Scientists Worldwide to Speak Out on Population Problem

The Global Population Speak Out aims to break down the barrier to public discussion of the population-environment link.

Boulder, CO, November 21, 2008 --( Scientists from around the world have pledged to speak out publicly in February, 2009 on the problem of the size and growth of the human population. Speaking out as well will be environmental and science writers, social activists, and representatives of environmental groups. The event, called the Global Population Speak Out (GPSO), aims to weaken a decades-long taboo against open discussion of population issues.

So far, GPSO has received pledges from scientists and others in 16 countries, all agreeing to speak out during February. Many will do so through the print media. Others are planning interviews, talks, and conferences.

Endorsers of the project include, Stanford University's Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Cornell University ecologist David Pimentel, and co-author of The Limits to Growth Dennis Meadows.

Those pledging to speak out include botanist and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Peter Raven, Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm, University of Delhi professor of community medicine Jugal Kishore, University of Tehran environmental scientist M. F. Makhdoum, and social activists Jerry Mander and Harvey Wasserman.

One of the project's endorsers, Ohio State University anthropologist Jeffrey McKee, said, “If you look at the key issues and goals of our time -- economic prosperity, clean water, sustainable energy, and biodiversity survival -- they all have a common denominator. They all point to the need immediately and responsibly to stem the growth of the human population, and to return our population size to sustainable limits."

But, said environmental writer and GPSO organizer John Feeney, “Despite its central role in nearly every environmental problem, many have for years viewed the population topic as politically unpopular. In fact, despite the urgent need for solutions, it's become taboo to state publicly that population growth must be humanely stabilized and reversed.”

He added, “Environmental groups have been reluctant to talk about it because they know it will trigger criticism and may compromise funding. Scientists have hesitated too, knowing any mention of population is sure to stir controversy.”

GPSO is designed to make it easier for participants to raise the issue by bringing together a collection of voices so participants know they are not alone in speaking out.

The project grew out of a simple idea, said Feeney. “We wondered, what if a large number of qualified voices worldwide, many of whom might not have emphasized the topic previously, were to speak out on population all at once? With any luck it will nudge the subject closer to the center of public discourse.”

Another goal of the event, said Feeney, is to bring new voices to the population issue. “This is a matter of profound importance. There are experts, such as the Ehrlichs, who address it regularly. But we need many more voices. We hope GPSO might help bring a few to the world's attention. Our hope is that after February it will be a little easier to talk about population and there will be more people doing just that.”



John Feeney
+1 303-447-0973

For more information visit the GPSO website at
Global Population Speak Out
John Feeney
+1 303-447-0973