Economic Rights and Environmental Wrongs

Economic Rights and Environmental Wrongs

Property Rights for the Common Good

Rose Anne Devlin and R. Quentin Grafton

The crisis of environmental degradation has createcharemd an immense volume of literature which focuses on controlling environmental problems. Economic Rights and Environmental Wrongs goes one step further to extend and complement the current debates.

Chapter 1: Environmental Wrongs

Rose Anne Devlin and R. Quentin Grafton

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics

Extract

Page 1 1 Environmental Wrongs 1.1 HARM, HISTORY AND HUMANITY From just a handful of individuals a hundred thousand years ago, humanity will number over 6 billion by the year 2000 and is increasing at the rate of 250,000 people a  day. Every month we add to the world's population a city the size of Paris and almost all of this increase takes place in just 16 countries in Africa, Latin America and  Asia. This rapid rise in population is occurring alongside a dramatic increase in the consumption of all types of goods and services. Not surprisingly, our environment is  changing at a rate that would have seemed impossible just two or three generations ago. With a few exceptions, many wild populations of species and their habitats have diminished in size from just a few decades ago. Indeed, some important wild  populations which have sustained us for generations — such as fisheries — have collapsed and hundreds of animal species are in danger of extinction. We are losing  tropical forest at a rapid rate and hundreds of millions of people live or work in environments harmful to their health. Not so long ago, the suggestion that humans could  cause global climate change or that schoolchildren would be advised to stay indoors for protection during periods of intense sunlight, would have been viewed as  science fiction. The fact that humans affect the environment is not new. The practices ofsome prehistoric hunting societies may well have hastened the extinction of some large  temperate...

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