Intended for healthcare professionals

Re: Schoolchildren’s activism is a lesson for health professionals

Robin Stott et al. have published yet another editorial calling for the health profession to address climate change as a matter of urgency, whilst yet again failing to include any call for a Sustainable Population Policy or a campaign for smaller families. The action which any person or couple can take which would have the biggest benefit for the planet is to have one less child (than they would otherwise have had). Doctors and midwives have a duty to talk to their patients about this.

Whilst there are 250,000 extra humans on the planet every day we don't stand a chance of reducing our emissions.

The numbers of wild vertebrate animals has halved in the time it has taken for human numbers to double.

Those of us in the developed world who choose to have more than a replacement number of children are reproducing irresponsibly. Those of us who have an easy ability to publish influential articles, but who repeatedly fail to include mention of human numbers, are guilty of far worse.

There are many doctors in "The Population Movement" who have been emailing you about this over the years and we have received bland responses about the population stabilizing later this century. Finally - everyone agrees that we don't have the luxury of time. Choosing to have a smaller family is key to living in balance with other species and preserving our environment. We can do this through education, female empowerment and ensuring that all women have access to safe contraception. Why do the BMJ and most environmental groups continue to be population deniers? I wonder what Greta Thunberg thinks about this?

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 May 2019
Pip Hayes
Out of Hours GP (Devon Doctors)
Trustee of Population Matters (Patrons include Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham)
Exeter, Devon ,UK