14 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT LAW & POLICY
Two familiar similes help explain the environmental dan-
gers now facing mankind:
The ﬁrst is that of rearranging the deck chair on the Titanic.
While policy makers rearrange the deck chairs by playing the
circle game (the “T” component of Holdren’s equation) or urg-
ing passengers not to use them (the “A” component), the ship
that is planet Earth is sinking under the weight of an inexorably
expanding number of passengers.
The second is that of the human body. As one type of cell
(the cancer cell) expands exponentially at the expense of all the
other human cells needed for life, the whole living organism that
is a man or woman dies a slow inexorable death.
In the 1992 Presidential election, campaign workers posted
reminders that “It’s the economy, stupid.” Today, all those inter-
ested in saving the environment must put up posters reading,
“It’s the population, stupid.”
Endnotes: As the World Welcomes its Seven Billionth Human:
Reﬂections and Population, Law, and the Environment
1 See Jan J. Boersema, Environmental Sciences, Sustainability, and Qual-
ity, in PRINCIPLES OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES 9-10 (J. J. Boersema & Lucas
Reijnders eds., 2009).
2 Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 116 (1973).
3 International Programs – World Vital Events Per Unit: 2013, U.S. CENSUS
BUREAU (Nov. 3, 2013, 8:32 PM), http://www.census.gov/population/interna-
tional/data/idb/worldvitalevents.php (data indicates population increase of 2.5
persons per second); NAFIS SADIK, THE STATE OF WORLD POPULATION: CHOICES
FOR THE NEW CENTURY 7 (1990) [hereinafter THE STATE OF WORLD POPULATION]
(as cited in ROBERT M. HARDAWAY, POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT 17
(1994) [hereinafter POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT]); see also Naﬁs
Sadik, Three People Born Every Second–250,000 Daily, L.A. TIMES, Feb. 22,
1990, at 10 (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, supra, at 17).
4 THE STATE OF WORLD POPULATION, supra note 3, at 11.
5 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, WORLD RESOURCES: A GUIDE TO THE GLOBAL
ENVIRONMENT 316, Table 22.1 (1992) (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND THE
ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at 17); see also SANDRA POSTAL & BRIAN RICHTER,
RIVERS FOR LIFE: MANAGING WATER FOR PEOPLE AND NATURE 7 (2003) (2,000
cubic kilometers of fresh water consumed per year by global economy).
6 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, supra note 5, at 316, Table 21.2.
7 Call of the Wild: More Environmental Facts, UNIV. MINN. (Summer 2004),
http://cla.umn.edu/news/clatoday/summer2004/facts.php (last visited Nov. 3,
2013) (“1.5 acres of rainforest are destroyed every second”).
8 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, supra note 5, at 348, Table 24.2.
9 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, supra note 5, at 351, Table 24.5.
10 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, supra note 5, at 351, Table 24.6.
11 WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE, supra note 5, at 351, Table 23.2.
12 LESTER R. BROWN ET AL., VITAL SIGNS: THE ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS THAT
ARE SHAPING OUR FUTURE 124 (1996); DANIEL CHIRAS, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE:
ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE 5 (1991) (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND
THE ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at 17).
13 Dan Kulpinski, Human Footprint: Where Does All the Stuff Go?, NAT’L
trash-talk.html (last visited Nov. 3, 2013) (“Americans generated 251 million
tons of trash in 2006, the most recent year for which the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency (EPA) has data. Our per capita trash disposal rate was 4.6 pounds
per person, per day.”).
14 Michael Luke, Fresh Kills, NYC GARBAGE PROJECT, http://newyorkgarbage.
wordpress.com/fresh-kills/ (last visited Nov. 3, 2013).
15 Ralph Hamil, The Arrival of the 5-Billionth Human, FUTURIST, July/August
1987, at 36 (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at
17 Id; U.S. Population Growth, SURVEYSEZ.COM, http://web.archive.org/
growth.html (last visited Nov. 17, 2013) (noting that U.S. population growth
increases annually by the amount of people in the United States in 1776).
18 Hamil, supra note 15.
19 Currently, there are 7,122,017,290 people on earth. See U.S. &
World Population Clocks, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU (Nov. 3, 2013, 8:58 PM), http://
20 Actual estimates of the number of humans living today as a percentage
of the total number of humans who ever lived varies from 9% as reported by
the New York Times in 9 Percent of Everyone Who Ever Lived is Alive Now, to
75% as referenced in Carl Haub’s article How Many People have Ever Lived on
Earth. John No & Ble Wilford, 9 Percent of Everyone Who Ever Lived is Alive
Now, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 6, 1981, http://www.nytimes.com/1981/10/06/science/9-
percent-of-everyone-who-ever-lived-is-alive-now.html; Carl Haub, How Many
People have Ever Lived on Earth?, POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU (Feb. 1995),
(last visited Nov. 3, 2013)(“. . . at some time back in the 1970s, a now-forgotten
writer made the statement that 75[%] of the people who had ever been born
were alive at that moment.”).
21 “On average, U.S. household food consumption adds 8.1 metric tons of
[carbon dioxide equivalent] each year. The production of food accounts for
83% of emissions while its transportation accounts for 11%. . . . In the [United
States], for each kilowatt hour generated an average of 1.3 pounds of [carbon
dioxide] is released at the power plant. Coal releases 2.1 pounds, petroleum
releases 2.0 pounds, and natural gas releases 1.3 pounds. . . . U.S. fuel economy
decreased 4% from 1988 to 2009, down to 21.1 miles per gallon, while annual
per capita miles driven have increased 9% since 1996, to 10,045 miles. Cars
and light trucks emitted nearly 1.2 billion metric tons of [carbon dioxide], or
17% of the U.S. total.” CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS, UNIV. MICH., CARBON
FOOTPRINT FACTSHEET (2013), available at http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/
22 Stephen Stec, Ecological Rights Advancing the Rule of Law in Eastern
Europe, 13 J. ENVTL. L. & LITIG. 275, 334 (1998).
23 Lee M. Thomas, Adm’r, U.S. Envtl. Prot. Agency, Address at the National
Press Club: The Next Four Years: An Agenda for Environmental Results 6-7
(Apr. 3, 1985).
24 Donovan Webster, Sweet Home Arkansas, UTNE READER, July/Aug. 1992,
at 116 (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at
25 Id. at 112, 116.
27 Id. at 113.
29 GEORGE TYLER MILLER, LIVING IN THE ENVIRONMENT: CONCEPTS, PROBLEMS,
AND ALTERNATIVES 318 (1975) (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRON-
MENT, supra note 3, at 162).
31 Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978) (as cited in POPU-
LATION, LAW, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at 54).
32 Id. at 172.
33 Id. at 203-204 (Powell, J., dissenting).
34 Maria Goodavage, Battling Safe Windmills: Bird Deaths in Turbines Spur
Outcry, USA TODAY, May 27, 1993, at 3A (as cited in POPULATION, LAW, AND
THE ENVIRONMENT, supra note 3, at 37).
continued on page 59