Academic journal article Science Scope

At the Breaking Point

Academic journal article Science Scope

At the Breaking Point

Article excerpt

In a recent article in Science News, it was estimated that humans currently consume nearly one-quarter of the Earth's land-based biological productivity. Our consumption of oceanic productivity is only slightly less (Perkins 2007). The world's population is growing by about a quarter of a million people each day, with an expected increase of 25% by 2030 (Kareiva and Marvier 2007). Can our planet bear the strain of supporting such a burden? Will there be any ecosystems left that are not significantly human-influenced?

Sobering articles and alarming predictions about the environment appear in magazines, journals, and the media daily. These warnings should not be overlooked and are a call to action for educators. Our students must learn to think of themselves as members of a global network of ecosystems, not part of a stand alone species that exploits the Earth's resources at will. The link between their well-being and their environment must be clearly understood and deeply respected. We must teach students to recognize how our actions affect other organisms as well as the Earth's landscape, and instill in them a responsibility to work toward conservation, restoration, and preservation of species and habitats. …

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