We have an environmental crisis because we have a people crisis

Essay by spade3A+, April 1997

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'We have an environmental crisis because we have a people crisis - a crisis of population growth, of wasteful consumption of resources, and a crisis of apathy and inaction.'

An environmental crisis is an emergency concerned with the place in which every human lives - the environment. A people crisis is an emergency with the community that inhabits the world environment. A crisis of population growth is a turning point where the environment can no longer sustain the amounts of people which it contains. A crisis of apathy and inaction is one where the human race cannot be motivated to solve the problems with the environment that they themselves have created.

The claim that we have an environmental crisis because we have a people crisis is valid

because our environmental problems have largely resulted from population growth, which has lead to apathy and inaction with regard to the wasteful consumption of resources.

Examples are the desertification of the Sahel in Africa, the one child policy in China and the mis-management of our oceans.

The Sahel is a strip of land that extends for more than 6000 kilometres across the southern edge of the Sahara desert. It stretches from Senegal and Mauritania in the west to Ethiopia and Somalia in the east. These nations are among the world's poorest.

The area is one of social and biophysical crisis because of the way the population are forced to live; they are destroying the productivity of the land. The alarming rate of population growth and ever increasing pressure on the land have initiated an expansion of desert-like conditions into the Sahel - a process called desertification.

Traditionally, the people of the drier, northern Sahel followed a nomadic lifestyle, constantly moving their herds of cattle, sheep and goats over large areas in the search...