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population and the left

Kelvin Thomson on defending public land (Speech to PPLVic AGM 11 Nov 2017)

The driving force behind the Protectors of Public Lands, Julianne Bell, passed away on Friday January 27 this year. Julianne was an indefatigable and tireless campaigner for the protection of Melbourne’s public open spaces. She was most well-known as the defender of Royal Park against any and all who would seek to diminish it for their own purposes, and she told me that she was most proud of her role in stopping the East-West Link, a Freeway which would carve up Royal Park in an outrageous act of environmental vandalism. She was the driving force behind this organisation and used it to defend public open spaces far and wide from all manner of threats – the Carlton Gardens, the Catani Gardens, the Exhibition Gardens, the Rogers Memorial Reserve and many others too numerous to mention – no public open space was too far away or too small to merit her attention.

Julianne worked closely with me on the problems caused by Rapid Population growth for the world in general and for Melbourne in particular. She understood that it is people, it is us, who are responsible for environmental damage, and was prepared to cut through the vanity that prevents many of us from acknowledging this. She had worked in the Immigration Department, and told me a number of times about the propensity for migration agents to tell fibs on applications, and the trouble an understaffed Department had in verifying claims and uncovering rorts.

Is ‘POPULATION’ a dirty word in the sustainability movement in Australia?

Population is a big issue happening in the world today, with our numbers having increased massively from around 1 billion in 1850 to what now looks like 11 billion at the end of the century. Right now, the numbers of the world’s poor increase by 80 million each year and the number of unwanted pregnancies are 210 million per annum. Considering that human population predicts 88% of impact to other animal and plant species (according to the International Union for the Conversation of Nature) human population remains a huge, yet very controversial concern.

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