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The Earth’s resources are limited, but human ingenuity is infinite

The Prince of Wales has lamented that Earth just doesn’t have the capacity to “sustain us all” if more and more people consume natural resources at “Western levels”

Credit:
Stephen Hayward

It was in Malaysia that I first experienced what I now dub “anti-human environmentalism”.

Sitting in the country’s ministry of energy, technology, science, climate change and environment, a government scientist presented us with a two-axis diagram. The lines represented “the natural world” and “human activity.” As he laboured over all the environmental depletion we were purportedly responsible for, I tentatively asked: “Do you assume, then, that human beings are just not part of the natural world?” The silence spoke volumes.

Humanity faces huge challenges relating to our coexistence with wildlife, forms of pollution and risks associated with a changing climate. As economists might say, our activities…

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