Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The environment vs. economic growth – The Sustainability Principle

How much can we use? Are there enough resources on this Earth to help sustain the current global population expansion all over the world? These questions and more are explored by scientists and professors to try and help know our limits. It is clear that us as humans need to globally expand but how do we know when to stop? In many opinions the rich are the ones to blame for overconsumption, others say that it is just the way it is and that it cannot be stopped and can just be controlled. My opinion is that the growth population is here to stay and cannot go away. If there was a law implied that restricted the number of children you can have, then I feel that is a violation against human rights. People will reduce the number of children only if they want too.

In the article Sex, food, and Climate Change the author points out many flaws with overpopulation such as: by 2080, 1.1 to 3.2 billion people will experience water scarcity, 200 to 600 million will be starving, and 2 to 7 million people each year will experience coastal flooding. It is also expected that the world’s population will plummet after 2050 because of famine, drought, disease, and war (ie. water wars?). Helmut Burkhardt said, “It’s important to expose the misconceptions that only overconsumption is the cause of ecological problems, and not overpopulation. A drastic reduction of the few overconsumers, and reasonable and just increase in consumption by the numerous poor will raise the world average consumption of resources in a planet already suffering from ecological stress near the tipping point.” This just goes to show that the world must be reminded that overconsumption must be reduced and it is because of us humans.

An ecological footprint is the effect one has on the earth, environmentally. As a country the United States create the biggest footprint in the world, followed by the United Arab Emirates, and then Canada. While these countries produce the highest amount of emissions countries like India still are not as technological and environmentally profound than developed countries.

However the world’s population will always be growing and some groups will try their best to try and reduce these numbers. The economy and money will always have an upper hand on society and such environmental groups. Instead of growing at 2.4 per cent each year, the economy would grow at 2.1 per cent annually if Canada met an ambitious, science-based emission reduction target. Canada's overall GDP growth is 2.2 per cent annually but policies implied by Environmental Minister of Canada Jim Prentice will not have enough of an impact on the environment. Also, with the world in an economic slump, the government of any country will not sacrifice their economy for the benefit of the environment. In other words, if the country can improve their economy by destroying a little bit of environment then they are going to do it.

Overall, I think the economy and the government has too much of a stranglehold on the policies induced. Overpopulation can only be controlled and I think that is the way it will be for years to come unless there is a policy that is effective and does not violate human rights.

References: York, Paul

Demerse, Clare


  1. I really like that your first sentence is such a big question, it catches attention because everyone would like to know the answer. Also, I can't believe that we all used the same article, it was a very good article though. Nice addittion of the other group's topic of water wars too, it was a nice way of tying overpopulation into other problems.
    I completely agree with your conclusion as well, nice work Mike.

  2. Mike, I like that even though you all did the same article you each covers different points. You gave lots of information and quotes from the original article which helps the reader understand the authors point and then supplemented it with reference to the sustainability principal. Good job.

  3. Mike

    I really enjoyed reading this blog post. You had a strong opening paragraph which really intrigued readers into wanting to know about your topic. You backed up all your points with relevant information which strengthened your argument.Your right, there are not " enough resources on this Earth to help sustain the current global population expansion" and i think you discussed that problem very well throughout your blog. Great Job!