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UPEC Board Member Profile – Doug Stark

  • September 23, 2023

I became aware of the population issue in a required biology class at the University of Utah in the 1960’s.

In the 1970’s I started donating to Planned Parenthood of Utah and Zero Population Growth, now Population Connection. I continue supporting these local and national groups dealing with human population issues.

In the early 1990’s as the conservation chair of the Great Salt Lake Audubon I became involved in planning a Population Conference in 1994 and 1995. This idea for a population conference was the idea of Chris Montegue of the Utah Nature Conservation. Environmental groups, Planned Parenthood of Utah and interested people were involved in planning these two Population Conferences. Hundreds of people attended these one-day population events.

Partly as an outcome of these population conferences, the Utah Population and Environment Coalitions (UPEC) was formed in 1998. 

It was organized by Wayne Martinson (National Audubon Society) along with Ann O’Connell (League of Women Voters), Andy Schoenberg, Jim Elmsley (Utah Sierra Club), myself and a few others. For a few years an UPEC executive director was funded by the National Audubon Society.

Important projects UPEC have done are an Ecological Foot-Print for the state of Utah, Small Families media campaign and a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Wasatch Front Counties and Washington County. GPI is a quality-of-life indicator and is an (better) alternative to GDP (Gross Domestic Product)). Also, a board member, Steve Bannister, wrote a white paper on whether an increase in population is not required to increase GDP per person. Japan is an example of this.

I am involved in UPEC because I believe human population impacts, in a negative way, all of the earth’s environmental problems.  

The good news is that although Utah has the fastest population growth indicated by the 2020 census, the fertility rate in Utah is below the replacement rate of 2.1 (the number of life-time births per woman. The 0.1 indicates infant mortality). So, two thirds of our population growth is coming from immigration. Since UPEC has solved the high fertility rate issue, UPEC needs to concentrate of human population’s impact on our environment. This includes decreasing consumption by people earning more than two times the living wage income. Consumption greatly impacts our use of natural resources and use of fossil fuels. UPEC needs to deal with existential local and global impacts of global warming and the nuclear weapons threat. Utah is warming at twice the global average. 

If you would like to get involved with these issues and for more information about UPEC or to donate, click HERE

Doug Stark | UPEC Secretary

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