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CARRYING CAPACITY NETWORK FOCUS. 1997; 7(1):37-9.The subject of demographic entrapment is taboo in most UN agencies and in academia because of the upheaval that would occur if entrapment were acknowledged. Demographic entrapment occurs if a population has exceeded or is projected to exceed the combination of the carrying capacity of its own ecosystem and its ability to trade for its needs or to migrate to other ecosystems. Demographic entrapment leads populations to become progressively stunted physically (as is occurring in Malawi) or starve, die from disease, or implode in social chaos (Rwanda). Disentrapment can theoretically occur if communities increase the carrying capacity of their ecosystem, develop an export community, increase migratory opportunity, reduce population growth, or combine these measures. The major method of escaping entrapment seems to be reducing population growth by promoting one-child families. If developed countries urge developing countries to adopt this policy, developed countries should adopt it also because per capita consumption of natural resources in developed countries is perhaps 50 times greater than in developing countries. Discussion of demographic entrapment remains taboo because of fear that such discussion would challenge: 1) the materialistic, consumeristic, market economy that is the current foundation of global society; 2) the consumption and employment patterns of developed countries; 3) human rights notions about reproduction, anti-abortion attitudes, and pronatalist views; and 4) false assumptions about universal economic development. Countries (like Malawi) where entrapment is causing widespread malnutrition should receive interim food aid tied to population reduction. Developed countries should promote development of sustainable lifestyles that include having one-child families and consuming photon-efficient diets. UN agencies must face the uproar that will occur upon acknowledgement of entrapment in order to call for simultaneous reproductive and lifestyle changes throughout the world.
In: Race to save the tropics. Ecology and economics for a sustainable future, edited by Robert Goodland. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1990. 171-89.Sustainability denotes well-being, intergenerational equity, minimal use of exhaustible mineral reserves, slow depletion of nonrenewable energy resources allowing an orderly societal transition to renewable energy sources, and agricultural sustainability. Many parts of the world have already surpassed their carrying capacity. To effectively apply environmental management to economic development, decision makers must understand the fundamental relationship among growth, equality, and ethics. Liberation of women and reduction of excess consumption by the rich are needed to achieve environmental sustainability. We have been able to solve some environmental problems once they have reached a crisis stage by investing money into their solution. Prevention is the only means to address irreversible environmental effects, however. The major reason for biodiversity loss is destruction of tropical forests which support 50% of the world's 5-30 million species on 7% of the land area. A large percentage of the biodiversity in the Philippines, Haiti, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and parts of India is already gone. Some corporations have begun to respond responsibility to the environment. In 1987 the largest investor in economic development in developing countries, the World Bank, implemented environmental policies for all programs. The Bank normally refuses to finance projects designed to convert wildlands of special concern, e.g. to national parks. Projects concerning wildlands other than those of special concern should only occur on already converted land. A more open decision making process is required to justify any deviations from the above policies. If wildlands development is defended, the project should just convert less valuable wildlands. Financing preservation of another wildland is required for any conversion of wildlands not of special concern. If a project does not involve conversion of wildlands, the Bank requires the preservation of wildlands for their environmental services alone.
[Unpublished] 1989. 7 p.The World Bank President at a meeting of the World Resources Institute in 1989 addressed the issues of World Bank accomplishments, public awareness, industrial nations' responsibilities, and the link of poverty to population and the environment. Collective responsibility is urged. The cumulative effect of human activity will determine the fate of the planet. The World Bank has created a central Environment Department. Staff assigned full time to environmental issues has increased to 65 over 3 years. Environmental Issues Papers have been prepared for the most active borrowers, which in August 1989 included 70 countries. The Environmental Technical Assistance Program has US$5 million to distribute for environmental projects. Regional studies in an Asian urban environmental clean up and a Mediterranean environmental project were initiated and jointly funded with the European Investment Bank. By June 30, 1989, more than 100 projects with environmental components will be approved for funding, which is 35% of total yearly projects. 60% of all agricultural projects funded have environmental components. Funding for forestry projects is expected to double to US$950 million in the next 3 years, and US$1.3 million will be lent for environmental projects. Bringing environmental awareness to developing countries has been made difficult be fears that advanced countries are trying to impede economic development and to interfere with foreign sovereignty. Collective responsibility has not been agreed upon. Industrialized countries must be prepared to accept and remedy their own environmental shortcomings. 71% of industrial emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from North America and Western Europe, which has only 8.2% of the world's population. Meanwhile, 7% of CO2 emissions come from developing countries, which have 70% of the world's population. The US produces 5 tons of CO2/person, while the world average is 1 ton/person. The US exports agricultural chemicals that are hazardous to human health. The US leads all industrial nations, except Canada, in energy use/unit of production of goods and services. 33% of all chlorofluorocarbons are released in the US. The population growth rate has a serious and life-threatening impact on human life. Natural resource constraints will limit growth. The solution is to provide family planning and expand the carrying capacities right now.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1987. xi, 62 p. (World Bank Technical Paper No. 61)The problem of desertification in the Sahelian and Sudanian Zones (SSZ) of West Africa is addressed. Desertification is defined as the process of sustained decline in biological productivity of arid and semiarid land. Desertification is complex and poorly understood and is caused by the interaction between drought and human abuse. Better management is a viable long term solution. In the SSZ, there is variable rainfall and low fertility soil, and resources are overexploited by humans. The focus of discussion is on defining the nature of the problems and the geographic features of the SSZ; the problem is complex and multifaceted and includes population pressure. The nature of and pressures on traditional production systems (agrosylvicultural, agrosylvipastoral, and sylvopastoral) are described as well as the carrying capacities of traditional production systems. Past development activities and common weaknesses of development activities are reviewed with reference to the agricultural, livestock, and forestry sectors. The elements of a strategy for better resources management are delineated. Some general observations are made. Actions are defined with reference to pressure on 1) carrying capacity (CC) in areas where the ratio of population (RP) does not exceed CC, where RP slightly exceeds OC, and where RP greatly exceeds CC; the issue of irrigation increasing carrying capacity is dealt with. Other elements are 2) upgrading competence in research and training, 3) reducing demand (population and wood), and 4) the policy environment (land law and incentives). Implications for actions are indicated for the members of the Comite Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Secheresse dans le Sahel, governments, financiers in general, and for the World Bank group in particular. A statistical appendix is provided with information on land distribution, soil suitability, population and distribution by a number of factors, and carrying capacity. Elementary erosion techniques and research orientations also are provided.
In: The population debate: dimensions and perspectives. Papers of the World Population Conference, Bucharest, 1974. Volume I. New York, New York, United Nations, 1975. 77-123. (Population Studies, No. 57; ST/ESA/SER.A/57)The Secretary-General's commentary on the state of population growth, resources, and the environment examines the most important relationship. Conflicts in resource use and distribution and essential resources are identified: potential water and land resources for agriculture, availability of potential arable land, new technology, carrying capacity, capital needs, the imbalance between population and arable land, energy needs, agricultural modernization, nonfuel mineral resources, and energy resources. The relationship between rapid population growth and the environment may be one where man is indeed capable of reducing the environmental consequences to tolerable level through reallocation of resources. There a 3 sets of environmental problems: 1) those related to poverty and inadequate social and economic development; 2) those arising from the development process itself; and 3) those which could have a major impact on climate or environmental conditions and are not well understood. The environmental problems of developed countries pertain to high levels of energy use and the problems of affluence. In poor countries, environmental problems are caused by rapid population growth and urbanization, and poverty. Environmental destruction from mining and transportation are discussed along with the need for conversion to alternative forms of energy and reduction of polluting energy use. Developing countries' problems focus on water supply and waste disposal, the benefits of environmental improvement, and the global changes possible in climate, carbon dioxide emissions, and particulate matter in the atmosphere. "Hot spots" from fossil fuel combustion and nuclear fission are occurring; accurate data, improved analytical models, and international cooperation in monitoring and analysis is essential. Settlement patterns and the costs plus the internal organization of large urban areas are some of the problems examined. Rural development, rural-urban migration, and population redistribution are other issues of concern. Urban development and urban growth strategies reflect the potential need to curb urban migration and a new settlement system. Technology's impact on population, research gaps, and policy implications are revealed. Definitions of societal objectives are necessary before deciding what technology is needed.
[Unpublished] 1989. Presented at the Conference on Global Environment and Human Response toward Sustainable Development, Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 1989. 11 p.With the installation of Barner B. Conable as President of the World Bank, the Bank began to incorporate the environmental effects of development projects into its loan decisions. It has also augmented loans for environmental, population, and forestry projects. In 1988, >100 projects with important environmental elements (35% of all Bank and IDA projects) were approved, the majority of which were in agriculture. The Bank has expected the percentage of such projects to increase annually. Further, to assist the countries and the Bank in considering environmental concerns in the beginning stage of designing development projects, the Bank has developed Environmental Assessment Guidelines. The Bank has taken on a formidable task, however, since its primary purpose is to reduce poverty which often conflicts with protecting the environment. Its leadership believes that the 2 goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and, if they are to be achieved, the problems must be clearly defined and all the countries of the world must work towards solutions to benefit the global community. Additionally, the Bank has begun to encourage developing countries to switch to cleaner fuels, processes, and systems to curtail global warming. It also monitors research on carbon dioxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbon emissions, all of which contribute to the greenhouse effect, and on climatic change. The Bank has recognized, however, that improvement in the environment cannot occur fast enough, at the rate the earth's population is increasing. Therefore it continues to fund family planning and health projects.
In: Population, resources, environment and development. Proceedings of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development, Geneva, 25-29 April 1983, [compiled by] United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs. New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. 267-92. (Population Studies No. 90; ST/ESA/SER.A/90; International Conference on Population, 1984)The 1st section of this paper devoted to population, resources, and development broadly delineates for countries the physiological limits of land to support human populations according to pressure on resources. Subsequent sections examine the impact which an abatement of population growth could have by the year 2000 on resources in general and on the performance of the agricultural sector of developing countries in particular, link poverty to malnutrition, and deal with 1 specific aspect of the relation between distribution and undernutrition. The purpose of the final section is to highlight certain issues of the "food-feed competition" which requires more attention in the future. The frailty of the balance between population and resources is a basic concern of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN. FAO's purpose is to promote agricultural and rural development and to contribute to the improvement of people's nutritional level. The significant characteristics of the FAO work on "potential population supporting capacity of lands" are the improved soil and climatic data from which it starts and the explicit specification of the assumptions made about technology, inputs, and nutritional intake requirements. Both the carrying capacity project and the results of "Agriculture: Toward 2000" have emphasized the importance of the role that technology will play in world agriculture in the future. Yet, technology is not free and its cost should be compared to alternative solutions. Moving people -- migration -- is an option that suggests itself in relation to the carrying capacity project. Changes in certain institutions, including land reform, size of the farm, market systems, pricing regimes are more suggestions that may arise with respect "Agriculture: Toward 2000" and to the food-feed competition. The ultimate question continues to be whether high agricultural technology is feasible on a world agricultural scale without dire environmental and other effects.
Washington, D.C., Agency for International Development, 1982 May. 8 p. (A.I.D. Policy Paper)The Task Force of the US Agency for International Development (US AID) sets forth the overall objectives, policy decisions, and programming implications for food and agricultural assistance funded from Development Assistance, Economic Support Fund, and PL 480 budgets. The objective of US food and agricultural assistance is to enable developing countries to become self-reliant in food through increased agricultural production and greater economic efficiency in marketing and distribution of food products. Improved food consumption is gained through expanded employment to increase purchasing power, increased awareness of sound nutritional principles, and direct distribution of food from domestic or external sources to those facing severe malnutrition and food shortages. Policy elements to accomplish these objectives include 1) improving country policies to remove constraints on food production; 2) developing human resources and institutional capabilities, including research on food and agriculture problems; 3) expanding the role of private sectors in developing countries and private sector in agricultural development; and 4) employing available assistance instruments and technologies in an integrated and efficient manner. A sound country policy framework is fundamental for agricultural growth and should 1) rely on free markets, product incentives, and equitable access to resources; 2) give priority to complementary public sector investments that complement and encourage rather than compete with private sector growth. Private and voluntary organizations (PVOs) can also offer low-cost approaches to agricultural development that take local attitudes and conditions into account. Under appropriate conditions, US AID will finance a share of recurrent costs of food and agricultural research, education, extension or related institutions, provided that policy and institution frameworks assure effective utilization and the country is making maximum and/or increasing domestic resource mobilization efforts.