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Stable Populations: an Essential Condition for Sustainability

The speaker for the February 2014 meeting of Cafe Scientifique at The Tea Bar will be Roger Martin of Population Matters.  The subject for this month is Stable Populations: an Essential Condition for Sustainability ... "It's no use reducing your footprint if you keep increasing the number of feet".  

Roger Martin was a career diplomat for 22 years before resigning in fury as a Deputy High Commissioner to become an environmentalist. He has since served as a 'green' representative on a large number of NGO and Government bodies dealing with a wide range of environmental problems, all of which, he noticed, were made harder to solve with constant population growth.

"Three important facts, dictated by the bio-physics of our finite planet, are widely ignored: a) Total human impact on the planet equals, by definition, average impact per person multiplied by number of people; so each additional person increases the rate of ecological degradation; b) Natural resources per person are, by definition, total natural resources divided by number of people; so each additional person increases  resource depletion and reduces everyone else’s ‘share’; c) On  a finite planet, population growth will certainly end at some point, either sooner by fewer births or later by more deaths; ie through contraception or by the ‘natural’ controls applying to every other species - famine, disease and predation/war.          

This is all obvious. So in persistently ignoring human numbers, the environmental and developmental movements are telling a 'silent lie', implying that they can make the world sustainable and prosperous, regardless of how many people it has to support, when they all know it's not true. No rich country, the worst offenders, has a population stabilisation policy; and aid for family planning and women's empowerment remains derisory. I'll discuss the reasons for this 'mad taboo', and what we can do about it."

The Tea Bar will be open from around 6.50pm before the talk which starts at 7:30pm, so you can get yourself a drink and have a chat with other participants. The discussions will aim to finish around 9:00pm, though everyone will be welcome to stay around and have a chat with the speaker afterwards ... and indulge in more of the Tea Bar's delicious cakes.

The format of the evening is usually a talk of 30 to 40 minutes, followed by a short break so the audience can refill their glasses, before questions and discussions about the talk. Entry is free and open to everyone, but we do encourage you to buy a tea, coffee or drink (and cakes) at the bar to show your support for The Tea Bar who sponsor the meeting by providing the venue.

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore and debate the latest ideas in science and technology.

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  • Janet W.

    Looking forward to it as I do not agree with population stabilisation measures rather changing how we use resources and using less of them. We actually have enough land for projected population growth but not if we use it as we do today.

    November 4, 2013

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Our Sponsors

  • Active Hampshire

    Science Section, Active Hampshire Social Club-www.activehampshire.org.uk

  • British Science Association

    Funds the speakers travel expenses (www.britishscienceassociation.org)

  • The Tea Bar

    Venue for Cafe Sci talks & social events. 9-13 London St, Basingstoke

  • ActivityForum Ltd

    Use of web site and community building tool Agoria (www.agoria.co.uk)

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