Thursday, 17 May 2007

Population: Planetary Population Partnership

What is the Planetary Population Partnership (PPP)?

PPP is an ambitious and powerful plan to bring together nations, states and provinces in a partnership that recognises the importance of a sustainable population. These partners have in common an already relatively low population density, which they may or may not currently value, protect and fully benefit from.

Why PPP, and why a sustainable population?

Some facts:

- The earth’s present population of 6 billion is predicted to rise to 8 billion by 2025.
- In the last seventy years the global population has tripled. It continues to grow at an unsustainable rate.
- UNESCO estimates that the global population is already over-consuming the planet’s natural resources by some 30%.

An unchecked increase in the global population may well cancel out all other attempts to curb climate change and sustain human life. The issue of unsustainable human numbers cannot be overlooked in any serious attempt to protect the environment.

PPP can encourage nations/areas with low populations to attach due importance to sustainability rather than growth, and to see their low population as a cultural asset to be treasured. They can share ideas within PPP, and spread their values to other nations by way of example. A nation that is not already over-populated and over-consuming can realise sustainability ideals far more quickly and visibly than those that are. They can also learn to value their asset before it is too late.

Who would be possible PPP members?

Nations such as New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Sweden and Uruguay; states such as Colorado, Maine, Montana and Oregon; provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia.
All of these have a population density of less than 25 people per square kilometre.

What might PPP do?

1 Rethink notions of the benefit of growth in numbers and move on to seeking improvement in the quality of human life both individually and collectively as a society.

2 Given a sustainable population, pursue a sustainable environment in all its aspects.

3 Approach more personally and innovatively the global issues facing the nation’s future.

4 Create various avenues of communication between the PPP participants for sharing knowledge and information, including information about each other and their own areas/countries. This will include, in particular, good communication between the young people of each nation/area and working partnerships between schools.

5 Explore what an ‘ideal’ population might be. In the case of a population considered too low in terms of prosperity and quality of life, consider how a PPP participant can encourage population growth in a sustainable and controllable way.

6 Explore the possible significance of their sustainable populations to their economic philosophy and procedures.

7 Act co-operatively to share research and experimentation on mutually desired goals.

8 Make efforts to enhance friendships and understanding, particularly between those partners whose cultures are dissimilar. Provide professional and educational international exchange programs to this end.

9 Create and practise a shared philosophy stressing happiness, creativity, beauty, sustainability and wisdom rather than competitiveness.

10 Provide a model for other nations/areas on what a workable population is, how it functions socially and economically, and how to live sustainably.

For example

Areas with low population densities sometimes have certain common issues that they might want to address together.

For example:
- many potential PPP areas rely on cars as a primary means of transport. It is often not possible to walk/cycle from A to B and there are not the numbers to support frequent public transport. Therefore, a common goal might be to find and promote more efficient and environmentally sound ways of driving e.g. production of cars run on bio-fuels, national car-sharing schemes and car clubs, and so on. Sweden has a car industry and may have particular influence in this area.

- many have abundant natural resources. PPP participants could confer over ways of using renewable resources, and share understanding, ideas and plans.

- because they are not crowded, many have great natural beauty, and for some tourism is an important industry. PPP participants might therefore explore how to encourage low-impact tourism and develop this industry in a more thoughtful way.

- many are food-producing countries. How can they produce crops organically, and transport them without high ecological compromise?

- What would be the best way of nurturing ecological values amongst the young people of these countries so that they inherit and develop these values for the future? Are there ways in which schools can make students aware of their cultural asset (a sustainable population) and teach them how to manage it for future generations?


PPP statements are being sent to potential partners with the invitation to attend an informal, exploratory conference. The conference will preferably be hosted by one of the member nations, and it will provide an opportunity for the sharing of thoughts and possible initiatives.

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