Dick Smith’s Population Crisis

Dick Smith’s Population Crisis

Dick Smith, Allen & Unwin

This well known personality writes on what he calls “the dangers of unsustainable growth forAustralia”. Having heard the debates on climate change and after seeing at close hand the changes to the earth’s environment he raises the serious issue of the overall effects of the exponential growth in the overall population on our planet.

We used to believe that the needs of the poorest in the world could be overcome by improving the distribution of the means of life whereas there are now serious concerns about the capacity of the world to meet these needs.

He sees the answer in the aspirations of all people being directed towards “a better quality of life, rather than a greater quantity of goods”, as well as a reduction in the number of children we are adding to an already crowded world. Dick Smith, the adventurer, is frank in admitting to his contribution to the reduction in the limited supply of fossil fuel as a result of his world travels.

He sums up the position prevailing in society by quoting Prof. Tim Jackson, “We are being persuaded to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to create impressions that don’t last, on people we don’t care about.”

The author points out that this is not a new issue. Forty years ago James Lovelock was among the early pragmatists when he wrote, “increasing human population threatens to impact the previous balance of forces that make the earth conducive to life”. Dick Smith’s book is a timely warning of the threat to earth, which we ignore to the peril of future generations.

John Atkinson

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