Population growth fuels biodiversity loss: Lowe (APR)

23 April 2001

Media Releases 2001

SPA Inc., SE-QLD Branch, Media Release

Unless we arrest human population growth, SEQ residents will continue to lose the values that they cherish warns world reknown sustainability expert, Professor Ian Lowe.

Addressing a gathering of over 100 people at the Grand View Hotel as guests of the SEQ Branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) Inc, Professor Lowe made it quite clear that population growth is the basis of many of our environmental problems.

According to Lowe, Australia’s number 1 environmental problem is biodiversity loss and this is has particular relevance for ‘mega-rich’ SEQ. “The fauna and flora of Australia is unique worldwide. We lose it here, and it’s lost forever. This loss is no longer due to the mindless murdering of marsupials or the callous killing of koalas, but to the destruction of habitat.”

This destruction, says Lowe, is due to our unusually high human population growth and associated demands for more houses, roads, schools, shops, other infrastructure and resources such as food. And, while our consumption is recognised as a major contributor to our environmental problems it continues to increase, per capita, despite efforts at reduction.

“If we have a greater population we do more damage to the natural environment. If we have more population we also put more pressure on our social structures”. And warns Lowe, social sustainability is essential for economic sustainability, a reality that planners, politicians and economists are urged to accept.

While many local and state politicians argue that population size is a federal issue, Lowe cited Douglas Shire mayor as forward thinking for using local government planning instruments to limit growth in the northern Queensland Shire.

Lowe told the receptive crowd that a take home message that could be expressed in one sentence was that: “There’s no prospect, even in principle, of a sustainable pattern of development unless we devise a socially acceptable way of stabilising human population.”

The recently elected president of SPA SEQ (formerly Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population) Mr Simon Baltais, commented that sustainability has many meanings but quite simply it means “enjoying the fruit without damaging the tree.”

Further information:

Debra Henry, E: seq@population.org.au

Press Coverage: The Redland Times


Media Releases 2001
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