population, migration, and growth. The website of Gaia Watch of the UK

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Barker, J.F. (1998). England AD 2,200. How would you like it to be? Gaia Watch.
ISBN 0-9533532-0-6. Price including postage: Within the UK £9.20; elsewhere £10.50 (surface mail), £14 (air mail).
This book was the forerunner of the following.

cover of: England in the New Millennium. Are we prepared to save our countryside?
(click to enlarge)

Title: England in the New Millennium. Are we prepared to save our countryside?
Author: J.F. Barker. Publisher: Gaia Watch. ISBN 0-9533532-1-4. A4 Paperback; vi plus 259 pages.
Photographs (12 colour and many B&W) and diagrams. Price £14 (UK), elsewhere £15 (surface mail), £19.50(airmail). Published Dec. 2000.

There are two aspects to the deterioration of the countryside - the loss of its quality, and the decrease in its total area.

In terms of quality, the countryside has deteriorated through intensification of farming practice under the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union. Wildlife habitats have been destroyed and agricultural areas turned into wild life deserts, these processes ameliorated to varying extent through special designation of some areas (National Parks, nature reserves etc.) and the introduction of agri-environment schemes.

The underlying cause of decrease in area is human population growth through the sequence population growth- increase in the number of households - need for new dwellings - loss of greenland to development. Contrary to what many people think, the population of England is projected to increase about 5 million by 2036, over half of this increase being caused by immigration.

Contributing to both aspects of deterioration is the process of counter-urbanisation, which stems most fundamentally from the desire of English people to move to more pleasant surroundings.

After a chapter exploring the environmental situation globally, this book examines the issues raised above, and looks at how recent developments embodied in publications such as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act and the Lord Rogers report may improve the situation. Use is made of the concepts of Carrying Capacity (exceeded globally and in England) and The Ideal City (improving the state of our cities is vitally important to saving our countryside). It is concluded that only radical policies will be adequate to save our countryside, and these policies are outlined.

Two detailed case studies are presented, one of an urban area (Sheffield) the other of a rural area (the Peak District National Park).

Finally, the approaches adopted by major non-governmental environmental organisations to some issues raised in the book are examined and criticised.

The book discusses the significance of some aspects of recent Government policy developments, including the Lord Rogers report and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.


The first part of the book gives an analysis of the situation.

  • Chapter 1 provides the global context for the rest of the book, detailing environmental deterioration, discussing whether or not population growth itself is one cause of the worlds problems, and introducing the concepts of carrying capacity, ecological footprints and the impact equation I=PAT.
  • Chapter 2 provides the evidence (with statistics) on immigration and population growth in England, including projections for the future, and relates population growth to the loss of greenland to housing.
  • Chapters 3 and 4 look at the urban situation, first, in Ch.3 by examining the 'Ideal city', then in Ch 4 by a Case Study on Sheffield.
  • Chapter 5 to 7 deal with the countryside. The changes that have been taking place (Ch.5) and especially the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Government's Rural Development Plan (Ch.6) are followed by a case study on the Peak District National Park (Chapter 7).
  • Ch.8 looks briefly at transport and pollution, town and country.

The second part of the book develops a strategy to deal with the environmental situation.

  • Chapter 9 argues we should develop a long-term goal vision embracing all aspects of the country's economy, society and environment, which would be centred on a desired future human population size.
  • Chapter 10 argues that for carrying capacity and other reasons, we should aim for a massive reduction of the total human population, which implies stringent control of immigration. The attitudes of some NGOs to population problems are examined.
  • Chapter 11 develops a strategy for regional development and for transforming our cities. More radical transformation of our existing suburbs than currently advocated is necessary.
  • Chapter 12 deals with the countryside. It is argued we need to re-create the distinction between rural activity based communities and urban communities. The possibility of land nationalisation for ensuring proper management is considered, as are the constraints of the CAP. A general move towards organic mixed farming and a big extension of fuel crop production are advocated. From the wildlife point of view, it is more important in the short-term to make agriculture environmentally friendly than it is to re-create special wildlife habitats.
  • Chapter 13 tackles the issue of necessary limitations to human freedoms if we are to achieve sustainable development. The cardinal principle here is that we should not insist on protecting a given freedom if in doing so we make it impossible to secure other more important human freedoms.
This diagram gives an overview of the issues disscused in the book
(click to enlarge)

This diagram gives an overview of the issues disscused in the book.

For more information please contact:
John Barker:

Please send cheques, in Pounds Sterling, made payable to Gaia Watch, to:
Gaia Watch, 33, Bingham Park Crescent, Sheffield, S11 7BH, England, UK.

We would appreciate any donations to help us with our work.

We plan to make available for sale, revised and expanded versions of essays which we put on our Analysis and Comments page.

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