Population, Law, and the Environment

Population, Law, and the Environment

Population, Law, and the Environment

Population, Law, and the Environment

Synopsis

A point-counterpoint challenge of the views expressed by Vice President Al Gore in Earth in the Balance, this important study questions current assumptions about the cost and effectiveness of environmental laws and policies, revealing the crucial link between programs of population control and long-term environmental goals. Governmental policy on the environment, as well as private environmental action, has typically been curative and reactive in nature--directed towards cleaning up past disasters and limiting the types and amounts of pollutants emitted. But what is the cost-effectiveness of such policies at a time when the population of the world continues to expand at an exponential rate? And what should be the role of population control in environmental policy? Robert Hardaway explores these issues and questions, refocusing attention on the importance of population growth to environmental quality. Synthesizing contemporary population theories in the context of environmental policy, Hardaway relates population, law, and the environment to abortion, immigration, education, and economic regulation.

Excerpt

What do family planning policies, abortion laws, and immigration have to do with the environment?

Governmental environmental policy, as well as private environmental action has traditionally been curative and reactive in nature--that is directed towards cleaning up past environmental disasters, and passing laws to limit the amount and type of pollutants that may be emitted by individuals and enterprises. But what is the cost-effectiveness of such policies at a time when the population of the world continues to expand at an exponential rate? What should be the role of population control in environmental policy?

Up to now both government and private environmental groups have paid little attention to population issues. The meeting of the government representatives and private environmental groups in Rio in 1992 did not invite groups concerned with population issues, and did not even place population issues on the agenda. The recently published book, Earth in the Balance, written by high profile politician and Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, devotes only 27 of its 407 pages to population issues.

But are the Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian doomsayers, such as Paul Ehrlich (The Population Explosion), and Donella Meadows (The Limits of Growth) to be given credence when so many of their past predictions of disaster have failed to materialize?

This book explores all these questions, as well as attempting synthesis of contemporary population theories in the context of environmental policy.

Although the title of this book is Population, Law, and the Environment, it is hoped that the chapters which follow will reveal a relationship not only between population, the law and the environment, but also the relationship to the environment of governmental policies in such areas as abortion, immigration, education, and economic regulation.

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