Ethics. Research. Community.

Maintaining the habitable condition of the planet: balancing technological and ecosystem services.

Quality assurance (San Diego, Calif.). 
1998 Jan-Mar
[Record Source: PubMed]
Infinite growth cannot continue on a finite planet. One reason is that human society is dependent on a life-support system that is both technological and ecological. Ecosystem services (including regeneration of topsoil, maintenance of atmospheric gas balance, cleansing of water, and maintenance of a genetic library to meet climate changes, whether induced by humans or by nature) are provided by nature. In meeting the perceived needs of human society, the ability of the ecological life-support system to deliver services may be compromised. To prevent this, human society will have to undergo major changes in behavior. Change will be facilitated if a common sustainability paradigm is accepted to meet certain conditions and goals. The main goal is to provide human descendants with a habitable planet, and this entails protecting natural systems that provide necessary life-support functions. If this goal is accepted, then a number of supporting goals can be stated and the conditions necessary to meet these goals can be outlined.
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