When Poverty Prohibits Conservation

Reader Contribution by Staff
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We in the developed world consume far more than we need. We are fat, we drive big cars, we throw away whole households of valuable goods because we’re spoiled and we can afford to buy something new rather than preserving or repairing what we have. Our bad habits damage our environment.

But conservation is not going to save our habitat. Global warming, deforestation, desertification and pollution are all products of overpopulation. The poorest people don’t have the option of leaving the nearby forest standing, or keeping their goats off of an overgrazed pasture. For the world’s poorest people, every scrap of land is part of a thin barrier between life and death. They must use every resource available to keep themselves and their families alive. That’s the grim reality at the heart of human population growth. At some point we all end up there, struggling to sustain our lives regardless of the consequences for our community or our habitat.