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  1. 1

    Fossil fuel depletion will reverse the population explosion [editorial]

    Stanton W

    Population Review. 2005; 44(1):[2] p..

    Empires and civilizations emerge, peak and collapse, over time scales usually measured in centuries. The rise of Western civilization as we know it began with the Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century. It is characterized by material prosperity based on the ready availability of cheap energy, mostly in the form of fossil fuels. It may now be peaking, with Westerners consuming lavish amounts of the most convenient fossil fuel, oil. Britons get through 10 barrels of oil per person per year, and North Americans use up more than twice that figure. For most Third Worlders, by contrast, individual consumption is normally a tiny fraction of one barrel. The benefits of Western civilization have spread around the world, allowing the human population to explode. It had risen slowly and painfully to about 0.6 billion in 1750, only to shoot up to 6 billion by 2000. Mechanized agriculture with artificial fertilizers, disease control by modern medicines, and the imposition of peace on warring tribal societies by colonizers, are responsible. There is usually enough food to eat, and life expectancies have risen steadily (until the advent of HIV/Aids in Africa). (excerpt)
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  2. 2

    Making the link: population, health, environment.

    Nash JG; De Souza RM

    Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], MEASURE Communication, 2002 Aug. [8] p.

    The number of people on Earth, where they live, and how they live all affect the condition of the environment. People can alter the environment through their use of natural resources and the production of wastes. Changes in environmental conditions, in turn, can affect human health and well-being. Human demographic dynamics, such as the size, growth, distribution, age composition, and migration of populations, are among the many factors that can lead to environmental change. Consumption patterns, development choices, wealth and land distribution, government policies, and technology can mediate or exacerbate the effects of demographics on the environment. The precise impact of a given change depends on the interplay among all these factors, but it is clear that demographic change can affect the environment. (excerpt)
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  3. 3

    Workshop report on human population dynamics and resource demand, 30 November - 1 December 1990. IUCN -- the World Conservation Union, 18th General Assembly, Perth, Australia.

    International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN]. Social Sciences Division. Population and Natural Resources Programme

    Gland, Switzerland, IUCN, 1991. viii, 53 p.

    A report on a human population dynamics and resource demand workshop includes a discussion of 1) the ambiguities of sustainable development 2) implementing the principals of caring for the earth, 3) families, communities and sustainable use of natural resources with examples from Australia, Korea, Nepal, Colombia, and Burkina Faso, and priorities and followup action on population and natural resources. The Appendices contain brief accounts of the preassembly meetings, the workshop agenda, a list of participants, a concept paper on population and environment links, a resolution on human population dynamics and resource demand, a resolution on women and natural resource management, a report on the meeting on future orientations of The World Conservation Union's "women and the natural resource management program," and a list of papers available on request. Ambiguities pointed out, for example, by Dr. van den Oever were that population growth, which is a demographic phenomena, needs to be considered separately from resource consumption at high levels. Another distinction was made between decreasing the rate of population growth and stopping population growth entirely. Stable populations continue to grow until they become stationary. Another distinction was made between the demographic data available and the lack of similar data on natural resources such as trees, plants, or animals. Another, discussant, Professor Malin Falkenmark, noted the lack of attention paid to the single most important resource to sustain life, water. In order to implement principles of caring for the earth, universities and students must become more involved in advocacy and in the real world. Policy decisions are difficult to make in Pakistan. Americans think that their own over-consumption needs to be checked before they can interfere in developing countries. The priorities are population growth, dealing with the inequities between rich and poor, resource consumption, and not ignoring the southern developing countries while eastern Europe currently receives attention.
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  4. 4

    Economic crisis and population.

    Kim SG; Ravi V

    In: The Fifteenth Asian Parliamentarians' Meeting on Population and Development, Seoul, Republic of Korea, April 18-19, 1999, [compiled by] Asian Population and Development Association. [Tokyo, Japan], Asian Population and Development Association [APDA], 1999. 105-9.

    Vayalar Ravi, a delegate from India discusses the impact of growing population on the global economy and environment during the 15th Asian Parliamentarians' Meeting on Population and Development held in Seoul, Korea, on April 18-19, 1999. Specifically, he focuses on issues concerning 1) trends in population in the world, 2) the asymmetry of world population distribution, 3) the glaring imbalances between the low-income and middle-income countries’ populations and land areas. He explained the impact of ever expanding consumption on the environment and on poor countries, and ironically poor people and poor countries bear the costs of unequal consumption. Lastly, he suggested several measures for the efficacy of the Asian Confederation.
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  5. 5

    6,000,000,000 consumption machines.

    Hinrichsen D

    INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE. 1999 Sep-Oct; 22-9.

    Human activities caused by population growth and consumption patterns are taking a heavy toll on the Earth's life-support systems as well as on Earth's other species, which are disappearing at record rates as human numbers rise. It has been reported that sometime on October 12, 1999, the 6 billionth human will be born on the planet. This report looks at the collective effect of 6 billion consumption machines on six aspects of the natural world. These include water, forest, air, soil, oceans, and animals. All these resources are projected to deplete substantially and quantifiably in the next years to come, adding to the ongoing degradation of the Earth's natural system happening today. Factors contributing to the drastic increase of exhaustion include population growth and the increasing demands of humans for such expedients. However, successful initiatives are being promoted and undertaken in some countries which could help stabilize the level of consumption of global resources.
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  6. 6

    Forest futures: population, consumption and wood resources.

    Gardner-Outlaw T; Engelman R

    Washington, D.C., Population Action International, 1999. 67 p.

    Forest Futures: Population, Consumption and Wood Resources is one of a series of reports on population and critical natural resources released by the Population Action International. Its aim is to go beyond a simple review of the debate on population and forest decline, and to envision the positive future that sound population policies make possible for forests and those who depend on them. It considers the linkage between population policies and forest resource management. One of its key findings is that the current slowing of population growth offers the prospect of a world that sustains large swaths of forest for future generations. It recognizes the need for policies and programs that both slow population growth and encourage a more careful use of the forests. The report proposes the use of a population-based measure of forest resource availability--the forest-to-people ratio--to help assess the capacity of each forest to supply goods and services to its inhabitants. These goods and services are essential for economic development, education, and communication, and a healthy environment. Finally, the report concludes with recommendations on population policy, consumption, and sustainable forestry.
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  7. 7

    Conclusions and recommendations.

    Coward H

    In: Population, consumption, and the environment: religious and secular responses, edited by Harold Coward. Albany, New York, State University of New York Press, 1995. 295-303.

    This concluding book chapter suggests that many groups and individuals, such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), can be instrumental in resolving consumption and population growth problems. NGOs can ensure accountability among governmental and NGO decision-makers for their actions and inactions affecting growth in consumption and population. Foreign aid programs must balance immediate and long-term needs of recipients with environmental sustainability and support nonviolent conflict resolution. Women need to be involved in aid programs. Governments must adopt environmental stewardship at the macro-, meso-, and microlevels and develop better ways of accounting for the costs of resource consumption. Governments need to recognize the importance of women's right to control their own fertility and to meet both women's and men's needs for family planning. Governments need to alleviate gross national and international inequities and poverty. Military expenditures need to be redirected toward peacekeeping and programs that promote social equity and ecological sustainability. The rights of Aboriginal peoples must be respected and their unique wisdom must be preserved. Trading should be equitable, provide fair prices for South and North producers, and aim for common environmental and social standards for traded products. Business leaders must promote consumerism that eliminates harmful forms of consumption and marketing. Business operations, marketing, and lobbying must be consistent with public commitments to social and environmental goals and standards. The author makes recommendations for individuals, educators, and religious leaders.
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  8. 8

    Judaism, population, and the environment.

    Levy SJ

    In: Population, consumption, and the environment: religious and secular responses, edited by Harold Coward. Albany, New York, State University of New York Press, 1995. 73-107.

    This book chapter presents beliefs within Judaism that support environmental protection and stewardship of the world's resources. It is stated that the issues of population growth and consumption and their consequent environmental, social, and ethical problems must be jointly addressed. The Torah's attitude toward population growth as it relates to B'nai Noach reflects a need to redirect and redefine the underlying values that govern society's attitudes, behaviors, and relationships. Many Westerners take for granted the blessing of our basic necessities and the availability of excess to satisfy our desires. It is hard for children to understand how not to throw food away, when it is so abundant in grocery stores. The thermostat is used to balance weather that is too hot or too cold. Judaism's teachings are grounded in action and the Jewish code of law, Halacha, that impacts on every aspect of daily life. Throughout history and even in difficult circumstances, there was never a prohibition against large families. Even with the loss of population during World War II, Jewish people maintained low birth rates, in order to ensure maternal health and welfare. World population increased slowly, until about 1974, when it reached 4 billion people. A steady decrease in the annual growth rate was evident thereafter. However, the absolute number of people is increasing. The Torah includes a framework of ethical and moral laws for non-Jews in the Seven Mitzvot of B'nai. The divine duty is to procreate, but it leaves open the option to encourage attitudes and actions that result in natural population control.
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  9. 9


    Coward H

    In: Population, consumption, and the environment: religious and secular responses, edited by Harold Coward. Albany, New York, State University of New York Press, 1995. 1-24.

    This introductory chapter highlights the topics covered in following chapters on religious and secular responses to population, consumption, and the environment. Chapter 2 postulates that the atmospheric composition is being upset by chemicals, such as CFCs and greenhouse gases. Chapter 3 discusses carrying capacity and human choices, and the past and future roles of religion. Chapter 4 discusses aboriginal nations' issues. Chapter 5 provides Judaism's views of population and environment interactions and the acceptance of contraception after carrying capacity is reached. Chapters 6-10 are devoted, respectively, to perspectives of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese religions, which are contrasted in this first chapter. In Chapter 11, the author presents prescriptions from religious and secular ethics for breaking the environmental degradation cycle and global equity in the use of the earth's resources. Chapter 12 focuses on population projections and the environmental impacts. Urban water shortages are expected to be a future problem. The author of Chapter 13 posits that the marketplace can absorb more of the social and environmental costs, but stewardship is based on broadly accepted religious principles or social ground rules. Women's contributions to the issues of population and resources are discussed in Chapter 14. Chapter 15 deals with the role of international law in dealing with intergenerational equity and justice between developed and advanced countries. Chapter 16 offers Japan's Shinto tradition as a key factor in environmental protection. Chapter 17 concludes with policy suggestions.
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  10. 10

    Population, consumption trends call for new environmental policies.

    POPULATION TODAY. 1998 Apr; 26(4):1-2.

    This article highlights the need for new environmental policies. 38 industrialized countries gave commitments to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But, a report on "Population Change, Resources, and the Environment" indicated that high levels of resource consumption in developed countries are a problem also, as are the complex environmental consequences of rapid population growth in developing countries. Global population is expected to include at least another 2 billion people by the mid-21st century. This growth will occur mostly in countries that lack the resources to invest in sound environmental policies and that may not adopt economic growth with little environmental impact. Additional population requires additional food, water, and shelter. The links between the environment and population include social structures, political systems, and lifestyles. Population is increasing the fastest in countries with the least efficient food production and distribution systems. Access to safe drinking water is constrained by poverty, poor infrastructure, and pollution of waterways and groundwater. A major share of economic growth will occur in cities. Population shifts to cities will create demand for health care and education, and encroach on surrounding farmland. Global marine fish stocks are being depleted. Logging and agriculture threaten forest resources. The report stresses that government policies that minimize the environmental impact of humans should promote recycling, eliminate subsidies that distort environmental costs of scarce resources, and implement better forest and fishery management. Politicians must think globally and act locally.
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  11. 11

    Population and global security: environmental challenges II.

    Polunin N; Nazim M

    Geneva, Switzerland, Foundation for Environmental Conservation, 1994. xi, 285 p.

    This is a collection of articles by various authors on the relations between continued population growth and the global environment. The primary objective is "to present...the increasingly dire effects of human numbers and profligacy and the dangers of their continuing `business as usual' practices. To such ends we have been fortunate in prevailing upon chosen leaders in the fields involved to contribute twelve chapters that we outlined by themes through which we are attempting to cover the overall subject." (EXCERPT)
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  12. 12

    Population growth and consumption from an environmental perspective.

    Chalkley K

    Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], 1996 Sep. [2] p.

    This article summarizes significant environmental issues that have been linked with population growth and resource consumption on a global or regional scale. The environmental issues include global warming, pollution, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity, and declines in tropical forests, freshwater resources, oceans and fisheries, and land use. These issues are examined in greater detail in a Population Reference Bureau publication by Alex de Sherbinin. The Earth's carrying capacity is affected by human settlements, industry, and agriculture; carrying capacity estimates range from under 3 to over 44 billion people. Exact quantification of the balance between the resource base and population size is difficult to determine. The goal is sustainable development and environmental protection. The relationship between people and their environment is best considered in a local context that considers socioeconomic and political conditions. Institutional capacity and capability may compensate for size or density. In some countries land equality and investment patterns of large landowners exacerbate environmental destruction. Natural disasters from typhoons can devastate a landscape. Water is a renewable resource that is dependent upon the global water cycle. Human impact on the flow and storage of fresh water has increased significantly over time. The quality and quantity of fresh water available is affected by diversions, dams, irrigation systems, and reservoirs. It is expected that global demand for water for irrigation, household, and industrial use will increase faster than the rate of population growth. The destruction of ecosystems reduces the number and diversity of plant and animal species and the variation within the same species. Ozone depletion is directly affected by consumption patterns and industry. Population size, growth, and patterns of resource use impact on all levels and types of pollution. Human development causes global warming.
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  13. 13

    Sustainable development of population and resources.

    Tian X


    China has experienced increased income, urbanization, and changes in consumption. Although per capita consumption in China is low, during 1978-94 China shifted from 5th to 2nd in steel output, 3rd to 1st in coal output, 8th to 5th in petroleum output, 7th to 2nd in power generation, 8th to 1st in output of TVs, and 1st since 1990 in grain, meat, and cotton output. The author states that the rising standard of living proposed by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has consequences for the consumption of resources and poses a conflict between population and resource scarcity. The author concludes from a review of the literature that sustainable development is the foundation of any society. Sustainable development also must allow for the prosperity of future generations, while alleviating poverty. Sustainable development means a balance between population and resources. Regional, country, and family boundaries demarcate resource ownership and pose a threat to a rational exploitation and use of resources. International trade is meant to solve imbalances between resources and development. Development translates into the material transformation of resources. The author defines resources as all materials--natural, man-made, or social--that have value. Natural resources are nonrenewable, renewable, and perpetual resources, and scarcity applies to all three groups. Although there are abundant resources in China, there are arable land, mineral, and forest shortages. There are also shortages in the general structure of resources, the structural shortage of similar resources, and structural shortages of conditions and technology for resource exploitation. China has a population surplus and has not reached a stable state of natural increase. Population pressure on resources stems from population size and per capita resource consumption.
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  14. 14

    The future of populous economies. China and India shape their destinies.

    Livernash R

    ENVIRONMENT. 1995 Jul-Aug; 37(6):6-11, 25-34.

    Population in 1995 was about 1.2 billion in China and about 935 million in India. Populations are expected to reach respectively 1.5 billion and 1.4 billion by 2025. These two countries now and in the future will average about 35% of total world population. This article compares the current and expected demographic, economic, and environmental conditions in China and India. How these countries manage their growth, poverty, and population will affect the region and the world as well as each nation. China's fertility is now below replacement but population momentum will increase population by about 300 million/year. India's fertility is 3.6 children/woman and India will add 450 million/year. China's population over 60 years old will reach 20% by 2020, while India's will be under 15% in 2025. China will be almost 55% urban by 2025 from 30% in the 1990s, and India will be 45% urban from 27% urban. China's economic growth has averaged over 9%/year compared to India's 5% annual growth during the 1980s and the economic decline during the 1990s. China has 12% of rural population living below the poverty line and India has about 33% of its total population impoverished. China's life expectancy is about 10 years higher. Under-five mortality is 43/1000 live births in China and 131/1000 in India. Poverty-related diseases are still high in India. China is a homogenous population with an authoritarian regime. India is a democracy with a large nongovernmental community and a heterogenous population. India has about 33% of the land area of China but over twice the agricultural land per person. About 50% of China's land and only 25% of India's land is irrigated. Water resources are problems in northern China and much of India. Air and water pollution are problems in both countries. Differences in the population-environment-development context are discussed in terms of the effects of poverty, the constraints posed by development, and the environmental impact of rising per capita consumption. It is concluded that India faces the more difficult future.
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  15. 15

    Population growth, demographic change, and cultural landscapes.

    Woodgate G; Sage C

    GEORGE WRIGHT FORUM. 1994; 11(3):38-51.

    The inclusion of both ecological and socioeconomic components within landscapes makes possible the perception of the hierarchical character of landscape organization. A research approach is needed to conceptualize cultural landscapes as the product of interaction between society and nature. Richard Norgaard's 1984 paper on coevolutionary agricultural development attempts to meet this challenge. Coevolution is the interactive synthesis of natural and social mechanisms of change that characterize the relationship between social systems and ecosystems. The relationship between population, consumption, and environmental changes is complex. Currently industrialized countries present the biggest threat to global environmental resources. The issue of carrying capacity is the corollary of population and the environment. It is primarily the technological factor rather than population that needs to be controlled. The relationship between rich and poor countries is determined by superior economic power. An analysis of landscape change is made, tracing the coevolution of society and environment from the end of the feudal era and making comparisons with continental Europe. Over the years since 1945 the need to realize potential economies of scale has resulted in a wholesale loss of woodlands, hedgerows, and small ponds in the UK. In a global context the likely impacts of population growth and demographic change on landscapes will be influenced by such socioeconomic factors as technology and affluence; policies that ignore cause and effect; and the traditional tendency to treat the environment as a waste repository and a supply depot.
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  16. 16

    Health in Nepal [letter]

    King M

    Lancet. 1996 Jun 22; 347(9017):1768.

    Thapa's vivid account of life in the Bajura district of Nepal confirms that country's demographic entrapment (May 4, p. 1244). Bajura's population is set to double, and then perhaps double again--yet there are already 6 people/hectare of cultivable land, with serious food shortages and the need for food aid. Carrying capacity has been exceeded, permanent migration is difficult, and there is little hope of an export economy. In the absence of continued and increasing food aid, people can be expected to starve. If the carrying capacity of its ecosystem is to be restored, then Bajura, like China, seems to need one-child families. Charles Elliott and I argue that, if we in the developed countries are to counsel other communities to have one-child families, then we should ourselves should set an example, particularly since our per capita resource consumption is perhaps 50 times greater than that of Nepal. We argue that the taboo on demographic entrapment must be lifted so that it can be recognized, measured, and discussed with the community. We expect that its recognition is likely to reduce fertility locally, and increase the flow of development aid, especially for family planning. We also hope that it will moderate northern lifestyles globally. (full text)
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  17. 17

    Family planning: overview on population, environment and development.

    Husain IZ

    In: Family planning. Meeting challenges: promoting choices. The proceedings of the IPPF Family Planning Congress, New Delhi, October 1992, edited by Pramilla Senanayake and Ronald L. Kleinman. Carnforth, England, Parthenon Publishing Group, 1993. 35-50.

    The debate about population, development, and the environment has recently flared up. The focus has been on sustainable development and the elimination of population growth in such works as "Our Common Future" (1987), "The Population Explosion" (1990), and "The Third Revolution: Environment, Population and a Sustainable World" (1992). In contrast, Barry Commoner challenged these views in his 1991 book by maintaining that polluting technologies and high consumption, not population growth, are the main causes of environmental degradation. The population-environment relationship was further analyzed in the World Bank's "World Development Report 1992", projecting that the absolute number of poor in the world will be higher in 2000 than in 1985. In this context, water scarcity is analyzed because of its increasing implications in Africa and elsewhere. In 1950 there were 33,000 cubic meters of water per capita, but by 1992 the annual amount had shrunk to about 8000 cubic meters. Extensive population growth has resulted in clearing rain forests, which in turn led to loss of water in soil, floods, landslides, and erosion. Urban growth has also reduced water supplies by contributing to water pollution. In Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone rapid population growth has abused soil resources and led to depletion of water supplies. The worldwide average amount of cropland available is projected to decline from 0.28 hectares per capita in 1990 to 0.17 hectares per capita by 2025. Worldwide demand for fresh water is expected to more than double by the year 2000, while the availability of water per capita is decreasing. In 1990, 46 countries with almost 3 billion people experienced water stress. By 2025, 61 countries with more than 5 billion people will be experiencing water stress. Although during the decade of 1980 and 1990 another 1.3 billion people gained access to safe drinking water, about 1.2 people still do not have safe drinking water. Sound economic policies could eliminate shortages of water with the assistance of national environmental commissions, nongovernmental organizations, and the International Commission on Sustainable Development.
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  18. 18

    Global carrying capacity: how many people?

    Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation

    PEOPLE COUNT. 1992 Jul; 2(6):1-4.

    During 1980-85 energy consumption in developing countries increased by 22%, of which 50% was used to maintain current levels of use and 50% pertained to real economic growth. Commercial energy consumption during 1970-89 tripled in developing countries. Population growth alone is expected to increase world energy consumption from the current 13.5 terawatts (13.5 trillion watts) to 18 terawatts by 2025 at the same level of use. The increased level of consumption (4.5 terawatts) is the equivalent of total current commercial energy consumption. One terawatt is equal to energy use from 5 billion barrels of oil yearly, 1 billion tons of coal, or 1.6 billion tons of wood. Economic development will require even greater levels of energy use. Since the oil price increases of the 1970s, developed countries increased their energy consumption by about 33%, even while becoming more fuel efficient. During 1990-2025, if developing countries double their per capita energy use and developed countries reduce their use by 50%, world energy consumption will still be almost 21 terawatts. If consumption remains constant at current levels without any population increase, the oil supply will be exhausted in 40 years. Coal consumption will last hundreds of years but air pollution will worsen, and global warming will be accelerated. Developed countries, which are wealthier, are having difficulty switching to non-fossil fuels, and the prospects for developing countries pose even greater challenges. Slowing growth buys time for technological development. World population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2020. Stabilization of growth at 8 billion would occur only if world fertility averages 1.7 children per woman by 2025. One opinion is that the carrying capacity has been reached with the present population of 5.4 billion. Others say that with changes in consumption and technological developments the earth can sustain 8 billion people. The physical limits are 1) the finite capacity of natural systems to provide food and energy and to absorb wastes, 2) the amount of greenhouse gases tolerated in the atmosphere without untoward side effects, and 3) the amount of fresh water available to support all forms of life.
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  19. 19

    Problems of population and environment in extractive economies.

    Bunker SG

    In: Population and environment: rethinking the debate, edited by Lourdes Arizpe, M. Priscilla Stone, and David C. Major. Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1994. 277-301.

    Extractive natural resource processes are mediated in complex ways by material processes, technological choices, corporate strategies, and national and international relations. The population-environment debate capsuled in the doomsayer or cornucopian theories reveals very little about the environmental and social consequences of extracting different raw materials in different locations. Material resources are finite and may be substituted to some extent. Industrial capitalism requires secure access to an expanding supply of raw materials for economic growth and stability. Informed importing firms and states have the advantage over isolated exporting nations competing against each other for contracts. The form of international trade, commodity use patterns, the absolute physical scarcity of a material, and the location of materials all affect access strategies and the impact on resource exporting nations. The extractive economy is also affected by the chemical and physical characteristics of materials. Technology has offset the higher costs of scarcity and distances. Raw materials scarcity impact on developed nations is temporary. For the extraction country, the crisis is economic and ecological and varies among nations. Depletion or substitution of a resource affects to a lesser degree those nations that rely on other industries. The increase in scale of extraction has increased the environmental impact. Types of extractive materials affect the types of infrastructure instrumental for transport or extraction. Local inhabitants of the mining area, inhabitants along the route to the port, and inhabitants in the port area, plus the labor population working in the mines or building infrastructure are all affected by large extractive projects. Inhabitants in remote areas of extraction have the least land rights and may not form cooperative relationships with former migrant construction workers. There are no simple generalizations possible about the impact of extractive economies on the environment and population.
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  20. 20

    Population growth and the food supply: conflicting perspectives.

    Bongaarts J

    New York, New York, Population Council, 1993. 37 p. (Research Division Working Papers No. 53)

    This review aims to expose the diversity of existing views on the consequences of rapid population growth for food production and to summarize the opposing views on the state of natural resources. A deteriorating environment is viewed as inevitable and the developing world improves its standard of living and population increases. Population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050. Food consumption varies by quantity, quality, and country. The developed world has a diet rich enough in calories and animal products to impair health, while Africans have the poorest diets and Latin Americans the best in the developing world. The developing world's 4.1 billion population in 1990 consumes an average of 4000 gross and 2500 net calories of food crops per capita every day. Production needs in 1990 are 0.7 billion hectares of harvested land with an average crop yield of 2.2 tons of grain per hectare (tge/ha), or its equivalent in nongrain crops. Net imports are 5% of the food supply in the developing world. The needs for 2050 and a population of 8.7 billion can be estimated based on the following scenarios: 1) no change in diets, 2) a 50% increase in gross per capita intake to 6000 calories per day, or 3) a 150% increase as represented in diets in developed countries. Production needs for option one would be an increase from 2.2 tge/ha to 4.7 tge/ha in 2050. Option two would require 14 tge/ha, which is an impossibility considering the current US cereal production is 4.2 tge/ha. Harvested land would need to increase by 50% by 2050 and yields would have to increase to 3.1 tge/ha for option one, 5.2 tge/ha for option two, and 9.3 tge/ha for option three. Global weather conditions are likely to change due to greenhouse emissions and global warming, which will both positively and negatively affect agriculture. The question remains as to how to apply new technology for growth in agriculture for increased production and acceptable environmental costs. Progress is unlikely to be uniform, and the poor will suffer the most. Three hunger scenarios are possible: poor countries with no reserves of land or water and reliance on food aid, ample resources and unequal distribution and ineffective policies, and political instability and civil strife.
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  21. 21

    Population control: controlling the poor or the poverty?

    Bergstrom S; Syed SS

    In: Health and disease in developing countries, edited by Kari S. Lankinen, Staffan Bergstrom, P. Helena Makela, Miikka Peltomaa. London, England, Macmillan Press, 1994. 25-36.

    The magnitude of the population problem is indicated by the annual addition of about 100 million people and the acceleration of growth. There were around 5.3 billion inhabitants in the world in 1990, but by the year 2020 there will be about 8 billion people, although the total fertility rate decreased from around 6 children per woman in 1960 to 4 in 1985. The unprecedented growth of population, particularly in poor countries, together with overconsumption and lack of global justice in the distribution of goods has put a severe stress on the environment. The overconsumption problem is illustrated by the case of the United States, with 6% of the world's population but with the consumption of 40% of its resources. The energy consumption of 1 American equals that of 2 Frenchmen, 6 Mexicans, 39 Indians, and 456 Nepalese. The poverty trap and the demographic trap has recently been analyzed in 4 parts: 1) the lack of productive assets. The poor are poor because they do not own assets (in several Latin American countries 1% of landlords own more than 40% of arable land); 2) physical weakness and illness means constant malnourishment and low productive capacity; 3) population pressure forces salaries down to survival levels while having large families often becomes necessary for economic security; and 4) powerlessness means that most poor people are often coerced into signing away their rights and legal systems offer little protection. The structural readjustment programs have had adverse repercussions for the poor, because maternal and child health expenditures were slashed. The HIV infection rate reached 40-50% of pregnant women in some parts of Zimbabwe. Freedom and coercion issues in population control pertain to the compulsory sterilizations in the mid-1970s and female contraceptive surgery consisting only of abortion and sterilization.
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  22. 22

    Counting heads, taking stock.

    Harrison P

    AMICUS JOURNAL. 1994 Winter; 22.

    This overview of the environmental impact of population growth indicates that farm land in developing countries increased by 0.6% annually between 1961 and 1985 despite the impact of technology, which reduced land area needs by 2.6% annually. Population growth of 2.3% annually and growth in consumption of agricultural products of 0.9% annually were push factors for expanding farm land. In developing countries, the growth of population accounted for 72% of the increase in farm land area and 69% of the growth in livestock numbers. In contrast, population growth in developed countries accounted for only a 25% increase in air pollutants between 1970 and 1988; overconsumption accounted for the rest of the increase. Population growth in developed countries accounted for 40% of the increase during 1960-88 in the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming. Studies by the UN Food and Agriculture Association and the UN Population Fund found a close correlation between deforestation and the loss of wildlife habitat and population density. The approach used by Barry Commoner and Paul Ehrlich was to multiply population by consumption per person by the impact per unit of consumption (technology). This formula yields a measure of the link between population growth and the impact on the environment. The general understanding, regardless of methods, is that population growth is a key factor in satisfying basic needs such as food or energy. Population growth is of lesser concern in countries with slow population growth or where consumption and technology are changing rapidly.
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  23. 23

    Population pressure, urbanisation and environmental degradation.

    Khanna H


    Unlivable urban conditions can be ameliorated by realistic anticipation, sagacious non-political interventions, departure from sterile approaches, and community involvement. Urban population in India increased from 17.29% of the total population in 1951 to 23.31% in 1981 and 25% in the 1990s. There will be an estimated 325 million urban residents by the year 2000. The population pressures already are being felt in transportation systems and pollution, and haphazard industrialization and poor land use policies add to the urban problems. Delhi is a good example of failed urban policies and the resulting population discontent. The links between population growth, environmental degradation, and underdevelopment are complex and not simple cause and effect relations. Poverty is the final result of social inequities. Economic policies have appeared to reflect prosperity and growth, while millions still live in impoverishment. The consumption of water, timber, food, and other resources results in large quantities of garbage and pollution of rivers that carry the refuse to rural areas. Population pressure will impact on availability of resources, such as water. In 1955 a population of 395 million consumed water at the rate of 5277 cubic meters per capita. By 2025 per capita availability of water will be reduced to only 1391 cubic meters per capita for the estimated 1.4 billion population. Water resources are diminishing not just because of large population numbers but also because of wasteful consumption and neglect of conservation. The waste of water resources stands among other wasteful acts such as the destruction of the Himalayas and the Aravalis due to mining policies and industrial exploitation of forests. Adequate and timely regeneration has not been included in development planning.
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  24. 24

    Post-communal land ownership: poverty and political philosophy.

    Richards D

    In: Commons without tragedy. Protecting the environment from overpopulation -- a new approach, edited by Robert V. Andelson. London, England, Shepheard-Walwyn, 1991. 83-108.

    Absolute private ownership of land has been traced to ancient Near East civilizations, including the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, and later to Carthage whose land laws were adopted later by the Romans. Eventually the modern Western world revived land ownership laws and applied them to the atmosphere, ocean beds, and Antarctica through pollution permits and mining licenses. The socially unjust and inefficient system of land tenure of the West is the source of the population concerns of the late 20th century, the abuse of the environment, and crises in terms of lopsided distribution of income and wealth. Private land ownership increased productivity, but it overexploited the environment and was not the sole curse to achieve progress. Some demographers maintain that poverty causes population problems by inducing high birth rates. There is also the hypothesis that large-scale poverty is the result of private land ownership. The concept of land rent and decisions regarding its distribution is detailed in the context of the current debate on environmental policy. The World Bank showed that the developing world, with 80% of the global population, is responsible for only 7% of carbon dioxide emissions. The links between land tenure, demographic problems, and other environmental problems are further examined. The political branch of the rural real estate business hastened the demise of the family farm in the United States. Latin America has the longest history of private land ownership, with the results of land left idle and massive poverty despite higher productivity on small plots. The South is repeating the same ruinous and wasteful tactics of devalued land ownership as the North as done (including the USSR prior to perestroika). The western model of economic growth has increased poverty on the Indian subcontinent owing to avoidance of the land tax. The African situation is similar with increasing numbers of people being crammed into inferior land.
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  25. 25

    [Socioenvironmental dilemmas of sustainable development] Dilemas socioambientais do desenvolvimento sustentavel.

    Torres HD

    Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Populacao. 1992 Jan-Jul; 9(1):90-4.

    The literature on sustainable development published in advance of the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, focuses on the social politics of the environment and the problems of the correlation of population and the environment. There is an intense preoccupation with the Brazilian environmental agenda and excessive treatment of topics related to the natural environment and the tropical forest of the Amazon. The fact that 75% of the Brazilian population lives in urban areas is ignored. Some works maintain that there is profound division between the conservators of the contemporary predatory and wasteful civilization and those progressive forces that point to the direction of a socially just and ecologically sustainable civilization. Issues that cannot be reduced to environmental questions have come into the forefront in recent years: race, gender, human rights, and pacifism. The question of population growth and pressure on the finite resources have also forcefully featured in debates. The sociology of environment submits that the contemporary civilization cannot be sustained in the medium or long term because of exponential population growth, spatial concentration of the population, depletion of natural resources, systems of production that utilized polluting technologies and low energy efficiency, and values that encourage unlimited material consumption.
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