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Population and environment in Australia: issues in the next half century

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This paper considers the likely future population in Australia to 2050 and is cast within the context of environmental limitations, to which Griffith Taylor alerted the nation in the 1920s and 1930s, and for which he was vilified in several quarters. While acknowledging the relative accuracy of his long-range forecasts, the arguments here depart from environmental determinism, although varying sets of environmental ethics and values are considered in relation to Australia's global responsibilities and international commitments. It is argued that an increase in population to 26 million by 2050 will not place severe stresses on the physical environment, provided environmental and resource management strategies are put firmly in place, and if consumption and resource use practices are significantly modified. An ideological linkage exists between a resurgent Australian nationalism and a number of environmental perspectives, but one which rejects growth and biological diversity among humans while embracing environmentalism. This inward-looking nationalism-environmentalism is seen as harmful both to Australia's moral integrity as a nation, and in local and world citizenship.
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Keywords: Australia;; environment;; population futures;; sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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