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  1. 1

    Overview of scientific perspectives.

    Chapman AR

    In: Consumption, population, and sustainability: perspectives from science and religion, edited by Audrey R. Chapman, Rodney L. Petersen, and Barbara Smith-Moran. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 2000. 39-47.

    This paper examines questions about the impact of human population growth, technology, and consumption patterns on the environment, and considers to what extent science can provide answers. It notes that the impact of population growth is compounded by the fact that the greatest increase is taking place in poor countries, worsening the alarming rates of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. Such problems limit the possibilities of achieving sustainable economic development and improving the quality of life. Moreover, it is noted that high rates of natural resource consumption and pollution, primarily in affluent countries, exert strong demographic pressures. In this regard, the inequality between poor and rich countries underlies the population- consumption-environmental crisis. In assessing the state of the environment and options for solving the problems, science has made various contributions such as knowledge, promotion of awareness of the interdependence of life forms, and provision of long-term global view. However, science has little likelihood of providing answers to critical issues due to the difficulty in measuring the interrelationships between human population and environment.
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  2. 2

    Challenging the planet: connections between population and the environment.

    Population Action International

    Washington, D.C., Population Action International, 1993. [2], 28, [1] p.

    Population Action International's (PAI) colorful brochure on environmental awareness focuses on the lessons of the past, the state of environmental science, the challenge of population growth, the path to stabilization, and group efforts. The story of environmental awareness unfolds with selected statements and pictures germane to seven points of view. The backside of each picture documents important statistics in table, graph, or chart form. 1) The view is expressed that human beings are adaptable and ingenious. Rapid population growth is viewed as posing challenges to the earth's capacity to support a variety of life forms and a decent quality of life. 2) Environmental trends reflect both the patterns of population growth and the patterns of consumption and technology use. Inequalities of power and wealth influence these patterns. 3) The conclusion is that past environmental impacts are disastrous to humans when thresholds are reached. 4) The view is held that all individual human action impacting on the environment must be considered in full for a comprehensive analysis of the population and environmental links. 5) The consequence of slowing population growth is the gift of time for preserving the environment and alleviating poverty. 6) Quality of life is improved when people are given the choice to make their own reproductive decisions. 7) Top priorities are assigned to closing the gap between rich and poor and reducing overconsumption. PAI aims to show a commitment to research, advocacy, and resources for stabilizing world population by offering universal reproductive freedom. PAI states its goals of access to safe affordable, voluntary family planning services and opportunities for women. The environmental program offers a profile of recent research and policy advice and disseminates the information in a timely and accessible way. Groups are encouraged to address population issues and take action to provide conditions conducive to population decline without jeopardizing an individual's reproductive rights. The aim is identified as establishment of a worldwide network of activists and organizations who exchange information and channel political power for constructive action.
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  3. 3

    Report of the ESCAP/UNDP Expert Group Meeting on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development: 13-18 May 1991, Jomtien, Thailand.

    United Nations. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP]

    Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP], 1991. iv, 41 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 106)

    The 1991 meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific considered the following topics: the interrelationships between population and natural resources, between population and the environment and poverty, and between population growth and consumption patterns, technological changes and sustainable development; the social aspects of the population-environment nexus (the effect of social norms and cultural practices); public awareness and community participation in population and environmental issues; and integration of population, environment, and development policies. The organization of the meeting is indicated. Recommendations were made. The papers on land, water, and air were devoted to a potential analytical model and the nature of the interlocking relationship between population, environment, and development. Dynamic balance was critical. 1 paper was presented on population growth and distribution, agricultural production and rural poverty; the practice of a simpler life style was the future challenge of the world. Several papers focused on urbanization trends and distribution and urban management policies. Only 1 paper discussed rural-urban income and consumption inequality and the consequences; some evidence suggests that increased income and equity is associated with improved resource management. Carrying capacity was an issue. The technological change paper reported that current technology contributed to overproduction and overconsumption and was environmentally unfriendly. The social norms paper referred to economic conditions that turned people away from sound environmental, cultural norms and practices. A concept paper emphasized women's contribution to humanism which goes beyond feminism; another presented an analytical summary of problems. 2 papers on public awareness pointed out the failures and the Indonesian experience with media. 1 paper provided a perspective on policy and 2 on the methodology of integration. The recommendations provided broad goals and specific objectives, a holistic and conceptual framework for research, information support, policies, resources for integration, and implementation arrangements. All activities must be guided by 1) unity of mankind, 2) harmony between population and natural resources, and 3) improvement in the human condition.
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  4. 4

    Rethinking transportation.

    Renner M

    In: State of the world 1989. A Worldwatch Institute report on progress toward a sustainable society. New York, New York, W.W. Norton, 1989. 97-112.

    The costs to society, in terms of air pollution, acid rain, global warming, congestion, health costs, deaths and inequalities, of the world's 400 million motor vehicles, and feasible alternatives are discussed. Growing numbers of cars show no sign of leveling off in the U.S., and they are rising in Western Europe, Japan, Eastern Europe, U.S.S.R., and the third world. 1% of people in developing countries own cars, compared to 40% in industrial countries, or 8% overall worldwide. Petroleum for transport accounts for 63% of petroleum use in the U.S.; in the third world the fraction of export earnings used to pay for transport fuels tripled during the 1970s. Ethanol is not a practical alternative fuel since it requires more energy to produce than it yields, and only cane sugar is a practical source. Methanol production from coal also entails more pollution than gasoline. Hydrogen may be the fuel of the future. Several ways of enhancing fuel efficiency already exist: cars making 120 m/g have been tested. Market factors prevent their development, however. Any car with 1 driver is inefficient. Improving air quality is possible by regulation in some areas, but in the U.S. the shear volume of traffic thwarts any imposed regulation. Alternative transport systems will be necessary to reverse 250,000 traffic deaths and millions of injuries annually worldwide, congestion in cities resulting in lost productivity, hidden financial subsidies and costs of automotive infrastructure and lost health. Multidestinational systems operate successfully in European cities. Nonmotorized transport, mainly bicycles and walking, is the primary mode in Asia and Africa. How these alternatives can be implemented in the noncentralized urban areas of the U.S., with up to 60% of urban land devoted to cars and much of the economy to their distribution and service, is an unsolved problem. Even in developing countries, city planners and donor agencies favor the elite with autos. People need urban design that incorporates access to jobs, homes and services.
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