REFLECTIONS ON SUSTAINABILITY

POPULATION GROWTH,
AND THE ENVIRONMENT - REVISITED

Albert A. Bartlett
Part Five: Where Do We Go From Here?


SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The challenge of making the transition to a sustainable society is enormous, in part because of a major global effort to keep people from recognizing the centrality of population growth to the enormous problems of the U.S. and the world.

The immediate task is to restore numeracy to the population programs in the local, national and global agendas.

On the local and national levels, we need to work to improve social justice and equity

On the community level in the U.S., we should work to make growth pay for itself.

On the national scale, we can hope for leaders who will recognize that population growth is the major problem in the U.S. and who will initiate a national dialog on the problem. With a lot of work at the grassroots, our system of representative government will respond.

On the global scale, we need to support family planning throughout the world, and we should generally restrict our foreign aid to those countries that make continued demonstrated progress in reducing population growth rates.

 

BOULDING ON MALTHUS

In writing about Malthusí essay on population, Kenneth Boulding observed:

that the essay, punctures the easy optimism of the utopians of any generation. But by revealing the nature of at least one dragon that must be slain before misery can be abolished, its ultimate message is one of hope, and the truth, however unpleasant, tends "not to create despair, but activity" of the right kind. (Boulding 1971, p. 142)

 

A THOUGHT FOR THE FUTURE

When competing "experts" recommend diametrically opposing paths of action regarding resources, carrying capacity, sustainability, and the future, we serve the cause of sustainability by choosing the conservative path, which is defined as the path that would leave society in the less precarious position if the chosen path turns out to be the wrong path.

Part One: Introduction & Overview
Part Two: Population, Environment & Pseudo Solutions
Part Three: Democracy, Economy & Trade
Part Four: Laws of Sustainability
Acknowledgements & References

 


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