Minute 36.   The 2011 Canterbury Yearly Meeting re-affirming of Quaker commitment to living simply and sustainably

Quaker Faith and Practice. 5th edition. Copies in every Friends Meeting House, or details online at Section 25. Unity of Creation.

Quaker Peace and Social Witness. Quakers and sustainability

Current World Population.

Population Matters. Launched as the Optimum Population Trust following a meeting in 1991 by the late David Willey and others concerned about population numbers and sustainability. A most useful resource for current information, news and ideas.

The Depopulation Dividend. The example of Japan analysed with reference to Peter Matanle’s article 2013.

Population Media Center. Started in Mexico.Works to improve health and well-being of people around the world using education-entertainment.  These popular soaps have resulted in substantial increase of attendance at clinics providing contraception and health care in many countries.

Marie Stopes International. Inspiring website about practical work, providing clinics, training, contraception and women’s medical care in almost 40 countries.

Example of Ethiopia, State and mosque working together.

Election Questions. See Articles,

Tried and Tested ( Writing to the press) See Articles,

2019 General Election – Questions for parliamentary candidates on Population issues

Questions or points to raise with candidates or in letters. We suggest you pick and choose your favourite one, or the most appropriate for the occasion. They could also be used as focus points at a discussion group. If there is a hustings near you they could be useful to help raise general public awareness too. These are in the style of the 2015 General Election Briefing to Friends on the Environment.If you can think of any more, especially shorter and more catchy ones, please contact us.

  1. I know that you respect the climate scientists who tell us that the earth can only sustain 2 billion humans in the western style, and has a population of over 7.5 billion now [1]. [2]. What will your party do to ensure that any strong and binding agreement  at the Climate Change conference in Spain will include measures to stabilize global population?
  2. The UK has one of the highest birth-rates in Europe. Will your party ensure that sex education in schools is compulsory, properly taught and includes discussion on family size?
  3. The UK is committed to stringent EU targets on pollution by 2020. To what extent is an increasing birth-rate a hindrance to this?   Would it not be a good idea to have similar EU targets on stabilising the birth-rate, and will your party pursue this goal?
  4. The world aid funding for contraception is substantially less than the bonus payments for Goldmann Sachs staff. Will your party maintain the Family Planning element of the Overseas Aid Budget?
  5. This planet is overpopulated with humans. The environment for all species, including our own is under increasing pressure from human activities. What are the views of you and your party on abandoning the competitive drive for economic growth and instead aiming for a non-growth economy? Will these include plans for the stabilization of the population?
  6. Educating women together with proper health and family planning policies has proved amazingly effective at bringing down soaring birth-rates in many countries, Bangladesh, Iran, Brazil etc. Will your party ensure that there is no reduction of funds from the Overseas Aid Budget for the education of women? [4]

Written by Cherry Foster and Roger Plenty, with the Quaker Population Concern Group – February 2015. Re-edited November 2019


[1] World population at 6.00 p.m. on 21.11.19 was 7,743,911 . See Home Page for current numbers and watch the numbers mount by the second.

[2] UN Climate Change talks in Madrid on 2nd December 2019.

[3] Average family size in Europe is 1.58 children (2012). UK family size has risen from1.56 to 1.84 children over the last decade (2015)

[4] In 2012 Goldman Sachs budget was about $4.5 billion. At the same time world aid funding for family planning was about $450 million