There are very close and intricate interrelationships between population, resources, environment and development. Changes in one affect the others, positively or adversely. Some of these changes are immediately visible, others may take a long time before they can be discerned.
In the past, in our pursuit of development, too much emphasis was placed on economic growth and not enough on the environmental impacts of such growth rates and patterns. To achieve this “growth” the earth’s resources were plundered, with little thought for the future. We can easily observe the extent and magnitude of numerous disturbances at global, regional, and national levels. For example, biological diversity is rapidly diminishing, and this will undoubtedly have a major impact on food availability and health for future generations. Ozone depletion, climatic changes, accelerated desertification, rapid deforestation in the tropics and sub-tropics, and extensive pollution of our air and water resources are all major environmental problems humankind is facing at present because of some of our past unsustainable actions and practices.
This book brings together the ideas and thoughts of some of the leading international statesmen, political leaders, economists and environmentalists, on the complex interlinkages between ‘earth and us’. The various chapters examine aspects of the nexus between population, resources, environment and development, and outline their views on what can be done in the future. Thus, this book is designed to complement existing texts which deal with similar subjects, such as Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000. Our Common Future, and other important publications by the various United National Agencies, World Bank, World Resources Institute and Worldwatch Institute. The book will contribute to the overall debate for the further clarification of various complex environmental issues, and also enhance the environmental consciousness of the world.
Edited by Mostafa Kamal Tolba and Asit K. Biswas, 1991, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 107 pages.