20.9 C
Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Population puts pressure on environment: activist

Latest News

Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

Other News

Shores United win local derby in season opener

Shores United FC began their season in the Anzac Cup B football competition with a 3-1 win over local rivals the Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley FC last Sunday.

Croquet club gets new turf as it prepares to host NSW championship

The Byron Bay Croquet Club is ready for another big year that includes new turf, hosting a state championship and building on last year’s membership growth.

International Women’s Day kerfuffle at Ballina

One councillor walked out of Ballina Council's recent meeting during an emotional discussion about speakers at an upcoming IWD event.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Motion to save Lennox pavilion fails

Ballina Cr Eoin Johnston's attempt to save the seventy year old weather shed at Lennox Head went down at council's meeting yesterday, attracting only one other councillor's support.

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

While a green economy is a worthy theme for this year’s World Environment Day on June 5, Australian governments are determined that ours will be a brown rather than a green economy.

Australia is moving farther and farther away from a sustainable future. Our total energy use increased by 19 per cent in the seven years between 2001–2 and 2008–9. ABS estimates of Economic Demonstrated Resources of black coal were 1,103 EJ (exajoules) in 2009 with about 75 per cent of our black coal being exported. Exports have increased by 50 per cent in the last ten years, increasing at 4.1 per cent every year. If this rate continues, half our black coal reserves will be gone in 17 years (2029) yet we have a government vigorously intent on exploiting as rapidly as possible not only our black coal reserves but every single non-renewable resource as soon as it is discovered.

‘A green economy will not happen if populations continue to grow,’ according to Dr John Coulter of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA). ‘As populations grow, the demand for oil and every other non-renewable resource becomes ever greater. Thus the push to exploit all resources with monumental environmental cost.’

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) says a green economy is one that results in improved human wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. It is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.

SPA’s national vice-president Dr John Coulter says an ever-growing population can only add to increasing environmental demand and ecological scarcity.

Dr Coulter says we are losing species at an alarming rate, largely because of loss of habitat to human activities.

‘For instance, there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild,’ he says. ‘Indonesia’s population growth rate may have declined to 1.04 per cent; however, with a population of 246 million, that means an extra 2.56 million people a year.

‘All these extra people have to be fed, clothed and sheltered. It means forests are cut down to grow food and fibre. It creates greenhouse gas emissions. There is nothing green in this kind of economy.’

Dr Coulter says the problem goes way beyond Indonesia.

‘Australia’s population is growing much faster than that of Indonesia. Our much larger per capita environmental demand causes population increase here to have the effects mentioned above.  The carbon tax will not reduce Australia’s emissions while our population grows.

‘Population growth is a recipe for dysfunction, not for a green economy,’ Dr Coulter says.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. So we know the problem but what is the detail behind a green economy???? And who is determiend to do anything about it???

  2. While we have an economy predicated on constant growth as spruiked by these economist idiots then how does anyone expect things to improve? It seems there are two forces pulling against each other while governments pay lip service to environmental schemes to halt the destruction. While we have fat rich mining pigs wanting to increase their wealth exponentially each year and governments kowtowing to third world demand for resources and the “jobs” mantra then what we have is a recipe for increasing environmental disasters. Coupled with the endemic corruption of Asian nations, where most of the ecological damage is happening, then it seems we are on a trajectory to doom. On top of that you have cultural and religious resistance to population control and the never ending spurious corruption of a system that sees answers not in co-operation but conflicts and wars. Those of us who want a sustainable future are pilloried as extremists and naive idealists while the greed merchants are held up as paragons of virtue and worthy of emulation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Lifting the lid on plans to build a retirement village in Ewingsdale

The letter sent to the residents of Ewingsdale last year by holiday park owner Ingenia seemed fairly innocuous at first glance...

Byron’s new road: the good and not so

After more than 30 years of talk, debate, disagreements, tears and political gridlock, Byron Bay has a new road to divert traffic from the CBD to the southern end of town.

Interview with Janet Swain

Janet Swain is 14. She’s in love with the tragic and brilliant cellist Jacquleine DuPré. But one day her mother arrives home with a bassoon.