The stickiest problem of all.

It’s a sticky one. In fact it’s so sticky, no government or conservation group (at least any reliant on membership revenue) will touch it with a bargepole. But in reality, you can forget climate change, species extinction or habitat loss, there is only ONE issue at the root of all those other issues: Human Population. There I said it. And to his credit, Mark Carwardine has said it too in this month’s BBC Wildlife Magazine. Even David Attenborough recognises the futility of conservation without a radical rethink on our own burgeoning population. ” I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more.” David is obviously an intelligent man, but you really don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to conclude that.

So when should ‘we’ as intelligent, responsible members of society, say something? There are 7 billion of us now with 9 billion predicted for 2050. Just half a century ago, that figure was 3 billion. Quite frankly I don’t see a human rights issue in protecting the right to breed, but I do see an issue in trying to accommodate a population that can’t be fed or have access to basic resources. So is now the time to stop worrying about offending religious or human rights groups and to speak out on what is a mind-blowingly obvious global issue?

Now before you start pelting me with rotting vegetables, can I just say that this is not about culling old people, Asian people, short people, any people. As Chris Packham has said, there are not ‘too many’ of any particular type of people, there are just too many ‘organisms’. In other words, we have to look at this biologically rather than emotionally. And there is light along the tunnel. It’s a fact that when women have access to education and family planning facilities…AND when they are treated as equals to men, the birth rate falls.

The problem is staring us in the face and although riddled with emotional and cultural considerations, so is the solution. Perhaps we all need to put our brushes down and stop sweeping this under the carpet?