Managing Planet Earth: Perspectives on Population, Ecology, and the Law

By Miguel A. Santos | Go to book overview

Preface

Human population is presently increasing exponentially. In 1950 there were 2.5 billion people in the world. By 1970, this increased to 3.7 billion, and today there are approximately 5 billion people residing on this planet. If the present growth rate persists, there will be 30 billion people on Earth by the end of the twenty-first century. It is a truism that the human population cannot continue this infinite increased on a finite earth.

Society cannot increase beyond its ability to acquire natural resources or to dispose safely of pollutants. We must remember that interactions with other species and other humans may determine the world carrying capacity. When, how, and what laws or principles are employed by the international legal system to reach an optimum sustainable society is a matter of grave concern.

One need not be an ecologist, environmental scientist, demographer, political scientist, economist, or lawyer to understand the dangers implicit in an uncontrolled degradation of the environment. Achieving a world population restricted to the optimum number of people that the earth can adequately sustain presents problems that are difficult to solve. Calculating how many people each individual nation should have and determining the means by which politically various populations will be controlled calls for difficult decisions. Second only to the risks of international superpower confrontations stemming from interruptions in the supplies

-ix-

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Managing Planet Earth: Perspectives on Population, Ecology, and the Law
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Human Population and Carrying Capacity 1
  • 2 - Natural Resources, Pollution, and Carrying Capacity 33
  • 3 - Criteria for Determining Earth's Carrying Capacity 77
  • 4 - World Order and Environmental Stability 101
  • 5 - Problems and Prospects 123
  • Conclusion 141
  • Glossary 143
  • Bibliography 153
  • Name Index 165
  • Subject Index 169
  • About the Author 173
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