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Nearly 3,000 scientists have assembled in London this week for a “Planet under Pressure” conference aimed at addressing the global environmental challenge. William Ryerson, the chair and CEO of the Population Institute, and Edwin Barry, the Director of PI’s Sustainable World Initiative, are both participating in the conference. Barry is co-leading a workshop on sustainability.
The conference, which has drawn global attention, is designed to mobilize the scientific community in advance of the UN’s Rio+20 Conference that is being held in June. The conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit that was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Hopes are high that the upcoming Rio conference will enlist the support of world leaders in efforts to address the growing environmental crisis.
Barry, on behalf of the Sustainable World Initiative, emphasized the need for the international community to measure the widening gap between the demands that humanity is placing on the planet and the capacity to meet human needs.
Also at the conference, twenty leading scientists, winners of this year’s Blue Planet Award, distributed to conferees a copy of their recent report, “Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act.” The report emphasized, in part, that:
Population size and growth and related consumption patterns are critical elements in the many forms of environmental degradation and social problems we currently face. The population issue should be urgently addressed by education and empowerment of women, including in the work-force and in rights, ownership and inheritance; by improving health care of children and the elderly; and by making modern contraception accessible to all.