In 1970 Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. Born out of that first Earth Day was a wide array of environmental laws including: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. But the most discussed subject of the time was human population growth. The first Earth Day saw a population that was half of the more than 7 billion people of today, and yet people then understood more clearly than now that runaway population growth and over-consumption were destroying the planet.
Today we live on the same-size planet with fewer untapped resources, yet we are blindly driven to extract every last gram of any marketable product with little regard to the consequences. Our consumptive appetites have grown with our population. We have more educated people, more access to birth control. We know more about global warming and are well aware of the fact that we are destroying our clean water supplies, denuding our lands and oceans, polluting the air we breathe and driving a human-sponsored extinction crisis around the globe, yet there is no societal commitment to halting the major cause of this tragedy.
The impact of human population growth is intricately tied to the health of the planet. For Earth Day this year try discussing the real issue — overpopulation.
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