Population: How much is too much?

March 4, 2011 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Jenny Goldie for this article from Australian Geographic.  See http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/population-how-much-is-too-much.htm

Population: How much is too much?

Peter Meredith
The human race keeps multiplying and environmental impact will continue to grow as a result, writes Peter Meredith.

NEAR WHERE I LIVE in the NSW Southern Tablelands, there’s a 400-ha rainforest reserve tucked away in a gorge. On weekends its four car parks are often chock-full and a stream of visitors make the hour-long pilgrimage from the visitor centre along a sturdy boardwalk to a waterfall.
Rainforest like this once covered nearly 23,000 ha in the area. Then cedar-getters and cattlemen arrived in the 1800s. Now three-quarters of it is gone and, outside reserves, much of what’s left is in poor shape. I recall what former NSW premier Bob Carr wrote 10 years ago in a Sydney Morning Herald article. His topic was population and its impact on wild places. “Over the next 100 years treasures like these will be erased from the planet, outside a few struggling game parks or tourist-trampled reserves,” he wrote. “Forests [will be] torn out, grasslands ploughed under, to meet the demands of this vastly expanded human presence.”

Humanity’s presence on this planet is a story of ceaseless growth. From the time our forebears took up farming, more than 10,000 years ago, population expansion has been unstoppable. Whenever we came up with an innovation, such as domestication, new crop varieties or irrigation, the numbers jumped; each advance made our food more abundant, its supply more dependable and our lives more secure.

To read the full story, click here: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/population-how-much-is-too-much.htm

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