Population Matters

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Population Matters, formerly the Optimum Population Trust, "is the leading population charity in the UK. We campaign to change the way people think about population."[1]


Population Matters was founded as the Optimum Population Trust in 1991 by the late David Willey, its first chairman. Its purpose was to collect, analyse and disseminate information about the sizes of global and national populations, and their relations with the carrying capacities of different countries and the quality of life of their inhabitants. It was intended that such information should help people to make informed choices about policies affecting their and their descendants' welfare. Special emphasis was given to the situation in the United Kingdom." [2] Aims


Population Matters describes its activities as to:

  • campaign for the stabilisation and gradual decrease of the population to sustainable levels by voluntary means, globally and within the UK.
  • lobby government and international bodies to increase support for reproductive health and other relevant policies.
  • engage with the broader developmental and sustainability movement to encourage them to include population in their thinking.
  • research matters of population in relation to the environment, sustainability and other issues.
  • disseminate this research to the public and interested parties via our website, through the media and at events.
  • ask individuals to consider the impact of population size on sustainability and the environment in their decisions on family size.


Trustees (2012)

Accessed August 2012: [4]

Trustees (2011)

Accessed March 2011: [5]

  • Janet Boston, TV producer, communications and international environment/development specialist; has held senior media and charity positions including CEO of The Thomson Foundation
  • Stephen Bown Professor of Laser Medicine at University College London
  • Harry Cripps, MA MSc DMS CEng CEnv FIChemE MEI, chemical engineer, energy efficiency consultant and chartered environmentalist
  • Colin Gallagher, Chair of a leading UK economic research and strategy consultancy.
  • Pippa Hayes, is a full-time general practitioner in Devon and mother of two teenage boys.
  • Roger Martin, Chair, was a senior diplomat, resigning 20 years ago; becoming a leading environmentalist in the South-West and serving on many green NGOs and quangos.
  • Robin Maynard, Campaigner with extensive experience of working for leading environmental organisations.
  • Nick Reeves, OBE Executive Director of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and writer on environmental affairs.
  • Alan Stedall, Vice-chair is an IT Director and has led a number of large-scale systems projects for several UK businesses.


Accessed March 2011: [6]

The following list of patrons is from 2011, but as of May 2020 the only additions included Leilani Münter, Malcolm Potts , Lionel Shriver and Adrian Hayes. People removed included Aubrey Manning and Norman Myers.

  • Sir David Attenborough, Naturalist, broadcaster and trustee of the British Museum and Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew; and a former controller of BBC Two.
  • Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
  • Jane Goodall PhD DBE, Founder, Jane Goodall Institute, and UN Messenger of Peace.
  • Susan Hampshire OBE, Actress and population campaigner
  • John Guillebaud, Former Co-chair of OPT, Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health, UC London. Ex-Medical Director, Margaret Pyke Centre for Family Planning.
  • Dr James Lovelock CBE, Scientist and environmentalist known for proposing the Gaia theory that Earth functions as an organism, and author of 'The Revenge of Gaia'
  • Aubrey Manning OBE, Emeritus Professor of Natural History, University of Edinburgh
  • Norman Myers CMG, Visiting Fellow, Green College, Oxford University, and at Universities of Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, California, Michigan and Texas
  • Sara Parkin OBE, Founder Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future and Director of the Natural Environment Research Council and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Head Teachers into Industry.
  • Chris Packham, Naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author
  • Jonathon Porritt CBE, Founder Director of Forum for the Future and Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
  • Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO, Chancellor of Kent University, Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin Institute, and former UK Permanent Representative on the United Nations Security Council

Expert Advisory Council

2011 Accessed March 2011: [8]


Web: http://www.populationmatters.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PopulationMatters


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About Population Matters, accessed 13 March 2011
  2. About, Optimum Population Trust, accessed April 24, 2008.
  3. Population Matters Board, organizational web page, accessed May 13, 2020.
  4. Population Matters Trustees, organizational web page, accessed August 29, 2012.
  5. Trustees, Population Matters, accessed March 13, 2011.
  6. Patrons, Population Matters, accessed March 13, 2011.
  7. Population Mattters Expert Advisory Council, organizational web page, accessed May 13, 2020.
  8. Advisory Council, Population Mattters, accessed March 13, 2011.