Monday, November 17, 2008

Population: a vital part of the sustainability picture

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Excellent post over on Jonathon Porritt's blog about population, originally done for Greenpeace Business but refused because they felt it was too controversial. Below is a brief extract from it. Its well worth a read. The figures, analysis and argument are striking and compelling.

The governments of many of the poorest countries in the world are crying out for financial support for family planning, but are not getting it. The lives of countless millions of women are devastated by their inability to manage their own fertility, and hundreds of thousands die every year because of illegal abortions or complications from unwanted pregnancies. But their voices go largely unheard. On top of all that, every single one of the environmental problems we face today is exacerbated by population growth, and the already massive challenge of achieving an 80% cut in greenhouse gases by 2050 is rendered completely fantastical by the prospective arrival of another 2.5 billion people over the next 40 years.

Being food secure, energy secure, and water very much harder the higher human population is and the faster it grows. Sex and relationships education the world over has never been more important.

Great campaigning work for primary schools in Knowle and Knowle West

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'Stupid', 'ignorant' and 'inflammatory' remarks have indeed been made by some online commenters on this story about the great efforts of people in Knowle/Knowle West to stop the merger of Ilminster Avenue and Connaught Primary Schools. I strongly support locals, like Mil Lusk, who have done a great job of gathering hundreds of signatures on a petition against merger. There is a great deal of valuable community-strengthening work being done by many in Knowle West - why do people have to label and stereotype as these commenters have??

I commented online a few times as below, to support views expressed by Kerry and Melanie especially:
*I agree strongly with Kerry and Melanie. There are very strong educational reasons for stopping the creation of large primary schools - smaller schools can offer better quality -ask the private sector!! I think the Primary Schools Review that has decided on this merger has more to do with money and building houses on the old sites and their green spaces than the quality of education.
**Brian, Claude and all those only interested in labelling and stereotyping. You seem to have forgotten the hundreds of people who signed the petition to save the schools and all the determined campaign organisers. All these people are concerned about their childrens education and the progress of their community. Its all too easy to snype and be cynical.

To Martin I would say that smaller schools are just what is needed in the Knowle and Knowle West communities, as in many others. Individuals dont get dwarfed in smaller schools and personalised learning is better fostered. Relationships between teachers, parents, guardians, and pupils, as well as the wider community tend to work better, as its easier for everyone to get to know each other well and develop productive links.