SPA media release – 7 billion

28 October 2011

Media Releases 2011

7 billion people now and worse to come

With 31st October marking the date on which the United Nations estimates the world’s population will reach 7 billion people, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) says this figure represents nothing less than a crisis.

National President of SPA, Sandra Kanck, says that the failure of nations to address this issue will inevitably result in catastrophe in the lifetime of most of us.

It is only 12 years since world population hit 6 billion, so this is phenomenal growth, and the UN is predicting much worse, perhaps as high as 15.8 billion by the end of this century.

It could however, be as low as 6.2 billion as a consequence of the calamitous deaths that will result from a shortage of and competition for resources. It is therefore ironic that the world will hit 7 billion people on 31st October – Halloween – when the religious origins of this cultural festival are about the saying of prayers for the dead.

At the international level it is acknowledged that we should educate women in the developing world to enable them to make informed choices about their future, but that education has a lead-up time. Even if we could educate them overnight, if these women are denied access to family planning and contraception their capacity to make those choices will be severely reduced. Most aid organisations will not provide such services for fear of upsetting powerful institutions like the Catholic Church, so we may have to tackle such groups head-on to ensure that women are able to control their fertility.

It is no coincidence that the ‘Arab Spring’ began as a consequence of shortages of bread and large numbers of young unemployed men – itself an argument against those who claim that more people creates wealth.

And at the local level, despite the debate about a big Australia and so many people telling government they want population growth curtailed, our government bowed to the pressures of the development lobby and outdated economic thinking and is now presiding over immigration levels that will see a doubling of Australia’s population by 2050.

Our environment is being destroyed by population pressures, but neither Government or Opposition understands environmental sustainability or limits to growth. They will sleep-walk our nation into disaster.

SPA calls on our leaders to show leadership, to look beyond the next election date, and make decisions that are in the interests of our grandchildren.

Further comment: phone Sandra Kanck 08 8336 4114

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