Your search found 9 Results
In: Global biodiversity strategy: guidelines for action to save, study, and use Earth's biotic wealth sustainably and equitably, [compiled by] World Resources Institute [WRI], World Conservation Union [IUCN], United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], in consultation with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], UNESCO. [Washington, D.C.], WRI, 1992. 37-54.It is at the local level where people forfeit or preserve biodiversity. Yet government policies develop incentives that either help or restrain local action. Even though governments tend to intervene in markets for a variety of reasons (e.g., encourage industrial growth), many development policies do not value environmental resources and sometimes accelerate depletion of natural resources and biodiversity loss. They even encourage overexploitation of species, alteration of natural environments, and oversimplistic agricultural ecosystems. It makes economic and ecological sense to reform these policies. For example, governments which subsidize individuals for using natural resources strains national economies and hinders development. Industrialized countries subsidize agriculture at an annual cost of US$150 billion from the outlay of consumers and taxpayers although it drains the environment. 57% of the European Community's budget supports agricultural prices whereas only 1% goes to protect the environment. Indonesia lost US$2 billion between 1979-82 due to its forest policies. Therefore investments in biodiversity conservation more than compensates for savings due to policy reforms. National resource and trade policies must consider biodiversity's potential benefits which include enhanced food security, economic development, and improved medical care. Thus countries need to reform public policies that decrease or misuse biodiversity. These existing policies include forestry, coastal and marine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, and agricultural policies. They also need to approve new public policies and accounting methods that encourage conservation and equitable use of biodiversity. Countries must provide widespread access to family planning services and more funding to promote family planning use and reduce consumption through recycling and conservation.
London, England, I.B. Tauris, 1992. xi, 359 p.Crisis sometimes spurs revolutions. The revolution that needs impetus is sustainable development. The issues of rapid population growth, consumption and technology, and environmental destruction are complex. Overstating the importance of population growth is no better than ignoring it as an important factor. Five village case studies reflect empirical evidence of the nature of the problems: Musoh, Malaysia; Ranomafana, Madagascar; Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Kalsaka, Burkina Faso; and Hatia Island, Bangladesh. The example in Malaysia reflects the myth that forest people do not put pressure on the environment, which is only true when population density and consumption are low and technology is limited to sticks and blowpipes. Various theses about population are traced from Robert Wallace, William Godwin, and Thomas Malthus through critics such as William Hazlitt, Karl Marx, Henry George, and into the modern period of Ester Boserup, Paul Ehrlich, Dennis Meadows, and Paul Simon. The result is ideological chaos. The author reflects on the growth of the environmental crisis, the shortages of food, fertile land, energy, and minerals, and the state of biological diversity. The Madagascar example, illustrates past creative processes and present destructive ones. Deforestation, forest adjustments, land degradation, marginal people and areas are considered. Burkina Faso exemplifies how soil erosion can be stopped with appropriate use of technology on marginal slopes, but the balance between population and resources is lacking. In the Cote d'Ivoire example, author reflects on the growth of nonagricultural work, urbanization, the environmental impact of cities, solid waste generation and disposal, polluted waters, and atmospheric pollution. On Hatia Island population density, harsh environmental conditions, and cultural patterns which place women in inferior positions show the nature of poverty and interaction with population growth, which is exacerbated by natural disaster. A general theory of impacts is proposed based on Barry Commoner's concepts and charted. The options for action are identified. Shakespeare's Hamlet syndrome is referred to in the hope that action is not delayed until almost too late.
LAND USE POLICY. 1990 Oct; 7(4):337-50.The conflict between population and land in China results from high population density, declining availability of arable land, decrease in cropland, overgrazing, inability to afford imported grain, and expansion of land use for urbanization. Unwise decisions have been made. These decisions have resulted in land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, degradation of grasslands, waste of land for freight storage or waste disposal due to low grain prices, and nonagricultural constructions on croplands. Ineffective land management problems are identified as: 1) the lack of an economic means of guiding land use and land is not valued; the lack of any mechanism to ensure economic land use including public lands which are not accounted for with rent; 2) the lack of integration of departments into the decision making structure and too many departments making decisions about the same land; 3) the lack of choice in land use which results in higher government departments being unaware of local conditions, and the lack of appropriate investment which results in short-term exploitation; and 4) surveys are inadequate for decision making. The strategies suggested for improvement in land use management include low resources expenditure in production and appropriate goods consumption. The goal is to sustain subsistence with gradual improvement through development. Land resources must be conserved and the environment protected. The solutions to depend on food imports or reduce the nutritional level deny the equally plausible solution to generate a higher level of input. The profit motive and scientific agricultural practices could accomplish this end. Reclamation for cropland is possible for 8 million hectares of wasteland in wide areas in Sanjiang Plain and 3.4 million hectares in small pockets in Eastern Monsoon China. Traditional agriculture must be transformed and an optimum scale of land operation established. Land tenure reform is necessary. Regional conditions must prevail as the guiding principles. Several implementation strategies are suggested: controlling population growth and establishing a balance between expenditure and land productivity, expanding and conserving forest areas, increasing agricultural investment, reforming land tenure, adjusting land product prices, strengthening land administration, developing other industries, and reforming economic and political systems.
WASHINGTON POST. 1990 Dec 30; C2.Deforestation for fuel wood was on the rise again after 1973 oil price increases. Between 1976-86, the use of wood for fuel increased 35%. In 1987, 50% of the world's population were using wood for cooking and heating. 1.7 cubic meters/year of wood are burned. The energy use equivalent in oil would be 21 million barrels of oil/day. The example is given of Costa Ricans return to wood use from electric stoves after the oil price increases of 1979. Current high oil prices again can only mean greater wood use. The tobacco and tea industry have also switched to wood and then to dry products due to oil price increases. Past patterns of use coupled with increased population and higher inflation and debt means a greater impact. Deforestation for agricultural use in the 1990s is expected to be >370 million acres. 40-50 million acres/year are burned mostly for agricultural use, but the next largest use is for fuel wood. In the US, 20% of forests are used for fuel and the remainder for industry, while in developing countries, 95% of energy comes from biomass, usually wood. In India and China, animal and crop residues are used for fuel instead of for soil fertilization. Wood is also wasted to produce charcoal. Deforestation in Thailand may have resulted in a decrease in rainfall; erosion occurs when rain comes. Wood burning also contributes to increases in carbon dioxide which cause global warming. When plantings equal burnings, carbon levels remain constant. The present ration in Latin America is 10 trees cut to every 1 planted, in Asia the ratio is 5 to 1, in Africa 29 to 1. 1.5 billion people over cut forests, and 125 million either cannot find enough wood or cannot afford it; by 2000, 2.8 billion will be short of fuel wood. Biomass burning also contributes to buildup of methyl chloride, which adds chloride to the atmosphere and the destruction of the ozone layer. The amount released is estimated at 26% emitted by the Third World. Amazon forest burning should cease by 1995 and biomass burning reduced by 50% over the next 15-20 years. The return to wood means lower living standards. The hope is that technology will generate more efficient wood-burning stoves or replacement fuel.
Development. 1992; (2):17-21.A Vice President of the Society for International Development discusses practical ways to manage the environment by developing and executing an ecologically sustainable policy on food and energy. Despite the abundance of international declarations and guidelines since 1972, many ecological tragedies have taken place: drought in Africa; chemical leak in Bhopal, India; and nuclear fallout from a nuclear reactor in Chernobyl in the former USSR. Deforestation; burning of fossil fuels; release of methane from rice planting, cattle farming, and waste dumps; release of chlorofluorocarbons are all contributing to the rising temperature of the planet's atmosphere. Reforestation is needed to break down excess carbon dioxide. Local development projects and universal development strategies are needed to solve this great ecological problem. The only sustainable solution to the food problem includes a definition of ecological limits for international and national agricultural policies and development and use of agricultural techniques that guarantee a sustainable food supply. In industrialized countries, farmers must reduce agricultural overproduction and use less intensive production methods to protect soil and ground water. We must begin rational consumption of energy and using alternative forms of energy such as wind, water, and sun. These efforts require considerable financial, human, and technical resources through international cooperation. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to implement various alternative supply models. We must return to regional and local planning and action and also establish an orderly transfer of technology and research by improving education, communication, and training. This transfer cannot be a 1-way transfer, however. The European Common Market is an example of international cooperation to address common problems.
EARTHWATCH. 1992 Jul-Aug; 6-9.For the past several decades ecologists and economists have been engaged in a debate. Ecologists have a philosophy that is based on the belief that the carrying capacity of the Earth refers to the integrity of ecological systems. Economists have a philosophy that is based on the belief that the carrying capacity of the Earth refers to human welfare. There has been some progress in the debate. Economists are now starting to realize that ecology must be factored into economic models. This is especially true when economics are dependent on something ecological. Food production is a classic example. If the ecology is damaged to a certain degree, then it cannot grow food and food prices rise in that area. Ecologists are now starting to realize that economic markets are good places to make changes in the ecology. Tax credits and government subsidies of money or land are examples of economic forces that can be harnessed to protect the ecology. Population is a factor of great importance, but consumption is equally as important. Every year Bangladesh adds twice as many people to its population as the US, yet each American consumes 20 times more energy than each person from Bangladesh. So while the population growth rate in developing countries does legitimately threaten the ecology, so does the high consumption levels in developed countries. To the credit of the economists, technology and innovation has to date managed to solve all the major problems humanity has created. But, to the credit of the ecologists, there are several very serious problems, E.G., deforestation, decertification, drought, famine, global warming, and ozone depletion that do not appear to have imminent solutions. As ecological conditions worsen, economists and ecologists will continue to work more closely if for no other reason than necessity.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION. 1989 Autumn; 16(3):199-208.This philosophical review of 2 arguments about responsibility for and solutions to environmental degradation concludes that both sides are correct: the ultimate and the proximal causes. Ultimate causes of pollution are defined as the technology responsible for a given type of pollution, such as burning fossil fuel; proximate causes are defined as situation-specific factors confounding the problem, such as population density or rate of growth. Commoner and others argue that developed countries with low or negative population growth rates are responsible for 80% of world pollution, primarily in polluting technologies such as automobiles, power generation, plastics, pesticides, toxic wastes, garbage, warfaring, and nuclear weapons wastes. Distortionary policies also contribute; examples are agricultural trade protection, land mismanagement, urban bias in expenditures, and institutional rigidity., Poor nations are responsible for very little pollution because poverty allows little waste or expenditures for polluting, synthetic technologies. The proximal causes of pollution include numbers and rate of growth of populations responsible for the pollution. Since change in the ultimate cause of pollution remains out of reach, altering the numbers of polluters can make a difference. Predictions are made for proportions of the world's total waste production, assuming current 1.6 tons/capita for developed countries and 0.17 tons/capita for developing countries. If developing countries grow at current rates and become more wealthy, they will be emitting half the world's waste by 2025. ON the other hand, unsustainable population growth goes along with inadequate investment in human capital: education, health, employment, infrastructure. The solution is to improve farming technologies in the 117 non-self-sufficient countries, fund development in the most unsustainable enclaves of growing countries, break institutionalized socio-political rigidity in these enclaves, and focus on educating and empowering women in these enclaves. Women are in charge of birth spacing and all aspects of management of energy, food, water and the local environment, more so than men, in most countries.
In: Preserving the global environment: the challenge of shared leadership, edited by Jessica T. Mathews. New York, New York/London, England, W. W. Norton, 1991. 39-77.The thesis that human population growth will eventually destroy the equilibrium of the world ecosystem, because environmental strain is a nonlinear effect of the linear growth, is embellished with discussions of technology and resulting pollution, population dynamics, birth and death rates, effects of expanded education, causes of urbanization, time constraints and destabilizing effects of partial development and the debt crisis. It is suggested that the terms renewable and nonrenewable resources are paradoxical, since the nonrenewable resoureces such as minerals will always exist, while renewable ecosystems and species are limited. The competitive economy actually accelerates destruction of biological resoureces because it overvalues rare species when they have crossed the equilibrium threshold and are in decline. Technological outputs are proportional to population numbers: therefore adverse effects of population should be considered in billions, not percent increase even though it is declining. Even the United Nations does not have predictions of the effects of added billions, taking into account improved survival and decreased infant mortality. Rapid urbanization of developing countries and their debt crisis have resulted from political necessity from the point of view of governments in power, rather than mere demographics. Recommendations are suggested for U.S. policy based on these points such as enlightened political leadership, foreign aid, and scientific investment with the health of the world ecosystem in mind rather than spectacle and local political ideology.
POPULI. 1990 Sep; 17(3):14-21.No single factor should be blamed for environmental degradation; all possible factors must be considered in implementing methods to improve the environment and to prevent further damage. 3 major factors contribute to total environmental damage: consumption, technology, and population. Population is often blamed as the single factor responsible for environmental degradation. From 1950-1985, global carbondioxide (CO2) emissions rose at a rate of 3.1%/year. While consumption and technology contributed to 38% of the increased CO2 emissions, population growth contributed to 62%. Population increases can lead to increased demand for food production, which result in increased use of farmland. Increased farmland contributes to deforestation, which has an impact on environmental degradation. During 1971-1986, farmland increased by 59 million hectares and forest decreased by 125 million hectares in developing countries. In Latin America, ranching contributed to 43% of the deforestation. Another contributing factor of deforestation is commercial logging. Besides increased farmland and deforestation, population growth may also result in species loss and soil erosion. Additional factors responsible for environmental damage include poverty, inequality in landownership, and misdirected policies. Advancement in technology can better utilize the land. Irrigation can prevent increased land consumption by reutilization of farmland. Terracing can prevent further soil erosion. Methods for improving the environment and preventing further damage must consider the impact of consumption, lifestyles, and technology on the environment. Reformation in each of these areas would have an immediate effect on environmental degradation reduction.