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“The concern about the impact of rapid population growth on resource exhaustion has often been exaggerated,” states the National Academy of Sciences, reversing an earlier statement they made agreeing with the WorldWatch Institute.* So many are rebuttals against the WorldWatch Institute’s statements that one must take any of their many tales of “the sky is falling” with a healthy helping of salt. While one should most always err on the side of safety, a fine line lies between qualified policy making and zealous haymaking.

Clearly, issues exist which members of industrialized nations must consider when initiating far reaching ecological policy. Population, pollution, and expansion of foreign markets are closely woven into the current market structure. The Kyoto conference, while hailed by many as a bold, laudable movement in the right direction, sits and stagnates. This writer agrees with many aspects of the Kyoto conference. However, it too has significant drawbacks for developing countries. One outcome this writer fears is that certain countries unable to sustain a market economy decides instead to simply become the “dumping ground” for industrialized countries’ pollution credits in exchange for economic favors.

Following a model similar to the Kyoto model, this writer agrees that an equitable society can be maintained, but a “sustainable” society requires a more thorough definition. For instance, does the WorldWatch Institute purport to hold the absolute model in order to obtain “sustainable” levels of population growth, mortality rates, food distribution, etc? Only a consortium of industrialized nations able and willing to make rapid changes to policy will be able to keep pace with the changing data and technology that will enable a true equilibrium level. Unfortunately, industrialized nations do not have equal ability to change policy at a swift enough rate to keep pace with whatever remedy is proposed by other member nations.

In conclusion, this writer believes that he is living in a sustainable society. Furthermore, this writer believes that through moderate and responsible policy making, industrialized nations are able to better prepare for challenges of the future, should ecological ramifications materialize. Drastic, rapid policy changes only serve to feed yellow journalists and doomsayers. While the Kyoto treaty looks and sounds good, it has not been put into practice; it would be sensible to say that similar policies in the future must be given more thought and a wider window of implementation in order to succeed.


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