I really enjoy having my students read this article from Wired Magazine. We usually use it as a resource on a debate about the environment or over-population concerns. Here is the beginning of the article.
By Ed Regis
The environment is going to hell, and human life is doomed to only get worse, right? Wrong. Conventional wisdom, meet Julian Simon, the Doomslayer.
This is the litany : Our resources are running out. The air is bad, the water worse. The planet’s species are dying off – more exactly, we’re killing them -at the staggering rate of 100,000 per year, a figure that works out to almost 2,000 species per week, 300 per day, 10 per hour, another dead species every six minutes.We’re trashing the planet, washing away the topsoil, paving over our farmlands, systematically deforesting our wildernesses, decimating the biota, and ultimately killing ourselves.
The world is getting progressively poorer, and it’s all because of population, or more precisely, overpopulation. There’s a finite store of resources on our pale blue dot, spaceship Earth, our small and fragile tiny planet, and we’re fast approaching its ultimate carrying capacity. The limits to growth are finally upon us, and we’re living on borrowed time. The laws of population growth are inexorable. Unless we act decisively, the final result is written in stone: mass poverty, famine, starvation, and death.
Time is short, and we have to act now.
That’s the standard and canonical litany. It’s been drilled into our heads so far and so forcefully that to hear it yet once more is … well, it’s almost reassuring. It’s comforting, oddly consoling – at least we’re face to face with the enemies: consumption, population, mindless growth. And we know the solution: cut back, contract, make do with less. “Live simply so that others may simply live.”
There’s just one problem with The Litany, just one slight little wee imperfection: every item in that dim and dreary recitation, each and every last claim, is false. Incorrect. At variance with the truth.
Not the way it is, folks.
Thus saith The Doomslayer, one Julian L. Simon, a neither shy nor retiring nor particularly mild-mannered professor read the rest of the Doomslayer article at Wired.com.