Sunday, March 16, 2008

Population Growth = Economic Growth

. . . And vice versa. This is why, despite growing eco-awareness and myriad new ecoproducts on the market, the environment is wilting. These two juggernauts — human population and the economy — go hand in hand.

Last year in my province, the population grew 1.4 per cent while the gross domestic product (GDP) roared ahead at over 6 per cent. Our new arrivals need homes, schools, jobs, food, transportation and energy. And everyone wants a higher standard of living.

Population and economic growth are steamrolling over green improvements, yet no politician dares curtail them. The two juggernauts will continue to steam ahead until we understand the vicious circle.

The graphs below (from show just how in sync global population growth and global economic growth have been for the last 140 years, since the industrial revolution really began impacting the world.

According to William Rees, a University of British Columbia professor who co-developed the ecological footprint concept, "Almost everything we are willing to do is aimed at keeping our SUVs on the road."

"We protect economic growth at all costs,"
he says.

His research, which is supported by United Nations analyses and other studies, shows that human consumption far exceeds what the planet can sustainably support. As Rees says, we need to "face the beast in the lair." Drastic measures are needed.

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