Some Useful Introductory Documents

Last updated: 08/29/00

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National Library for the Environment

People in the Balance: Population and Natural Resources at the Turn of the Millennium

by Robert Engelman, Richard P. Cincotta, Bonnie Dye, Tom Gardner-Outlaw, Jennifer Wisnewski (2000). A review of  "key data on population growth and the state of critical natural resources as the millennium turns." Sections on Population, Water, Land, Forests, Fisheries, CO2, Biodiversity.

The Third Revolution: Population, Environment and a Sustainable World

by Paul Harrison. Selected chapters from a 1992 book which provides a general overview of the entire subject of population and environment linkages with many sections devoted to examples around the world. the book argues that two past revolutions in the relationship between the human population and its environment - agricultural and industrial revolutions - will be followed by a third; a transition to sustainability.

Population and Environment Relationships in Developing Countries: A Select Review of Approaches and Methods

by Catherine Marquette & Richard Bilsborrow (1997). An examination of the diversity of perspectives taken by social scientists in the field. Recommendations on future research are made, with the particular suggestion that the discipline focus more on micro-level study, resulting in a more "bottom-up" approach.

Report of the Hague Forum on ICPD+5

A Febraury 1999 update on progress made toward implementing the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt.

Earth Summit+5: progress on the road from Rio 

A June 1997 update on the progress made toward implementing Agenda 21 which was adopted at the 1992 United Nations Confrence on Environment and Development (UNCED - the "Earth Summit") in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Strategies for Enhancing Food Security

by The Futures Group International. A slide show presentation on food security developed for the 1996 World Food Summit provides a general overview on the issue of food security, defining terms and outlining issues in the context of individual malnutrition, food availability and national economies. Prognoses and strategies are outlined. With charts, graphs, brief text and annotations

Population and Environment Linkages: Oceans

by Gale Mead Hey, 1998. Especially commissioned by the CNIE, this article is an introduction to ocean/population linkages. Basic terms are linked throughout to a glossary of marine terms. The article addresses pollution, disruptive fishing techniques, the transplantation of alien species, and global climate change. A companion article in abbreviated form, is also available.

Stabilizing the Atmosphere: Population, Consumption and Greenhouse Gases (1994)
+ 1998 Update: Profiles in Carbon: An Update on Population, Consumption and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

by Robert Engelman, Population Action International. This report addresses the effect of population upon the generation of greenhouse gases in general and carbon dioxide in particular. Acting from the viewpoint that the atmosphere represents a finite global resource, PAI's Engelman argues that stabilizing the world population "increases the likelihood that tolerable levels of individual resource consumption will be compatible with equity and a stable climate, and thus sustainable....Only global population stabilization will preserve the portion of the atmosphere available to each individual." The document includes seven charts, two tables, based on 1990 figures, the latest year with authoritative data on both population and industrial CO2 emissions by country.

Sustaining Water: Population and the Future of Renewable Water Supplies (1993)
+ 1997 Update: Sustaining Water, Easing Scarcity: A Second Update

Robert Engelman, Pamela LeRoy and Tom Gardner-Outlaw, Population Action International's report on fresh water resources and their relationship to population, health and development. The study is statistic rich and amply illustrated. Many regional examples are given, and strategies and policy - on a global and regional basis - are discussed.

Conserving Land: Population and Sustainable Food Production

by Robert Engelman and Pamela LeRoy Population Action International, (1995) This document explores the effects of population upon agricultural capacity in the present context of pest evolution, greater dependence on fossil fuel based technologies, the depletion of water aquifers, resource scarcity, and the possible degradation of soil quality. Supposing a leveling off of available agricultural land, the paper looks at the impact of growing human numbers upon a finite or degrading resource, and its effect upon food security. While acknowledging a less tenable connection between human population and land degradation, the document explores the possibilities that human ingenuity, coupled with a restriction in the rate of human increase, can lead to a sustainable increase in human population. The document is replete with illustrative figures, charts and maps, surveying population and agricultural use of the land from the eighteenth century to the present.


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