70 years, even if a policy of two children per couple were adopted immediately,” says Dr Pimentel.

“Given that more than three billion people are already malnourished, maintaining adequate supplies of food, cropland, water and energy resources are emerging as serious world problems,” he says.

World grain production per capita began to decline in 1983 and continues to decline.

“Just in the last decade, cropland per capita declined by 20 per cent; irrigation per capita by 12 per cent; and fertiliser supplies essential for food production by 21 per cent,” says Dr Pimentel.

“In addition, supplies of fossil fuels that are essential for mechanisation, fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation are dwindling. And pollution of water, air and soil is compromising the environment and public health,” he says.

“These are significant warnings that humans must control their own numbers as a matter of urgency, otherwise nature will, through starvation and disease.”

These issues will be addressed further by Dr Pimentel at:

  • the National Press Club, Canberra, Telstra Address ABC-TV, 1pm Wednesday July 10
  • the Australian Museum, 6 College Street, Sydney, 5.30pm Thursday July 11 (bookings 02 9320 6225), and
  • a public conference on “Food, Energy and Population” at UniSA in Adelaide on Saturday 13 July, 9am-5pm. $80/$50 registration includes lunch.

Further information:

John Coulter Ph: 08 8388 2153

Jenny Goldie (SPA National Director) Ph: 02 6235 5488 E:


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