Author(s): Shaw RP
Abstract Share this page
Abstract PIP: A proposed framework, which was introduced at the 1989 meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, included political constraints as well as population growth as a proximate cause with potentially important impacts on the environment in Paul and Ann Ehrlich's well-known PAT equation. PAT limitations are identified as the 1.2 billion people caught in the debt-poverty trap, less developed countries' balance of payments deficits, and "distortionary factors" that undermined economic incentives and contributed to mismanagement of resources. Such factors could be keeping farm prices low and have an impact on deterring use of environmentally sound traditional agricultural practices. Mismanagement of public lands occurs when large commercial enterprises or large scale mechanization displace population onto marginal or less productive lands. Intergroup warfare is a new form impacting on the environment. In Burma loggers are authorized to clear cut large tracts of teak forests in order to ferret out Karen guerrillas. Over 15 million refugees were thus displaced and forced to live in encampments that require trees for shelter, firewood for survival, and overgrazing of livestock. Social and economic environments are also undermined by "dependency" factors such as trade protectionism, brain drain, and limited foreign aid. The Group of 77 Non-Aligned Developing Countries proposed that discussions of the links between population and the environment be omitted from the agenda of the 1994 UN Conference on Population and Development. Basic clarifications are needed to distinguish ultimate versus proximate factors and current versus future concerns. The debate ignores distribution patterns, migration, or changing age structures. The debate blames unjustifiably rapid population growth as the ultimate cause of global environmental degradation and links population growth to a host of other social problems such as famine and refugees, while ignoring civil unrest. The evidence suggests that population limitation will probably prevent environmental degradation in poor, resource constrained countries from getting worse. Resource conservation will remain unaffected. The World Bank proposes National Environmental Action Plans or the Cleaver Schreiber proposal for a "nexus strategy" for balancing food supply and population in Africa.
This article was published in Environ Impact Assess Rev
and referenced in Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications