Unsustainable development

Visualization of narrower problems
Environmentally unsustainable development
Failure to recognize ecological limits
Unsustainable development now compromises the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Global warming, destruction of the ozone shield, acidification of land and water, desertification and soil loss, deforestation and forest decline, diminishing productivity of land and waters, and extinction of species and populations, demonstrate that human demand is exceeding environmental support capacities. The annual increase in industrial production in 1989 is as large as that of Europe's total production in the 1930s. The populations of 74 countries are doubling every 30 years or less. Population growth increases poverty and deprived people are forced to undermine the productivity of the land on which they live. It is extremely difficult for people, or other species, to adjust to change at this rate.
1. The industrial way of life with its ethos of expansion is not sustainable. Its termination within the lifetime of someone born today is inevitable -- unless it continues to be sustained by an entrenched minority at the cost of imposing great suffering on the rest of humanity. We can be certain, however, that sooner or later it will end (only the precise time and circumstances are in doubt).

2. Natural systems function with numerous built-in limits which, if transcended, result in resource exhaustion, environmental impact, and degradation of person and planet. Such outcomes are clearly not sustainable.

(B) Basic universal problems