Howard/Rudd look to a future in the past (Oct)

29 October 2007

Media Releases 2007

‘More and faster growth is the mantra of both our leaders. Yet it is increasingly clear that population and

economic growth are the main drivers toward an unsustainable future. In every single chapter of the

massive United Nations GEO-4 Report, released just last week and written by hundreds of the world’s

leading scientists across a very broad range of disciplines, this is the strong message that comes through’,

said Dr John Coulter, National President of Sustainable Population Australia, today

‘Population growth, consumption patterns and energy use, have placed increasing pressure on the state of

the environment. To effectively address environmental problems, policy-makers should design policies that

tackle both pressures and the drivers behind them.’ (1)

The Report concludes that the world is already overpopulated and cannot support further growth in

environmental demand.

‘Both major parties seem to believe that 1960s style growth can be maintained into the future. When faced

with the reality of rapid decline in the physical and biological environment on which human life ultimately

depends, they fall back on a 19th century pre-Darwinian belief that somehow humans can escape these

realities. They are wrong on both counts. Their policies will make the environmental situation more

intractable’, said Dr Coulter

‘The pressure from population and economic growth on the Australian environment is all too evident. The

pursuit of growth will worsen our environment and make the situation for our children more dire. Water

will become more scarce, oil and food will become more expensive, native species will be lost at faster

rates, climate change will threaten our health, non-renewable resources will be exhausted.

‘More and more growth is not necessary to secure a good life either for ourselves or for our descendants.

Nor is it inevitable. We are not made richer by the ever faster exploitation of non-renewable resources any

more than we become richer by taking money from our bank accounts at faster and faster rates.

‘It is urgent, as the GEO-4 Report makes clear, that policy makers design policies to rapidly reduce

environmental pressures and this means addressing the twin factors driving environmental unsustainability

– population and economic growth. Persistence with their announced policies of growth by both Howard

and Rudd are inconsistent with a sustainable future’, concluded Dr Coulter.

(1) GEO-4 Report, October 2007

Numbered page 34

For further information or comment Contact Dr John Coulter, National President, Sustainable Population

Australia. 08/8388 2153  Email:


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