Script by Mark Allen of Population, Permaculture and Planning and Michael Bayliss of Sustainable Population Australia.
The latest film clip by Dr Liz Allen via the ABC explains why we apparently shouldn't be worrying about Australia's population size, because the real issue is in fact social inequality. But what Dr Allen is doing here is creating a false dichotomy. In doing so she is attempting to channel all discussion on what is actually a highly nuanced issue into one where those involved are forced to pick a side.
In reality we can play a major role in reducing inequality at a global level by providing universal access to education, family planning and healthcare. That is, of course, what many people who care about the issue of population, advocate for, because this is the most effective and least coercive way to enable populations to stabilise over time.
In Australia rapid population growth is compounding social inequality, as it is a catalyst for urban sprawl and the over-priced, poor standard high-density development that is springing up across our conurbations. This has the impact of both gentrifying and slumifying communities at the same time and, in turn, it has the knock-on effect of pushing people on lower incomes out to the increased social isolation of the urban fringe.
I recommend this article by Mark Allen, as a very useful and well-written guide to enjoying activism more. I think that he has identified a major problem and that his solutions can definitely help us. I found that as I read his article, I was applying them in my head and thinking, "Yes." (Candobetter.net editor.)
The cartoon by Doug Savage is copyright and comes from www.savagechickens.com.
Some ideas about how we can reduce conflict among activists, create campaigns that are long lasting, reach out and connect with people who have different values to that of our own and work towards a meaningful shift in paradigm.
'Immigration debate is just left wing racism', according to the headline of Joe Hildebrand's latest article at news.com.au http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/immigration-debate-is-just-leftwing-racism/news-story/ee5a958fe3447e9cc247f59fdae8d344. He then goes on to assert that questioning our rate of immigration is an ideology confined only to the far right and the far left. Really? I would like to take this opportunity to re-assure readers that it is in fact a concern for Australians from all political backgrounds and walks of life and we ignore this at our peril.
Right now the UK is politically divided on whether or not to leave the European Union and the mood in many quarters is ugly. It seems that there is a very strong chance that the forthcoming Brexit referendum could swing in favour of the Leave vote, something that seemed unimaginable a few years ago. The main reason for most people wanting to leave is because they are concerned with the UK’s rapid rate of population growth. This article is by Michael Bayliss (President of Sustainable Population Australia Victoria and Tasmania Branch) and Mark Allen (Population, Permaculture and Planning)
A proportion of the blame can be placed on those who have a narrow vision of what it is to be British in the 21st century and who are often misled by those parts of the media that take a more sensationalist approach.
People often ask me why I campaign on population and the reason that I give is that it is an issue that is often overlooked by the environment movement and by the wider world at large. I feel that by ignoring this topic, so much of the other great work done by environmentalists and campaigners is in danger of being severely compromised. Rapid population growth is a worldwide issue and it is also an issue here in Australia. One reason for this is because Australia has one of the highest migration rates in the ‘developed’ world. Due to the way our infrastructure is distributed this is a major reason why an average of 1760 people are added to the population of Melbourne every week and 1600 are added to Sydney. (More by Mark Allen at http://candobetter.net/taxonomy/term/7484)
As a town planner I cannot ignore the impact that this growth is having in terms of how we can create long-term sustainable communities. This is why I run workshops on suburban sprawl and inappropriate high density and the impact that it has on our changing climate.
“When discussing population, let your starting point be about finding the issues that you have in common. It could be about congestion, climate change, loss of heritage, the list goes on. It is not about us pushing our view of the world onto people. Instead it is about helping them to see population in a new light by showing how it connects to the issues that are important to them.” This article is based on Mark Allen's speech to the Victorian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) Seminar: Attitudes and communication in population and the environment on 23 April 2016. Videos of the event will be available soon. Mark Allen started Population Permaculture and Planning. He has a background in town planning.
It is nice to be reminded about how well the past year has gone and what a great journey it has been and it wouldn't have happened without a lot of support. I would like to give special mention to Sheila Newman, Jill Quirk, the candobetter.net website and all the folk at the permaculture village at Confest (which is where I held my first workshop during Easter last year). I would also like to thank Michael Bayliss for his unwavering support.
Saturday April 23 rd at 1.00pm to 4.00 pm. Venue: Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Rd. Hawthorn Vic 3122. Members and non-members are welcome to attend. Speakers are: Mark Allen, Founder, Population, Permaculture and Planning; Dr Katharine Betts, Population Sociologist, Swinburne University; Hon Kelvin Thomson MP, Environmentalist and high profile sustainable population advocate; Rod Quantock, Environmental activist, Much loved comedian. M.C. SPAVicTas President Michael Bayliss. Audience Q&A and discussion will follow (Free parking behind venue or at nearby Glenferrie Station).
All welcome to come and join in this free public afternoon seminar and discussion!
“So, increasing the population – fast population growth and poor planning – they’re like a vicious circle. When I worked as a planner, I’d go to VCAT and, quite often, development applications would be turned down by councils and the developer’s argument would be, ‘I know, ideally, this isn’t the best place to build this development, but you do know that Melbourne’s population is going to double by 2040-something and so, therefore, we’ve got to start building high-density in areas where we wouldn’t normally build it, because, you know, unless we’re just going to sprawl outwards forever…’. But both are going to happen, so we’ve got to understand that rapid population growth and developers who are making sure that they’re taking control of the planning system - they’re intertwined.” Mark Allen, former planner, of Population, Permaculture and Planning in a speech at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, 14 February 2016.
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. (This article was written by Michael Bayliss as part of an information booklet with Mark Allen (founder, Population Permaculture and Planning) entitled: 'Why We Need To Talk About Population.' This booklet is designed to engage with a younger, left leaning generation including environmentalists and activists. It will be available at the Sustainable Living Festival Big Weekend at Federation where Mark Allen will also present on town planning and population issues. To find out more, click here.
Sunday 14 Feb 2016 at 12-12.30pm: Mark Allen of Population Permaculture and Planning asks: Is it possible to accommodate a growing population without unacceptably high density living and urban sprawl? If so, what rate of population growth should we be looking at and what types of community should we be creating? This workshop discusses the merits of village style living in combination with permaculture principles and asks the question, where do we go from here?
On Thursday the fifth of November 2015, local, state and federal representatives from The Greens launched their plan for a “Better More Liveable Melbourne” but what impact will this plan have considering Victoria's population is increasing by a hundred thousand a year (especially when most of the growth is in Melbourne)?
Mark Allen from Population Permaculture and Planning locks horns so to speak with West Australian Planning Professor, Professor Newman, over Melbourne's apartment proliferation, in discussion on the Conversation website relating traffic congestion to GDP rather than to population growth, and where the professor has suggested that increasing low cost, low quality, high density appartments would solve housing unaffordability. (If you wish to contribute on The Conversation site, please hit 'newest' on the 'Comments' section to read the latest dialogue at: https://theconversation.com/dont-panic-traffic-congestion-is-not-coming-for-our-cities-45154)