I can absolutely guarantee it will be ignored by every single environmental and development organisation here in the UK – and by the Green Party.

Frankly, I feel nothing but the deepest contempt for that continuing silence.

Let me clarify. I don’t have contempt for them as organisations. Their collective contribution to our prospects for a better world is still massive. My life today (as a veteran campaigner) is still informed and inspired by much of their work.

On population, however, their continuing refusal to acknowledge the importance of overpopulation (as a critical threat to those prospects for a better world) is craven, inexcusably self-interested (inasmuch as they don’t want to take “the flak” from anti-population “ultras” – both on the left and the right), and so deeply dishonest as to leave one asking what intellectual integrity any longer means to them.

I’ve used this blog a lot (as President of Population Matters) to make the case for overpopulation being addressed with the same purposeful intent as overconsumption. That is as obvious to me today as it was when I joined the Ecology/Green Party back in 1974. (And let’s not forget that population mattered a great deal more to environmentalists back then than it does today).

We’re now entering the end times. We might just about be able to maintain some kind of “safe operating space” for humankind, but it’s now touch and go. And that safe operating space certainly won’t be available for the whole of humankind: the lives of billions of innocent people (“innocent” as in having made next to zero contribution to the threat of climate meltdown) will be devastated.

And hundreds of millions will have no choice but to move. Involuntary mass migration is now as inevitable as rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Right wing populists will flourish as they feed off that tragic demographic chaos. Our democracies will be further weakened; our basic humanity put on the line.

The failure of UK NGOs to recognise and respond to the inevitability of this unfolding tragedy is why I’ve come to feel such contempt for their continuing silence.

This is playing out in real time. The UK Government’s reprehensible decision to renege on its Climate and Nature funding pledge (of £11.6 billion) is just the latest play in a series of decisions to axe budgets dedicated to providing support for family planning, to help reduce average fertility through investment in some of the world’s most vulnerable and poorest countries, to improve education for girls, improve reproductive healthcare for women, and ensure access to a choice of affordable contraception.

In refusing to address concerns about overpopulation (to the extent of being unable to even use the word “population”), those NGOs are condemning hundreds of millions of women and their children (particularly their daughters, as the impacts of this institutional misogyny pass from generation to generation) to high maternal mortality, countless illegal abortions, chronic ill-health, misery and (in the near future) utter destitution.

So – here’s hoping, against the odds, that colleagues who I know to be deeply concerned about the inhumane positioning of their organisations in todays environment and development movements summon up the courage to speak out on behalf of all those hundreds of millions of women.

Just as I go on hoping that concerned individuals working for oil and gas companies today will speak up about those companies’ inherent immorality before they too become complicit in the apocalypse that now threatens to engulf us.

And, yes: in case you think I’m not choosing my words carefully enough, that is indeed the analogy I want to make at this time.


Silence equals complicity – on both counts.