The Problem of Human Population Growth

In: Social Issues

Submitted By zinzi
Words 5349
Pages 22
Human Population and Environmental Problems by PAUL

R. EHRLICH, Ph.D.(Kansas)

Professor of Biology and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Sciences,
Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, U.S.A.

rather small number that are thought of as 'important' forms of wildlife—will have a dramatic negative feedback effect on the capacity of our planet to support human life. This is because, although politicians and laymen tend to focus attention on air pollution and water pollution as the most serious environmental problems, in fact the most devastating of all is the destruction of the life-support systems of our planet.
These are the natural ecosystems that provide us with a series of public-service functions without which we cannot persist indefinitely on this Earth—such functions as maintaining the quality of the atmosphere, controlling roughly 99 % of the potential agricultural pests, recycling of our waste products, and many other services that we cannot perform for ourselves (Ehrlich et al., 1973).
The third message which I would like to give you is that the time for research as a major approach to the world's problems is long past. If you are trapped in a forest, downwind from a forest fire, and it is raging towards you at ten or more kilometres per hour, you do not immediately convene a committee to study reforestation—you call for water. In human society, calling for water basically consists of promoting political action with all possible speed. This means that mankind will have to submit to very great changes in both the over-developed countries, with their enormous impact on the ecological systems of our planet, and also in the under-developed countries. These latter have their own environmental problems, and the unfortunate (though understandable) ambition all too often is to simulate, in the name…...

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