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close this bookPopulation, Land Management, and Environmental Change (UNU, 1996, 89 pages)
close this folder8. Global environment and population carrying capacity
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCriteria for sustainable development
View the documentScenario of sustainable development
View the documentSupportable human population
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences


Uncontrolled population increase appears as the biggest crime of humankind, because it induces both environmental and ecological destruction through excessive deforestation, urbanization, agricultural development, overgrazing, etc.

The development in the twentieth century, particularly after the Second World War, has accelerated towards a crisis of famine and even extinction of the human civilization, as a result of extreme consumption of natural resources.

Although sustainable development has become a common target since the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, this goal cannot be achieved without very severe controls based on a mutual understanding supported by a new philosophy. It will be impossible to continue the current prosperous, but aggressive, development that has been experienced in the twentieth century.