MAN, ENVIRONMENT, AND THE FUTURE


John C. Munday


It is quite common for capitalists to applaud a healthy economy. Growth in the economic sector is encouraged. Population growth also brings approval.

Local, regional and national governments do the same. If economic activity slows to a standstill, or population slows, comments arise concerning the "stagnant" economy or its future threat. Only growth conditions make society's civic and economic leaders happy.

Government economic policy and its programs appear designed to be financially stable only if the working age population increases. This approach guarantees future trouble. Programs should be designed to work under stable populations. A changing demographic pyramid introduces troublesome complexity in any case.

Clearly, the planet's biotic systems are under increasing pressure from growth in both population and resource utilization. While the developed economies have slowed and in some cases reversed pollution problems, the general rule is increasing pollution worldwide. And economic growth means increased resource utilization despite improving efficiencies in the developed economies. Over the next century, severe environmental degradation is thus assured. While there is no serious threat to our very existence from this progression, species diversity and human health in many dimensions will suffer.

The health of a nation's economy should not be predicated on population increase, the case presently. The situation reveals a disturbing attitude endemic to our materialistic consumer society -- more materiality and more consumption is better. As stewards of planet Earth, we should instead learn to live in balance with nature. We should envision the distant future when making present decisions about quality of life issues.



May 20, 2005 John C. Munday
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