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Sustainability Ethics: World Population Growth and Migration

John Cairns


Published: 2004/12/01


Large demographic shifts will have many effects on the quest for sustainable use of the planet. Using Garrett Hardin's simile, which portrays Earth as a lifeboat, achieving sustainability requires dispassionate, objective appraisal of the rate at which additional people can be taken aboard without sinking the lifeboat. However, the world population increase is not uniform among countries, and the growing rate of international migration from countries that have a high fertility rate to countries with a more equable rate is spreading the ecological threat contingent on over-population to all habitable regions of the globe.