Forum > Environment Awareness > I=PAT

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 23, 2007

 

The organized environmental movement has been almost totally ineffective at protecting the environment since the mid 1980s. 

 

The big groups have been successful at protecting some resources in certain regions—staving off the drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge and gaining more wilderness designation in the Green Mountain National Forest are two notable successes in the U.S.A—but in terms of protecting the major ecosystems and the general environment, they have largely failed.

 

There are many other environmental crises including loss of species diversity, loss of natural resources like wetlands and forests, and the collapse of ocean fisheries. 

A large coalition of environmental groups in 1970 endorsed a resolution stating that, “population growth is directly involved in the pollution and degradation of our environment—air, water and land—and intensifies physical, psychological, social, political and economic problems to the extent that the well-being of individuals, the stability of society and our very survival are threatened.”

The connection between population growth and the environment is perhaps best expressed through what is known as the foundation formula or the environmental impact equation,

I=PAT.

What this says is that any environmental impact is the result of three factors; the size of the population, the affluence or wealth of that population and the technology or type of consumption that the population spends its wealth on.

What has happened is that environmental organizations have disregarded the population part of the equation and focused almost entirely on the technology part of the equation, be it driving more fuel-efficient cars or encouraging “smart growth.”

 Source: The Environmental Magazine

http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3734

 

 

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