There Doesn't Have To Be A Negative Correlation Between Population Growth And Environmental Wellbeing

2743 words - 11 pages

“Often, environmental problems – like climate change or forest destruction -- are widely acknowledged, but governments, corporations and international bodies all duck or dismiss the solutions” (Greenpeace 2014). Everyone wants to believe, and wants everyone else to believe, that they are environmental activists because they wear green on Earth Day and might recycle a plastic bottle or two in the span of a year or so. But this is not a case in which small intentions can accumulate and equate to a large contribution to the problem at hand. Population growth has drastic effects on the environment that exist outside the petty and more-or-less foundationless lukewarm concern that the general populace claims to have. Population growth demands rapid deforestation and negligible fossil fuel use; the technological advances that must increase to keep pace with the complex lives of an exponentially growing population require large factories and power plants and modes of transportation that build up unnecessary pollution in the water tables, lakes, rivers, and streams as well as the atmosphere and ozone (i.e. global warming); alongside the inorganic environmental abuse, there is an increasingly persistent amount of endangerment of zoological life; however, modern society hides all of this under the arrogant title of progress, though environmentalists such as Barry Commoner and activist organizations like Greenpeace, Earth System Governance Project (ESGP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and World Nature Organization (WNO), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) would highly disagree--there doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, a negative correlation between population growth and environmental wellbeing.
Dr. Barry Commoner was an “American biologist, college professor, politician, a leading ecologist, and among the founders of the modern environmental movement” (Cornwell 2012). As the “Paul Revere of ecology” (Dreier 2012), Dr. Commoner “viewed the environmental crisis as a symptom of a fundamentally flawed economic and social system… and argued that corporate greed, misguided government priorities, and the misuse of technology accounted for the undermining of ‘the finely sculptured fit between life and its surroundings’” (Dreier 2012). Dr. Commoner believed, just as current activist organizations believe, that with proper government policies and priorities, the growth of the world’s population doesn’t have to have negative effects on the environment. Not only did he talk the talk, but Dr. Commoner also walked the walk: “He was a dedicated recycler. Mostly he did not bother to iron his shirts, to save electricity. Until he became old, he used nothing but public transport” (Cornwell 2012). Along with his persistent personal convictions, Dr. Commoner also authored Four Laws of Ecology:
(1) Everything is connected to everything else, which simply means that all living and nonliving beings on this planet are in some way, shape, form, or fashion,...

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