Update: Vermonters for Sustainable Population

April 16, 2012 • United States, Daily Email Recap

Over the next few months, I intend to send out updates from various population advocacy groups in the United States and around the world. I am pleased to start off with an update from George Plumb, longtime force behind Vermonters for Sustainable Population. For additional information, here is their website: http://www.vspop.org/

Vermonters for Sustainable Population (www.vspop.org)

April 10, 2012

Vermont, the countrie’s second most rural state next to Wyoming, is one of only four states that has a state level population organization, and has had one since 1993.

Being a rural and quite progressive oriented state, dealing with population growth is a hard sell for this small all volunteer organization but it persists and has done some unique work. Just within the last year it has:

  • Published the ground breaking scientific report in 2011 titled the Vermont Environmental Trends: The Population Connection. This was a tremendous amount of work but we did it for only $1,200!
  • Produced the creative Replace Once travel mugs and gave them out to dozens of people from all over the world and to many people here Vermont.
  • Gained acknowledgement from fourteen Vermont organizations which have now put something on their web site about population be it a link to our web site, our badge about reducing carbon emissions by taking our pledge, a few sentences, or an entire page. VSP probably has more state organizations that have linked to a population site than any other state in the country including probably the only coop.
  • Gained the support of Endow-Bio, a national environmental fund raising organizations which has picked VSP as one of five organizations to be the beneficiary of the fund raising for this year.
  • Increased the number of people who have taken the strongest pledge to live more sustainably found on Google to several hundred. The pledge can only be taken by Vermonters but among the pledgers are people like Bill McKibben, political leaders, and some of the staff from the Population Media Center based in Shelburne, Vermont. The ten point pledge includes the bold “Replace only Once” action.
  • All of the above can be seen on our very creative website. These are in addition to the usual editorials, posts, and speaking to college classes.
  • Most recently George Plumb has developed a power point talk titled, How Large Should Vermont’s Population Be? For Sustainability? For Quality of Life. He will be giving that talk at a Population Symposium being sponsored by Middlebury College and will be happy to make it available to others.

During the coming year it has set a goal of showing the new movie, Hooked on Growth, in at least ten communities and finding someone to do a YouTube video on population growth in Vermont.

Successes of the Population Movement

  • Some great movies and videos in the last year including Hooked on Growth, Caring for Seven Billion and Too Many People.
  • The free Save a Species Condom program and speaking out about population by the Center for Biological Diversity. Really wonderful and creative.
  • Several great new books on population including Man Swarm: The Killing of Wildlife by Dave Foreman.
  • Global Population Speak Out

Failures of the Population Movement

  • Still haven’t gotten political leaders and most environmental leaders to speak out on population.
  • While the fertility rate of middle income people is probably at replacement level the fertility rate for lower income people seems high from my observation.

The priorities moving forward should be

  • Develop a world culture of replace only once.
  • Fund more grassroots efforts like VSP. That is where the difference can be made at least in the U.S.
  • Do a better job of getting the climate change movement to acknowledge the population growth factor.
  • Truly bring all of the population organizations together to develop a “common platform.”

For further information contact the volunteer executive director George Plumb at plumb.george [at] gmail dot com

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