The authors of your textbook, Botkin and Keller, posit that the increasing size of the human population is the fundamental cause of all environmental problems. However, in Chapter 3 of Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman provides an elaborate explanation of what happens “when flat meets crowded,” and in so doing, illustrates that our impacts on environmental resources has to do with more than just our sheer population size.
1. Explain Friedman’s statement that there are increasingly “too many Americans.” Can you think of any of your own examples of this basic phenomenon (if not, just incorporate one of Freidman’s examples into your explanation)? Be sure that you make the link to environmental issues clear in you answer.
2. What barriers exist to solving this problem (of “too many Americans”)? If you were the Ruler of the Universe, how would you solve it?
This issue of affluenza on a global scale is tremendously important to understand. It also illustrates that environmental problems can’t be addressed by science alone; solving them requires a consideration of many social, political, economic, and moral issues as well.