Population, Consumption and Values (PCV) study group


SGR formed its PCV Study Group in 1999, recognising that population is an important component of sustainability, which can, however, only be assessed properly if explicitly linked with consumption. ‘Values’ in the title recognises that, while the evidence for a global ecological crisis has a very strong scientific foundation, proposals for its resolution are culture dependent.

Under the co-ordination of Alan Cottey, the group's main activity was to produce a short email newsletter every month until the end of 2009.

The terms of reference of the group were as follows.

-- to investigate problems connected with human population from a broad perspective. This perspective is to take account (as far as the study group is reasonably able, without diffusing its effort too much) of the following dimensions:
   -- the demographic dimension. Global and local populations at present and in historical times; future projections
   -- fluxes. Sources, pathways and sinks of energy and materials used; stability and instability of these sources, pathways and sinks
   -- the technology dimension. The scopes for constructive and destructive use of technologies
   -- the biodiversity dimension. Relation between human and other species on earth
   -- economic and political dimensions. Terms of exchange, globalisation, income distributions, nation-states and other loci of power
   -- cultural dimensions. Humanistic, religious and spiritual values
   -- psychological dimensions. Xenophobia, fear of declining populations

-- to render the above, very wide scope more manageable by developing interaction, where possible, with other SGR members and study groups with relevant interests and expertise. These exist in, for example, environment (especially climate change), energy, biotechnology, education

-- to make clear, in all reporting, what are the assumptions underlying analyses and conclusions. To pay special attention to the sensitive nature of the subject and to address difficult and controversial questions with respect for others' sensibilities but not to be pressured into silence