To Live on Earth: Man and His Environment in Perspective

To Live on Earth: Man and His Environment in Perspective

To Live on Earth: Man and His Environment in Perspective

To Live on Earth: Man and His Environment in Perspective

Excerpt

After dozens of books and hundreds of articles during the past few years, why still another publication on man and his physical environment? The reason, as people in Resources for the Future see it, is that the basic problems have not yet been put in perspective in quite the way that will best help the concerned citizen to form opinions on the short-and long-range choices that will have to be made.

In the long run there is no answer to the argument that control of population is the key to man's survival on his planet. Even the lowest rate of increase, if projected far enough into the future, points to discomfort and finally disaster. But there may be shorter cuts to extinction; for the first time in human history advances in technology have enabled man to make rapid and far-reaching changes in his environment. Some seem good, or at least harmless. But alterations in climate, extreme degradation of water or air quality, nuclear contamination, or general impairment of intricate life-supporting systems could bring the gravest consequences.

Thoughtful and eloquent writers have pointed out these dangers. Their contribution to the chances of human survival has been great; without it the current widespread concern with environmental problems might have been longer delayed. On the other hand, some may have overshot the mark with too gloomy a picture for the public to accept. Prophets seldom pause to weigh all the pros and cons. Moreover the more extreme warnings have called forth a counterbarrage. Persuasive, often cogent, cases have been made, some generally affirming the promise of economic growth and technological advance, and some uncritically defending the status quo, or more specifically, the use of this or that pesticide or industrial process or product.

What can one believe, or, more to the point, how can he participate intelligently in the public decisions that will have to be made in the immedi-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.