Author(s): Cao S, Chen L, Liu Z
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Abstract Nature can survive without humans, but humans cannot survive without nature. Despite a clear understanding of this dependency, humans continue to exist in disharmony with nature, and our current environmental and human dilemmas reflect old problems with a long history. Societies have historically experienced many transitions from harmony between nature and society to a crisis of disharmony, followed by a subsequent transition from crisis to harmony. Such ecological crises arise when society no longer practices sustainable consumption of resources within the limits imposed by the environmental carrying capacity. Over the long term, the growth in human desires has always exceeded the growth in the environmental carrying capacity. Science, technology, and social institutions must all be improved to resolve the ecological crises that arise from this imbalance. This paper discusses how increasing understanding of the problem by the public and by decision makers is the key to minimizing the undesirable impacts of the coming bottleneck for sustainable development. Furthermore, we emphasize how this awareness must be translated into fundamental political and economic changes.
This article was published in Ambio
and referenced in Journal of Petroleum & Environmental Biotechnology