Howard/Rudd look to a future in the past (Oct)
‘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
‘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 http://www.unep.org/geo/geo4/report/GEO-4_Report_Full_en.pdf
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For further information or comment Contact Dr John Coulter, National President, Sustainable Population
Australia. 08/8388 2153 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org