Humanity’s future imperiled by cultural lags

Catton, William R. Jr.
Unpublished manuscript. Translation into German published in Natur und Kultur Vol. 1/2 (2000), pages 3-25

Human societies exploiting Earth’s ecosystems beyond carrying capacity make ideas about human dominion obsolete. Formerly successful policies become disastrous. Reliance on nonrenewable resources plus widespread overfishing, overgrazing and deforestation disrupts ecosystems. With six billion humans using Earth three ways (as supply depot, activity space, and disposal site) mutual interference between these uses escalates. Technological advances, once progressive, now enlarge per capita resource appetites and impacts, reducing the number of humans the planet can continue supporting. Sustainability requires enormous efficiencies, a period of “negative population growth,” and equitable exchange relationships between differently endowed regions or nations.