Why is the human race apparently destroying the eco system that sustains it?
This is a very difficult question and as such can have some very difficult and disturbing answers. The bottom line is that the human population of the Earth has expanded to the breaking point. Through various means, the controls on the population have been relaxed. There are rarely large scale conflicts that result in the loss of any real percentage of a population. Disease, even disease as deadly as AIDS, do not kill sizable populations as they once did (the Black Plague killed an estimated 1/3 of the population of Europe).
The good news is that people are healthier today than at any other point in history. Healthy people multiply and thus the population of the Earth is rising in huge numbers, especially in the less developed portions of the planet. Population in the first world is stagnant, but the Third World has boomed. Overpopulation
Overpopulation has been disastrous for the planet. Greater populations have polluted and consumed more, ruining the environment and creating or intensifying a variety of problems. Also, with the food supply limited, increases in population make shortages in many parts of the world even worse.
It is predicted that the population of the Earth will increase by 40% over the next fifty years.Population Boom
But scientists say conventional agriculture currently causes significant environmental damage, too. There’s erosion; release of CO2 (a greenhouse gas) from the soil to the atmosphere from plowing; run-off of agrochemicals like fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides that pollute rivers, lakes and the ocean; and harm to farm workers from pesticides.
Some experts say genetically modified (GM) crops could bring a "Doubly Green Revolution:" Green in the sense of growing food to feed the world, but also "green" in the sense of reducing agriculture's negative impact on the environment. Genetic engineering could go beyond conventional engineering to produce higher-yield crops. Some GM crops already in use require less pesticide than conventional crops and some seem to be reducing soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions.
With current technologies, even if 100% of the Earth's surface is farmed, we cannot feed that many people according to that article.
As the saying goes: something's gotta give.
One interesting observation is that the eco-system of the world's most developed country (the United States) is on the rebound. The US is more forested today than it was 100 years ago. In most respects, the natural environment in the United States is better than is was 100 years ago.Can anything be done to mend the damage being caused?
There are several things we can do, each more controversial than the last. Genetically modified foods are one thing. These crops require less fertilizer and less insecticides to grow. This leads to less environmental impact.
Population growth must also be addressed, but who is in a position to do so? Only each individual country can address what the optimum population is and the leaders of these countries are woefully ill-prepared to make such determinations. Who bears the responsibility for the environment?
It is a collective responsibility, but one that is hard to "pin" on anyone in particular. There is no one person (or group) to blame. There is enough blame to spread around. However, the fragmented governance of the world does not lend itself to easy answers. It is difficult to blame those who are born into abject poverty, but these people are as much to blame as the evil industrialized citizens of the planet.Should the international community seriously consider population reduction?
A very difficult question. Certainly, the world cannot support the population growth that is projected. We all know who will get first dibs on the increasingly scarce resources of the planet: those with money. Eventually, there will be mass starvation in parts of the planet if this trend continues. However, there is no mechanism in place to limit population growth.