Alistair Currie of Population Matters says we should not fear a fall in the number of people on the planet, while Joe Williams and Caitlin Robinson say population is now the least important driver of environmental degradation. Inequality is the key, says Martin Pask
It is very good to see you acknowledge the threats of a growing population, and offer a note of caution regarding the recent Lancet study, whose projections still show 2 billion more people on the planet by 2064 (Editorial, 23 July). The greatest risk attached to such projections is a belief that a reducing population will happen without further intervention, or that it is something to be feared. With more women today having an unmet need for contraception than 20 years ago, and reproductive health services, education and poverty alleviation all threatened by Covid-19, the changes that empower people to choose smaller families are vulnerable as never before.
It is necessary to prepare for a world with different demographics than we have today, but we undoubtedly have the resources and ingenuity to meet the challenges of smaller populations. The challenges of increased population and consumption, however, are even more profound, and far more threatening. Those include crashing biodiversity, hunger, poverty and worsening climate change.