What will the planet look like in the future? What are the social, environmental, economic, and political implications? What is the role of governance? How will civil society respond to the challenges? These are just some of the many questions that dominate the field of interdisciplinary environmental studies in the face of a rapidly changing environment. Undoubtedly, the physical environment has undergone significant, natural changes throughout the history of the Earth. However, recently, with the explosion of human populations and the accompanying needs and demands, the rate of change and the magnitude of impacts have become worrisome and it is becoming increasingly evident that human activities are the driving force behind the changes that are taking place today. Whether it is food and shelter demands, our appetite for consumption or an addiction to fossil fuels, the accompanying consequences such as species extinction, deforestation, massive oil spills, retreating glaciers, environmental injustices, a diminishing ozone layer, conflicts over increasingly scarcer resources, droughts, floods, etc., demonstrate that our global environment is being pushed to its limits and vulnerable populations are already feeling the consequences of a changing environment. Will technological innovation and ingenuity coupled with increasing awareness and concern be enough to transform societies into more sustainable models of consumption and production?
An April 1, 2011, News Release from the University of Michigan:
World population will reach 7 billion this year, prompting new concerns about whether the world will soon...
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