No Silver Bullet for Population Issues

— Science Magazine

One of the world's oldest scientific societies has weighed in on one of the planet's most vexing future challenges: How to support a growing human population without undermining ecological and economic systems. The Royal Society in the United Kingdom unveiled its first major report on population issues, which includes eight recommendations for policy action and research.

The report's recommendations—which include calls for reducing poverty, improving education and improving economic measures to include the value of natural ecosystems -- aren't "too surprising," concedes John Sulston, a biologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom who led the panel. "It would be nice if one could produce a silver bullet, but one can't do that," he says, adding that the list "mostly reaffirms what we felt were the most important points that need to be considered as we negotiate how to manage the planet more sustainably."

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