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Population & Development

A Human Response to Environmental and Social Crisis

Updated from 1995 in 2011 http://www.specialagenttraining.cfsites.org/  

Note: I dedicate this report to Rosa Parks, civil rights freedom fighter.  May her courage serve to remind us to preserve grounds upon which victories for humanity continue to be made.  Information sources for the majority of un-cited facts may be traced to Greenpeace if fact verification is needed.  This essay is presented as a work in progress and for every fact the public can help to update or support with better citations, we will replace the information until a more rigorous report results.  However, it was decided the contents are important and accurate enough to present as is with an understanding that further research must strengthen and verify facts.   


The destruction of life remains preventable in many instances.  This essay will present some key information related to population and development along with some basic recommendations on how to respond to the various identified problems. 

Natural limits impact tolerances required to maintain social, economic, and environmental balances.  Population growth, strife, trends in crime, unemployment, and unstable markets- all support an opportunity to examine violent behavior and the practicality of sustainable living.  Causes of poverty and violence, access to family planning, implementing quality health care, providing useful education, clean jobs, and development policies are crucial issues when discussing challenges which threaten sustainability. 

Population and development trends are showing signs of motivating some necessary reforms in lifestyles and a widening debate.  Based on observations and a survey of broad research conducted by the sources listed in this essay, industrialized nations are found responsible for the majority of the environmental destruction taking place.  Either through the results of consumer demands, modeling, or the hope that developing countries may also enjoy the gadgets, diets, and luxury items many of us take for granted, the fact is more people are becoming materialistic and assimilating western lifestyles. 

That fact poses alarm because the west consumes and produces waste at such a disproportionate rate in contrast with less developed nations, that the notion of becoming like us is practically a real impossibility, unless industrialized nations quickly adapt to be better role models. 

In fact, the western world is behind some of the most innovative solutions in efforts to for example control population growth, curtail pollution, and replace dependencies on non-renewable resources.  What was less than a decade ago criticized to be radical environmental activism, is now becoming common household knowledge and becoming popularized, which is evident in social programs such as recycling, food composting and corporate responsibility and environmental programs being implemented worldwide.  Perhaps the relevance of the turning point back to nature is driven by the need to nurture this rekindled devotion in the exercise of the will to survive: arguably, a natural instinct.     

Establishing sustainable cultures that practically meet ecological responsibilities entrusted to us by future generations is central.  Healthier regenerative economic value systems with proven social stability safeguards will help to propel and support humanity.  While the cost of erecting such a system is great and stands to demand some of our wealthiest and most successful businesses in America to invest and realign at a greater rate than ever dreamed, not doing so will present such a nightmare that any wealth maintained will be absent any real value.  America is not founded on the pursuit of selfish happiness, but in fact dependent on greater harmony. The American dream should be a dream all can share and practically aspire and realize.  We may forge ahead and prosper if our power is rightfully applied and guided not towards unnecessary destruction, but by following the light of liberty which shines on our  appreciation, respect, and the fulfillment of our duty to protect life.  The responsibility to secure our safety and happiness rests with the people, as it has since the dawn of time.  By acknowledging cause effect relationships and working to ensure our footprints are matched by sustainable growth initiatives, we may preserve the opportunity to advance freedom and liberty for all. 

Personal and systematic changes proposed to alleviate or prevent the escalation of crises:


  • Minimizing or eliminating dependencies and waste of resources, especially non-renewable resources is critical. 
  • Preserve and conserve critical equilibriums to halt further damages. 
  • Critical actions include halting mismanaged forest destruction and implementing other wildlife species extinction controls. 

  • Temperature control actions that slow warming and protect the earth from the sun as a result of a widening ozone hole are critical.
  •  Advocate non-toxic green solutions, waste reduction and intelligent responses like localizing economies to reduce waste/pollution caused by transportation.
  •  Sufficient wealth re-distribution systems would, if supported and implemented and enforced through policy reforms in the U.S. allow populations to be able to optimally develop so we can more optimally address the challenges faced locally and globally. 
  • Tax reforms to limit wealth and redistribute it.
  • A 32 hours work week could create jobs and  encourage shared training and skill development and thus deter crime and minimize poverty.  Also a well rested work population would be more productive. 
  • Winning cooperation for new standards and definitions which help to ban and place much greater control on toxins altogether is important.  Especially consider stiffer penalties as a practical deterrent and revising laws around the allowances of being dishonest and protections of liability/ statute of limitations for violations related to causing harm directly, or indirectly.
  • Just because people can’t control the consequences of individual or collective behaviors, does not exempt them from being responsible for individual or collective behaviors.
  • Incentives that drive consumers and producers to make green friendly choices and support local economies can spark stronger community development and participation. 


    Rates of deforestation, water usage and pollution, desertification, species extinction, resource use and ozone loss are drastically impacted by choices in lifestyle.  Careless, misinformed or otherwise uninformed consumption practices are responsible for mass destruction. Scientists argue that we have exceeded existing technological capabilities to repair the resulting environmental damage (Caldicot, H. 1994. and Carson, R. 1962)  However, such assertions may underestimate the determination, will, and ability of people working to secure survival and improve conditions. Even though the consequences of environmental degradation are becoming more visible, such as rainforest destruction in Brazil, hazardous assaults on nature continue to escalate.  Meanwhile the rate of positive actions appears to be racing to beat what is commonly referred to as the tipping point, or the point of no return marked by signs of corruption such as extinction, depletion of natural defenses, harmful mutations, or weakening infrastructures in society which support or limit optimal developments.   


Commenting on population growth and depleting water resources in park regions, Dave Simon of the National Parks Conservation Association stated, "People are moving into an area that has a limited capacity. Nature posed boundaries to human life but for many years humans have been trying to prove these laws don't exist."  When people are ignorant of nature or contradict symbiotic relationships it can cause or greatly contribute to cause the collapse of vitality within bioms due to chain reactions.  For example the introduction of a non-native plant could introduce a bacteria that causes other plants to die which supported a particular ecological community.  When key species are extinguished it inevitably causes other species dependent on that missing species to adapt, or in some cases also perish.  


Since enforcement has proven to be exceptionally weak around well intended legislation like the 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act, revisiting enforcement and ethical values that encourages society to abide by the law is practical. 


Dirty production methods and excessive waste production are obstructing harmony.  Many solutions to modern day problems exist in cultures and traditions from around the world that have been maintained for centuries.  The blend for example of the work ethic which emerged from WWI era with an ethic that everyone in a community has an important role to contribute and job to occupy (common in many tribal communities) is basic to the success of the community. In such communities the concept of homelessness does not exist and reportedly never existed.


It is perfectly clear industrialized nations are key contributors to environmental degradation. In 1996, comprising roughly 20 percent of the world’s population, developed nations consumed about 80 percent of the earth’s resources in use annually, leaving 80 percent or roughly 4 billion of worlds population to share the remaining 20 percent of resources. (Kaufman, D. & Franz, C. 1996) The US population of estimated 300 million is only 5 percent of the world's estimated 6 billion inhabitants, yet it consumes 25 percent of the earth's commercial energy, 27 percent of the world's aluminum, and over 20 percent of it's tin, copper and lead. Virtually transforming it into waste, the United States is responsible for creating an estimated 33 percent of the worlds pollution.  In simple terms, the average US American will produce twice as much waste as most Europeans, and many times more than those living in the developing world.  If 5 percent of the population creates 33 percent of pollution and a significant portion of the remaining 95 percent are beginning to model the US, clearly pollution represents significant health threats.  


Officials have acknowledged the disproportionate consumption levels and harmful waste production that the US is responsible for. Governor Russell Peterson told a 1989 meeting of US. Governors, "The quality of life on earth is increasingly threatened by a powerful ecological force. We humans are that force, ever more of us using ever more materials, assaulting the environment with ever more machines, chemicals, weapons and waste."


How can we meet the housing, health, education, and employment needs for millions of more people when we already fail to provide basic survival needs to a growing lower class population?


Will the stress of population growth lead to a downward spiral of scarcity and conflict or an urgent response of reasonable compassionate and rational behavior? Dr. Febe Portillio wrote, “There are enough resources to meet the needs of life but it depends on distribution methods.” 


Mistakes are anticipated in life, but there is no excuse for repeating the same errors or ignoring the expert testimony of leaders from respective communities and professions whom demonstrate better options exist if the goal is to sustain life and resolve conflicts.  However, it would be foolish to assume the goal implied above is in fact common or universal. It is well known fact that enemy concepts are often manufactured.  Most of our battles have been caused by ideological differences in addition to disputes over resources, natural or human.


On Independence


While individualism has rewarding qualities it also presents problems. For example, superiority and dehumanizing beliefs are constructed on the myth that people and other life forms are separate entities with greater and lesser value. Failure to permit diversity hampers intelligence because it often leads to the extermination of variety.  While people tend to be attracted to what is familiar and fits within there existing belief systems, events or knowledge that challenges us to confront the limitations or errors in our beliefs is what leads to positive personal growth and often this is what improves the quality of life, even if it is an uncomfortable process.  Yet, there are many instances when different life forms have been observed sharing common qualities and needs. While we are different to some degree, we are also biologically alike and interdependent in many ways. Thus, rationalizations that calculate some life forms are more expendable than others are self-limiting.  Intolerance of difference is, in most instances, a threat.  Especially when competitive systems place significant interference preventing interdependent life-cycle chains from being un-interrupted or when intolerance of diversity presents obstacles in the maintenance of social equality.


While it may appear easier to choose for oneself in the short run, it is important to gain the understanding that in that choice (cause) all life is affected in some manner. Exactly how is a matter of observation and debate. The extent of free choice is dependent on social forces beyond a single individual which present to some extent the apparent choices.  For this reason, the matrix of civilization will never be free from error and constant and necessary change that requires vigilance and respect for knowledge and diverse traditions that influence well being. Once enough evidences of violence are reviewed, anyone with enough common sense to recognize the value of *interdependency will oppose ignorance and greed and reinforce demands that will help necessary changes take place. *Credit Dr. Potter’s book Bioethics -Bridge to the Future,1959.


It is in everyone’s best interests to develop and implement energy alternatives, compromise and share resources in exchange for the maintenance of social order and a reduction in depression for the greater good.


On Population Growth-

Note: see Population institute, Planned Parenthood, National Center for Health, and United Nations Population Fund to get more current figures below.


The United States adds more people to its population than any other industrialized nation. According to US Census Bureau projections; if current trends continue, today’s population in the U.S. could double within our children’s lifetime.


Over the last 600 million years species populations have remained in relative balance with their environments. Limits of food supply and births have been matched with deaths. From the 1950's onward the population explosion formed primarily because people have no longer been dying in vast numbers due to advances in technologies that have lengthened the life span and cured many deadly diseases. However, supporting systems of food, education, health care and employment have not been fully developed . Biologists warn the earth’s human population will double, reaching 10 billion within about 30 years unless current birth rates decline dramatically in the near future.   


Family Planning

Financial support for family planning services is critical in our efforts to stabilize the world's human population growth. Universal family planning costs are estimated at 11 billion per year. By supporting family planning programs safe and effective contraceptives would be provided to everyone who needs or wants them.  In places where religious freedom prohibits the use of contraception, the emphasis can be on education and supplying information that lowers the risk of pregnancy and disease.


Without the full support from the US and other donor nations, most developing nations will not be able to expand family planning programs rapidly enough to prevent their populations from doubling over the next 20 to 30 years and quadrupling in the next century. The Population institute reports a net annual population gain of 93 million people. The birth rate could dramatically increase as 3 billion young people- equal to the 1960 worlds census - will enter their reproductive years in the next three decades.  Reasearchers argue population stability depends on increasing family planning practices in fertile couples from about 55 percent to 75 percent or greater.  Ninety countries, virtually all in the third world, will double their populations in the next generation. Furthermore, reports show 10 percent of U.S. women have no access to affordable contraception, while in almost every country demand is outrunning the supply. In poor countries, surveys show that 75 percent of the women would use contraceptives if affordable services and supplies were easily accessible.


Meanwhile, reproductive research is generally much more funded compared against contraceptive research (Population Institute, 1995). It is estimated that half the births in the U.S. are unplanned (Planned Parenthood, 1995). 


Of the 307 million people counted in the US in 2009 (U.S. Census Bureau) an alarmingly fast growing number will encounter and transact sexually transmittable diseases, often unknowingly.  Over 19 people million under the age of 25 (Center for Disease Control 2011) become newly infected with sexually transmitted diseases each year in the US.   That figure is a 63 percent increase annually over the previous 12 million people a year in all age categories from 1995 estimates on STD’s (Population Institute).  As of 2009, an estimated 33 million people in the world are infected with HIV, the Aids virus (UNAIDS) with nearly three million documented new cases in 2009 alone which represents a 10 percent growth rate in 2009 for documented HIV cases. Sexually transmitted diseases also have striking growth rates among young populations, with uneven rates between races and countries with non-whites and less wealthy nations often showing higher contraction rates.


Relationship of Ethics to Development

To what extent do unhealthy ethics such as the control over nature myth and human superiority pose challenges in society and perpetuate violence?  Perhaps pointing out existing ethical flaws and errors will help us make the necessary links between the cause an effect of harmful abuses and how to best prevent them in the future. For example, the Old Testament of the Holy Bible reads, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” 1:28 Genesis, King James Bible. At the time this passage was written having larger numbers meant surviving wars with feuding factions of that period.  Many educated Christians understand that science does offer some guidance and important knowledge regarding how to best reflect an appreciation for all of God’s creation.  Chief Seattle, of the Duwamish tribe said in the 1850’s, “…to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon the creator, our god is the same god, so love and care for the earth as we have loved it, and with all your mind and all your heart preserve it for your children and love it, as god loves us all.”  


Population Control Conclusions


Involuntary sterilization projects are not recommended.  The availability of contraceptives and affordable medical procedures combined with strong disease and pregnancy prevention education offers the most comprehensive approach to achieving population and necessary sexually transmittable disease controls. 


Instead of trying to justify placing dirty industries where costs and loses are lower as a result of increased deaths in countries with lower GNP’s we should not lose sight of the fact that dirty industries are in most cases replaceable with cleaner and safer ones.  While accountability is important, so is simply demonstrating the better options.  Furthermore transferring dirty industries abroad or exporting toxic waste increases the probability of accidents.  (response to U.S. National Security Council declassified documents)




Without adequate technology the ability to safely store chemicals and prevent mutations for thousands, or in some cases millions of years, as needed for some toxic agents, risks are growing daily.  Those professing that existing capabilities exist to safely store wastes being produced are not convincing the experts in many fields, but such propaganda may be pacifying the vulnerable and under-informed public to some extent with the exception of the larger more obvious nuclear disasters which continue to unfold- under the guise of accidents and natural disasters.  While theories of military experiments in oceans concerning weather interruptions and causing earthquakes and tsunamis and so on are indeed compelling, even with just the basic knowledge of natures trends, educated people can draw a more immediate argument that the slightest impacts on nature can have far reaching impacts through existing cause effect relationships.  For example, pollution is allegedly destroying the ozone layer which protects the earth from radiation to some extent.  Having less ozone protections in the atmosphere is reportedly allowing the sun to warm waters which impacts ocean currents/ flow due to salt contents from melting ice in the North Pole, and in turn impacts precipitation, air-jet streams flow, storm formations, and temperature.


Assigning a monetary value on human life, placing economics before people and destroying our own environment is illogical and immoral.  To have a healthy economy we need healthy educated people and a healthy environment.  Furthermore, many toxic substances can’t be contained currently are are reportedly leaking into underground waterways (Caldicot, H. 1994 ).  Toxic concentrations in the food chain, especially in meat and in fish have rendered genetic and mutagenic impacts on life beyond anyone’s ability to fully calculate (Carson, R. 1962 ).


Need for Further Research and International Agreements/ Standards

Ultimately the viability of habitats and the movement and conditions impacting species extinctions and the quality of life for survivors requires examination of natural limits and the need to live within the boundaries necessary to maintain natural balances known as equilibriums.

Revitalization Recommendation

The single most important cultural revitalization recommendation is to discontinue the appropriation of resources for temporary gains and place higher standards on longer term planning for the preservation and restoration of peace.  This concept in not new, but existed in many tribal communities and is often referred to as the seventh generation law (Iroquois Constitution).  When possible, actions must be evaluated for the impacts on future generations.  If we are to observe anything from the first people’s nearly exterminated since the invasion on the new indies began, this principal offers an opportunity to redefine the basis upon which success if measured, and to develop a country that may with some measure of dignity admit our mistakes, accept our responsibilities, and face the consequences of our actions, not with denial, distortions and further aberrations,  but with courage to sacrifice and adapt quickly to preserve the greater welfare of life. 

Death and Destruction Tendency

My essay Biocide and the Toxic Lin( http://www.specialagenttraining.cfsites.org/  ) shares the history of toxic waste fetishes and obsessions stemming from the Death and Destruction Tendency (DDT) which is a coping mechanism described as a motivation to experience the thrill of experiencing the perceived and impending death of oneself, but aspiring to have control over that process.  DDT is caused by factors such as; lack of patience, depreciation of life i.e. empathy deficits, deficits in self-preservation motivations.  DDT is stems from brain damage or abnormal development.  DDT sufferers are considered to be antisocial personalities.  However, a sub-type of DDT which reinforces the abuses dictated by DDT personalities carried out by their victims is better defined as Mass Madness or temporary hysteria.  For example, the extermination of millions of Native Americans, lynching conducted in Europe and against slaves, slavery, and or witch hunts, crusades, killings of many targeted groups, or generally social trends like smoking cigarettes where abuses were tolerated and modeled temporary causing significant harms, but later recognized as being seriously disturbing and damaging in retrospect and often resulted in changes in policy or mass revolts to alter those trends.  DDT is formed due to heredity or by conditioning or both.  Violent behavior is the key indicator of DDT.  To counter the guilt and avoid the violations associated with direct suicidal actions, the mind develops ways to bring about death through the extermination of support needed to maintain life.  Compounded by  the fascination with concepts like afterworld, and the realization of prophecy and the avoidance of dying from old age and fear in general, DDT sufferers can develop complex rationales for their violent actions which often are expressed ideologically in addition and often as a precursor to physical actions. 

The manner in which DDT is expressed is complex and varied, but those displaying it suffer inferiority complexes and are typically narcissistic of suffer other personality disorders.  Based on studies in Psychology roughly one quarter of the human population suffered some from of mental abnormality during their lifetimes (Sue, Sue, Sue 2000.)  While the level of incidence described above in DDT may be found in estimated seven percent of the population, that population is in every segment of society.  Since control and fear tend to define and motivate the actions of persons suffering DDT, they tend to occupy posts which can intensely dictate the actions of the remaining 93 percent of the population.  Serial killers and profiles of people like Adolf Hitler display DDT. 


One form of intervention for DDT sufferers is to provide safer outlets for them to express their violent tendencies more safely and to regulate that outlet carefully and under close supervision by qualified mental health professionals.  However, video games, movies and other forms of violent entertainment can actually reinforce the conditioning and development or elevation of DDT and mass madness.  For example, just as a gateway drug experience can lead to further experimentation and risk-taking in youth and often does, when someone with DDT either encounters violence or learns skills of the trade for example by being imprisoned and surrounded by think tank of criminals- of through addictive types of behaviors that expand the tolerance, endurance, or broaden the scope of expression in the dependencies to stimulants that bring satisfaction to meet the specific deviated desires of a particular DDT personality, the greater the threat becomes that DDT personalities will bring greater harm to others and that situations of mass madness may result such as terrorists rings.     

Alarming Signs: Problem- Global Warming, Pollution and De-Forestation

Since the 1900's the world’s population has increased more than three times, the gross national product 21 times, the consumption of fossil fuels 30 times, and industrial production 50 times (GreenPeace, Earthsave Foundation, Rainforest Action Networks 1995.)

There are two main sources of biosphere pollution: food and product needs and desires of the population. Many pollutants rise into the sky before being rained out on land or into the sea (Kaufman & Franz, 1996.)  Behind each of these three sources is the hand of the consumer.  Therefore, ethics, values, and wisdom play important roles in improving awareness of responsibilities to implement sustainable options that avoid and minimize problems.

Recommendation to Contain Pollution Issue:

Behavior must be conditioned and modified to adhere with green friendly and universally accepted and enforced non-toxic biodegradable standards that carry potent and practically extreme penalties for violators. Since pollution is life threatening, actions should encompass all nations and be subject to international over-site and bound by treaties that dictate real consequences for uncorrected violations.  Specific and fair implementation dates and clearly defined rules absent of any exemptions or special privileges to some nations over others is essential.  Additionally, revising the statute of limitations that apply to actions which cause ongoing damages and including far reaching imprisonment as a tangible consequence, without shelters from liability, insurances, or legal protections, besides innocence, of any kind may be helpful in deterring what is identified as being the most severe pollution based problems that must be contained. 

Background on Pollution 

Even with toxic free alternatives now available, short term profits that current methods promise over improved methods for longer term benefits slow conversion to the healthier methods.  Thus, consumer education and demands and incentives should encourage product developers and manufacturers to more readily invest in conversion projects which can reduce damages and lower unnecessary risks.  Long term damages can be observed or anticipated if health regulations continue to be negated or remain non-existent or un-enforced. Yet, health risks are often not even taken into consideration by violators or consumers at large.  The few cases won in favor of the victims of toxic exposure rarely have any long term effect on deterring future violations from occurring.   Wildlife, lacking in defensive representation, suffers the most from destructive behaviors and is evident with the growing list of endangered species.  Without more serious repercussions that extend beyond feeble financial penalties, violators stand virtually un-ruled.  Thus, industry worldwide spews into air and water bodies over 700,000 different chemicals, mostly untested for their environmental effects (GreenPeace, Earthsave Foundation, Rainforest Action Networks 1995.)


In 1995, US. factories alone emitted an estimated 1.2 million tons of chemicals, releasing highly toxic PCB's, lead and heavy metals into the environment– all with acute health effects (Toxic Links Organization 1995)


Chemicals combine to form gasses and trap the sun's warmth at the Earth's surface and are causing the greenhouse effect.  Carbon Dioxide, which causes almost 50 percent of the greenhouse effect, stems mostly from the combustion of fossil fuels in power plants, factories, and vehicles.  Acid rain, ozone depletion and atmospheric warming will continue to affect the whole planet for centuries to come.

Several leaders of coastal regions and islands announced in the late 90’s that the ocean level is rising. Furthermore, with global warming, climate change is accompanied by a number of other factors that combine and advance will all kinds of jerks, often making the process faster than we anticipate. Ice sheets in the Northern hemisphere are beginning to show signs of melting, possibly due to global warming. Between 10-13,000 years ago sudden changes in ocean and atmospheric systems led to extreme shifts in the worlds climate, including temperate increases of several degrees C within just half a century.   Scientists suggest released salt impacts the oceans currents and warming produces chain reactions that are significantly impacting life.  Those impacts are primarily observed as causing storms and drastic increases in hot and cold seasonal temperatures.  Such events are impacting trends in agriculture, human and animal migrations, and are presenting serious health risks including cancers and temperature related conditions, which unfortunately impact mortality rates among infants and the elderly populations the most. 

Forests Summary

Assaults on the environment by human populations are devastating the life support system of all habitats. The estimated extinction of over 50 species per day plus serves to remind us that unless we make the necessary changes these devastating extinction rates will continue to accelerate.  Dr. Norman Myers, environmental scientist estimates of the 10 million species known nearly half would be extinct by 2099.  However, Stephen  Hubbel, Ecologist/ Professor at UCLA contends extinction rates are fundamentally flawed in how such statistics are calculated.  He does however present he logical argument that if humans consume roughly 40 percent of the earth’s biomass production through photosynthesis upon which most species depend, and if we continue to tear down forests and kill species that support other species, such activity interrupts delicate chains.  Even if the rates are mathematically flawed, which is ironically the downfall of statistical analysis in general, due in part to limited methods and unknown variables that often present significant differences in outcomes, how rates of extinction can accelerate or be prevented at critical points is still relatively unknown. Hubbel said, “Some three-quarters of all species thought to reside on Earth live in rain forests, and they are being cut down at the substantial rate of about half a percent per year.  He also commented when a meteor struck the Earth some 65 million years ago, killing the dinosaurs, a fireball incinerated the Earth's forests, and it took about 10 million years for the planet to recover any semblance of continuous forest cover. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2011/05/18/species.extinction.rates.have.been.overreported.new.study.claims


Tropical rain forests contain 70 to 95 percent of the species in just 6 percent of the land area.  Rainforests girdle the earth in a 3000 mile wide green band that straddles the equator.  Rainforests once covered 14 percent of the earth’s terrestrial surface.  Now only 6 percent remains.  According to a report by Paul Harrison of Earth Watch Magazine, up to 65 percent of tropical deforestation is related to population growth (1990 #39).  One hundred acres of rain forest are demolished each minute.  Outside the Amazon region about 80 percent of all wood cut is used for fuel.  In Africa for example, fuel wood consumption is at least four times the rate of re-growth.  Nearly half of the tropical rain forest have been destroyed in the last 200 years.  The remainder, roughly the size of the United States, about 3.5 million square miles, could be gone in the next 50 years according to some estimates.

Dr. Mustafa Tolba, Director General of the United Nations Environmental Program on Rain Forest Destruction said, "We face by the turn of the century an environmental catastrophe as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust."  However, doctors, scientists, and activists often need to result in extreme measures to make their points to encourage corrective actions.  While This does not mean everything they are reporting should be dismissed, it does demand that scientific rigor be exercised on gathering useful data to make accurate predictions and accurate observations.  Even is the estimates here are found in some places to be incorrect- there is an underlying need to bring human behavior more in balance with nature. On a more optimistic note the number of people working to reinvent the identity of the west, and realign industrial, business, and personal  pursuits gives hope that we can minimize destruction and learn to be better stewards on the earth as we learn from our mistakes and advance into space, perhaps as a necessity. 

Sources for Population and Development

Caldicot, H. 1994. Nuclear Matters. W.W. Norton & Company NY.

Carson, R. .1962  Silent Spring. Houghton Mifflin NY.


Sue, Sue, Sue 2000, Abnormal Psychology. Houghton Mifflin NY.


Non-profits- GreenPeace, Earthsave Foundation, Rainforest Action Network,)


Toxic Links, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Population Institute, Planned Parenthood, United Nations Population Fund (Ngo), National Center For Health, Friends Of the Earth International.