Editor’s Note: Following publication of the open letter below, Population Matters (PM) has provided Bright Green with a detailed rebuttal of the claims made in the letter. Bright Green now accepts that a number of serious allegations made in the letter against PM are false, in particular the claims that PM:

i) values some human lives above others;

ii) blames women and families in the Global South for the climate crisis and environmental destruction; and

iii) fails to confront the racist, sexist and exclusionary agenda of the far right.

Bright Green acknowledges that PM’s unambiguous position is that racism has no place in the debate on human population, and that it strongly opposes and actively challenges all forms of discrimination. We also acknowledge that PM emphasises that carbon emissions are overwhelmingly the responsibility of the rich world, and calls for a more just global system with more equitable distribution of resources. We apologise to PM for publishing these false claims.

We also wish to make it clear that Bright Green does not believe or allege that PM and its staff and trustees are motivated by racism, sexism or xenophobia, and apologise for the fact that the letter implied otherwise.

We have agreed to publish a response to the open letter by PM here.

As members and allies of the Green Party of England and Wales, we wish to share our deep anger and disgust at the organisation Population Matters being allowed a booth at this weekend’s online conference. 

Population Matters’ core argument that we need to reduce human population is intrinsically a racist and sexist one. Historically, it has been shaped by eugenicist hierarchies about what constitutes a valuable life, hierarchies which have led to the murder of the colonised, Jews, Travellers and the disabled. By focussing on family size, the organisation consistently places blame and responsibility for the climate crisis on families in the Global South. In this narrative, women shoulder a disproportionate and unjust level of responsibility for environmental destruction, and of responsibility for addressing it by limiting childbirth.

Moreover, Population Matters has a history of supporting and amplifying people who peddle xenophobia, racism, and sexism in response to crises of the global economy. For three years, the organisation held on to a director who advocated for the UK to stop letting in vulnerable Syrian refugees. For the ten years to 2018, they ran a project which encouraged rich donors to offset their carbon emissions by funding birth control. As austerity hit families hard, they advocated extending child benefit to only the first two children in a family. This shows which lives they believe are valuable and which lives are disposable.  

The organisation has since employed a communication strategy that principally involves denying their association with such instances. It is positive to see Population Matters distancing themselves from past positions and campaigns, and it testifies to the hard work of critics and campaigners that they feel compelled to do so. However, more is required than simply distancing from these past policies and positions, and they cannot simply be written off. Such racist, sexist, and exclusionary positions have deep roots in Population Matters’ ways of thinking and campaigning, and reactionary political forces continue to rely on their populationist arguments as a socially acceptable way of furthering a far-right agenda. It is the responsibility of all environmentalists to confront these reactionary narratives and ideologies head-on. That Population Matters consistently shirk their responsibilities in this regard is grounds enough for exclusion from our movement.

The human population is not incompatible with environmental or planetary limits: we have the ability to provide for all people the things they need for a dignified life free from want. It is the economic system under which we live that hoards resources and creates scarcity for profit. The misdirection of popular anger and attention by Population Matters and others like them has acted as a pretext for awful positions and policies, and continues to do so.

By blaming population growth for social and economic problems, Population Matters blames the victims of global injustice for their own situation, and lets the perpetrators off the hook. Population Matters serves to provide a pseudo-intellectual window-dressing for horrific policies of exclusion and racism.

Previous Green Party conferences have correctly excluded Population Matters, reflecting the overwhelming opposition to their principles and policies. We wish to restate our disgust at the fact that this organisation has been allowed a platform at this event.

Signed

Magid Magid – Sheffield Green Party, former MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

Alexandra Phillips – Former Green Party MEP for South East England

Caroline Russell – Green Party member of the London Assembly

Ross Greer MSP, West of Scotland

Larry Sanders – Green Party Spokesperson On Health and Social Care, Oxfordshire Green Party

Maggie Chapman – Lead Candidate, North East Scotland Region, Scottish Green Party

Azzees Minott – Chair of the Greens of Colour

Catherine Rowett – Former Green MEP for the East of England

Adam Ramsay – Journalist 

Benali Hamdache – Co-Chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens and Islington Green Party

Jon Nott – Green Party Treasurer, Green Party Executive

Cleo Alberta Lake – Green Party Councillor, Bristol

Tom Hazell – Co-chair of the Young Greens

Rosie Rawle – Co-chair of the Young Greens

Derek Wall – Former Green Party of England and Wales Principal Speaker and International Coordinator

Vix Lowthion – Green Party Education Spokesperson

Sarah Sharp – South West Green Party Regional Council rep, Bristol University Green Soc

Alice Hubbard – Green Party International Coordinator, GPEx member, Sheffield Green Party

Benjamin Smith – Merton Green Party, Deputy Leader of Wales Green Party 2017-18

Shahrar Ali – Green Party Home Affairs Spokesperson

Paul Valentine – Lambeth Green Party, Trade Union Liaison Officer, GPEx

Joshua Alston – Jewish Greens Committee Member/Leeds Green Party

Dan Kedem – Islington Green Party and London Young Greens/Greens of Colour/Jewish Greens 

Nannette Youssef – Green Party City Councillor in Norwich, International Officer of the Young Greens/ Norwich Green Party/ Greens of Colour

Ruthi Brandt – Oxfordshire Green Party/Jewish Greens

Faty Kane – Greenwich and Bexleyheath, Greens of Colour committee member

Carmen Legarda – Secretary,  Greens of Colour 

Rakesh Prashara – Newcastle upon-Tyne Green Party and Membership Secretary, Greens of Colour

Sam Alston – London Young Greens non portfolio officer, Jewish Greens Secretary and Haringey Greens

David Farbey – Barnet Green Party, and Jewish Greens

Kaltum Rivers – Councillor, Sheffield Green Party 

Robert Nixon – Green Party Town Councillor and South East Young Greens Co-Convenor

Samir Jeraj – Coordinator Hackney Green Party, Green Party Councillor 2008-12

Tim Kiely – Chair of Tower Hamlets Green Party; London Assembly Candidate for City & East

Martin Phipps, Green Party Councillor for City Ward, Sheffield

Amy Heley, Green Party Councillor for Preston Park, Brighton & Hove

Jamie Osborn – Norwich Green Party, city Councillor in Norwich

Peter Cranie – North West Green Party lead candidate, 2014 European Parliament election

David O’Keefe – Green Group Leader- St Helens Green Party, Green Party Disability Group

Rosemary Sexton – Green Party Councillor for Shirley West, Solihull

David van der Burg – Green Party Councillor for Haydock, St Helens Greens

Hannah Clare – Deputy Convenor of Brighton & Hove Green Group of Councillors 

Joe Lever – Newport & Carisbrooke Community Councillor, Isle of Wight Green Party

Martin Fodor – Green Party Councillor, Bristol

David Francis – South Tyneside Green Party Councillor

Sarah Hall – Green Party Councillor for Burnley Borough Council

Laurie Needham – Councillor, Charnwood Borough Councillor and Chair, Charnwood Green Party

Andy Fewings – Leader of Green Group on Burnley Borough Council

Emma Chan – Co-Chair Haringey Green Party

Tom Pashby – Co-Chair LGBTIQA+ Young Greens/Brighton and Hove Green Party

Sam Murray – International Committee/Barnet Green Party 

Rebecca Mulvaney – Groups & Societies Officer of the Young Greens, Youth & Student Officer Sheffield Green Party

Ellen Parry – South East Young Greens/University of Surrey Committee 

Adam Clarke – Haringey Green Party, Co-Chair Green Party Trade Union Group, member LGBTIQA+ Greens

Rowan Munson – Young Greens Officer at Mole Valley and Epsom & Ewell Green Party, Convenor of Oxford Student Green Party

Adam McGregor – Secretary, Nottingham Green Party

Lee-Anne Lawrance, Deputy Chair LGBTIQA+ Greens, Gwent Green Party

Chandler Wilson, Co-chair of LGBTIQA+ Greens, Nottingham Green Party

Catriona Sibert – Young Greens Exec member, Wandsworth Green Party

Peter McColl, Former Convener, Edinburgh Green Party

James Vessey-Miller – Coordinator/Chair of South East Essex Green Party

Lucy Pegg – Southwark Green Party and London Young Greens committee

Georgie Oatley – Young Greens Exec member, Norwich Green Party

Raphael Hill – Brighton & Hove Green Party, South East Young Greens Exec Member

Jack Walker – Young Greens Officer for Headingley and Hyde Park Green Party, Co-Chair Leeds Young Greens

Tom Armstrong – St Helens Green Party Officer, North West Committee Rep for Young Greens

Marcus Cain – Co-chair, Leeds Young Greens

Lottie Donovan – Manchester Green Party, Co-Young Greens Officer Manchester Young Greens

Kate Benson – Manchester Green Party, Co-Young Greens Officer Manchester Young Greens

Thomas Kiley – Campaign Manager, Oxfordshire Green party 

Alice Bennett  – Young Greens Structures and Procedures Committee Member, Hackney Green Party

Isabella Moir – South East Young Greens Committee

Nicole Haydock Bury Green Party – Convenor to the Reform Conference Voting working group

Ash Routh – Sheffield Young Greens President

Martin Francis, Convenor, Brent Green Party

Johann Beckford – Co-Young Greens and Student Coordinator, Sheffield Green Party

Peter Murry –  Brent Green Party, Green Party Trade Union Group & Green Left

Lily Worfolk – President of Sussex University Green Party

Ben Parker – Co-Convener, Edinburgh Green Party

Nate Higgins – Young Greens Press Officer 2017-2019

Alex Nettle – Press Officer of the Young Greens, Birmingham Green Party

Tyrone Scott – Young Greens Campaigns Officer, Hackney Green Party

Meg Day – Former Ipswich and Under 18 National Liberation Group Chair

Denis Walker – Treasurer, LGBTIQA+ Greens; South East Essex Green Party

Lyndsay McAteer – Leader, Warrington and Halton Green Party

Matthew Hull – Co-chair of London Young Greens

Tristan Gray – Scottish Green Party Policy Committee, Edinburgh Greens Policy Officer, and Rainbow Greens

Emma Main – Stroud Green Party, LGBTIQA+ Young Greens Co-Chair

Jane Robb – Bromley, Secretary London Young Greens

Dan Hutchinson – Former Convenor of Scottish Young Greens

Daniel Laycock – Deputy Coordinator, Eastern Green Party

Ben Saward – Oxfordshire Green Party, Secretary of South East Confederation of Green Parties

Kathryn Bristow – Bristol Green Party, Co-Convenor of Migration and Refugee Policy Group

Chris Ogden – Co-Chair, Manchester Green Party

Chloe Wilcox – York Young Greens Co-Chair + Secretary

Maroof Raouf – Sheffield Green Party

Macsen Brown – Young Greens, Brent Green Party

Ellen Lees – Oxford Green Party

Mehreen Rahman – Lewisham Green Party

Lauren Sloan – Birmingham Green Party

Kirsty Chestnutt – Tower Hamlets Green Party

Emma Teworte, Oxfordshire Green Party, Oxford Young Greens and Oxford Student Green Party

Peter Nitsche-Whitfield, Oxford East Green Party, Oxford Student Green Party

Alina Baczynska, Tower Hamlets Green Party 

Robert Crowston, Ealing Green Party

Emma Carter, Stafford and Stone Green Party

Charlene Concepcion, Hackney Green Party

Siobhan MacMahon, Hackney Green Party

Richard Firth, Central and Outer Leeds Green Party

Bethan Lant, Tower Hamlets Green Party

Rob Day – Tower Hamlets Green Party

Juliette Daigre, Scottish Green Party member

Florence Pollock- Lambeth Green Party

Sebastian Cousins – High Peak Green Party 

Joshua Deru – Oxfordshire Green Party

Lorraine Francis – Bristol Green Party

Blake Roberts – Colchester Green Party 

Liam McClelland – Nottingham Green Party

George Morris – Manchester Green Party

James Whitaker – Bradford Green Party

Ronald Stewart – Haringey Green Party

Emma van der Burg – St Helens Green Party

Kim Barrett, Oxfordshire Green Party

Owain Sutton, Trafford Green Party

Sharon Kaur, Cambridge Green Party

Devon Osborne – Islington Green Party

Christopher Hoare – Leeds Green Party, Young Greens

Christopher Waller – Haringey Green Party

Elaena Shipp – Barnet Green Party, Young Greens

Dr Sahra Taylor – Hackney Green Party, Visiting Lecturer in Political Theory; City, University of London

Rosanna Newey – Southampton Green Party

Camelia Yousefpour, Young Green member, Sheffield

Patrick Nelson – Manchester Green Party

Cecily Spelling, Haringey green party

Matthew Smith, Hackney Green Party

Rob Bryher, Bristol Green Party

Reiner Tegtmeyer – Hackney Green Party

Beth Hill – Chiltern Green Party

Grace McMeekin – East Lancashire Green Party

Francis Dickinson, Lewisham Green Party 

Connor Crowe – Brighton & Hove Green Party

Andrew Stark – Newcastle Green Party

Les Levidow, Camden Green Party

Juliette de Tosni – Tauvignon Sheffield Green Party

Sue Tibbles – Oxfordshire GP, Green Left and GPTU

Steve Jackson Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

Phil Vabulas, Southwark Green Party 

Lesley Murphy – Tower Hamlets Green Party

Helen Jarman – Basingstoke and North East Hampshire Green Party

Alexander Sallons – Brighton & Hove Green Party

Vanessa Hall – Richmond and Twickenham Green Party

Robert Shippey – West Norfolk Green Party 

Hannah Graham – Brent Green Party

Benedict Hollamby – Rother Green Party

Adele Ward – Barnet Green Party

Mark Eltringham – Stockton Green Party

Emma M Betts – Brighton and Hove Green Party 

Alan Story – Sheffield Green Party

Paul Philo – Brighton & Hove Green Party

Simon Hales – East Staffordshire Green Party

Arran Rangi- Ashfield Green Party

Mike Shaughnessy – Haringey Green Party

Charlie Keller – Camden Green Party

Paul Weaver – Green Party Disability Group

Robin Brabham – Cambridge Green Party

Neil Jameson – Tower Hamlets Green Party 

Paul Rickett – Cardiff

Symon Hill – Oxfordshire Green Party

Elaine Francis – South Tyneside Green Party

Michael Wilde – Elmet & Rothwell Green Party

Alan Wheatley, Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party

Claire Poyner, Islington Green Party

Jean Jameson – Tower Hamlets Green Party

Andrew Linnie – Brent Green Party

William Linegar – Reading Green Party

Karen Varga 

Mark Strong – Brighton & Hove Green Party 

Gray Santer – Sheffield South East Green Party

Ashley Catt – Lewisham Green Party

James Honke – Chiltern Green Party

Rosie Woolgar – West Norfolk Green Party

Malcolm Bailey – Green Left and Luton & Bedfordshire Green Party

Natalia Kubica – Young Greens, Ealing Green Party

Mikey Myshko – Exeter Green Party

Nick Hartley, Newcastle upon Tyne Green Party

Joe Levy – Exeter Green Party

Max Smith – Tower Hamlets Green Party, Young Greens

Kelsey Trevett – Three Rivers Green Party

Isabel Woolgar – West Norfolk Green Party

David Morgan – Liverpool Green Party

Aisling Kiely – Tower Hamlets Green Party

Matthew Brewin – Mid Sussex, Crawley & Horsham Green Party

Jennifer Agricola – Isle of Wight Green Party

Danielle Kail- Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham Green party

Richard Kail – Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham Green Party

Ken Burgess – West Central London Green Party

Zac Larkham – Mid Sussex, Crawley and Horsham Green Party

Sadia Akther – Queen Mary Young Greens

Matt Hanley, North Lancashire Green Party

Dylan Lewis-Creser – Northamptonshire Green Party

Conor Ritchie – Wirral Green Party

Arbie Baguios – Southwark Green Party

Rochelle Crawford – Redditch Green Party

Josie Holden Wilby – Haringey Green Party

Tabi Joy – Cheltenham Green Party

Win Scutt – South Devon Green Party

David Taylor – Bridgwater & West Somerset Green Party

Julie Taylor – Bridgwater & West Somerset Green Party

John Mullen – Islington Green Party

Roy Sandison – Rugby Green Party, Green Left

Shaka Lish – Brent Green Party

Derek Florey – East Berkshire Green Party

Jenny Hicks – Reading Green Party

Matt Hanley – North Lancashire Green Party

Tom Franklin – York Green Party

Andrew Wight – Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Green Party

Thomas Knight – Sheffield Green Party

Fay Whitfield – Bath and North East Somerset Green Party

Carrie Hamilton – Hackney Green Party 

Dennis Pirdzuns – Manchester Green Party

Kirsten Graver – Norwich Green Party

Anne Gray – Haringey Green Party

Will Vowell – Brent Green Party

Clive Martin – Convener, Taunton Deane Green Party

Lois Davis – Wandsworth Green Party

Chris Glenn – Southwark GP

Patrick Elliott-Walker – East Berkshire Green Party

Alastair Binnie-Lubbock – Hackney Green Party

Steve Lloyd – Bristol Green Party

Daisy Goodall – Brighton & Hove Green Party

Nicky Dodgson – Bristol Green Party

Elisabeth Whitebread – Cambridge Green Party

Robbie Lee – Manchester Green Party 

Jim McGinley –  Chair Wirral Green Party and Green Left

Jane Ennis – Green Party Member (unbranched)

Rajiv Sinha – West Central London Green Party

Rupert George – Green Party member

Pau Jimenez – Newham Green Party

Editors note – the list of signatures is up to date as of 19:00 on 26 March 2020. Additional signatories will be added periodically as more people sign.