Global Pollution: How Much Is Too Much?

Abstract

All people on our blue planet should have already asked themselves four questions: (1) How much global pollution can our planet tolerate and still maintain its biosphere sustainably? (2) Can humanity survive the predicted global climate change disaster with any quality of life? (3) What are the principal causes of our failure to retain a healthy life-supporting biosphere? and (4) What needs to be done to reverse the damage that has already been done by our species? There is already more pollution on our planet than we can cope with. This is most evident from the estimated rates of species extinction which are up roughly 10,000–100,000-fold due to human activities. All experts agree: We have too many people, consuming too many resources, producing too much heat and pollution in our singular common biosphere. We do not need more economic growth; we do not need more globalization; we cannot tolerate more consumption of resources, and we cannot continue to manufacture totally useless consumer products. In fact, we are forced to come to the conclusion that, to save the Earth for humanity, capitalism for profit as the primary driving force for achievement and personal well-being must be abandoned. Most importantly, our present excessive population must be drastically reduced as a prerequisite for long-term human survival. Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor for National Geographic Magazine; Emily Douglas, Web Editor for The Nation; and Andrew Revkin, Environmental Reporter for The New York Times on October 14th noted that our current policy makers “will be missing the most important piece of the sustainability puzzle if global health and population dynamics are ignored.” Ignoring these issues would mean “not only overlooking potential solutions but also multiplying the suffering of those already most at risk.” They go on to suggest that “population growth's effect on climate change lacks nuance.” After all, reporters writing about global population–environment connections face significant barriers to in-depth coverage, especially from the fanatical right wing of America and other nationalistic groups uninterested in the plight of others around the globe. Contrary to the teachings of their prophets, these people, including many religious zealots, refuse to acknowledge the global crisis we face. It seems clear that science needs to trump irrational thought if real progress is to be made. What are the challenges facing science and environmental reporters as they prepare to cover Water Air Soil Pollut (2009) 204:1–3 DOI 10.1007/s11270-009-0252-0

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Trevors2009GlobalPH, title={Global Pollution: How Much Is Too Much?}, author={J. T. Trevors and Milton H. Saier}, booktitle={Water, air, and soil pollution}, year={2009} }