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01 May 2012

Professor helps map a sustainable future

Professor Jules Pretty

Professor Jules Pretty has helped put together a major Royal Society report looking to find a way to balance continuing population growth with the pressure to consume more and more of the world’s finite resources.

The report titled People and the planet was prepared by a working group led by Sir John Sulston which featured 22 leading academics from around the world including Professor Pretty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Environment and Society at Essex.

Professor Pretty was one of the four academics from the working group who briefed journalists and made key presentations at the policy launch to more than 250 representatives from the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other bodies. Among those attending the launch was Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP.

Professor Pretty said: “The Secretary of State was supportive of what is contained in the report. The world’s population will continue to grow for some time and as a result we urgently need to rebalance consumption patterns, find ways of creating greener economies and deal with inequality.”

People and the planet is a global report to provide policy guidance to decision makers while informing the public about the challenges ahead.

The report’s recommendations will inform the debate around sustainability in the lead up to June’s Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, as well as feed into the government's intended leadership around provision of family planning and female education to the poorest countries.

“The poorest need to consume more, while the affluent need to consume less and differently. Ultimately this is about resources are used to allow people live well and flourish,” said Professor Pretty.

The report calls for more action to bring people out of absolute poverty, reduce inequality, cut material consumption, promote voluntary family planning programmes, and increase access to female education. The working group recommended that politicians and administrators should think about population, consumption and the environment together when developing policy and more research is needed in this area.

For more information visit: www.royalsociety.org/policy/projects/people-planet/

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