I was sent an article from which the following is an extract:
from Population and Development Review, Vol. 20, no. 1 (March 1994)
Action is needed now
Humanity is approaching a crisis point with respect to the interlocking issues of population, environment, and development.
With each year’s delay the problems become more acute. Let 1994 be remembered as the year when the people of the world decided to act together for the benefit of future generations.”
Well, that was 1994 and the same lack of action applies to the Rio summit in 1989 and many others. The same could be written today of course but all of the problems are worse now – in some cases much worse. I am often told that “The case for human-generated global warming isn’t proven!” and some people allege that virtually all the Earth’s climate scientists are wrong, and that it isn’t happening at all. I’ve given up contesting this – it is an opinion which will not be changed by me as, if the person wanted to take account of the evidence, there is plenty of it and it is far more powerful than my puny voice.
The environmental problems humans are causing through over-population and the pursuit of wealth (to buy things and go places) extend to species extinctions, de-forestation, destruction of marine habitats, over-fishing, pollution of the air and waterways, over-exploitation of resources (leaving nothing for future generations), accumulation of waste on land and in the oceans. There are also a myriad of social problems which get worse as pressure on land and resources increases. And we are talking basic resources like water and clean air.
So Global Warming is one problem that governments SAY they want to do something about, but so far have not acted. The same could be said for most of the problems listed and short-term expediency remains the rule. Locally, people I meet don’t want to act, even when they acknowledge that population is the root cause, to the point that one friend said to me “Perhaps it just doesn’t matter as much to us as it does to you, Doug.”
More and more films and books come out foreseeing a cataclysmic outcome down The Road (sic): perhaps this is one of those self-fulfilling prophesies, and anyway, we like fighting our way out of a mess. I feel sorrow and guilt for all the other species and the beauty of the world we inherited.
I haven’t dispaired: this blog, and my projects and voluntary activities attest to that, but I’m getting less hopeful.