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Summary This paper looks at the controversial issue of climatic change In particular it develops the question of if and why earths climate is changing The roles of man naturally occurring trends and earths cycles are considered and an outlook for what can be expected in the near and distant future is given The uneasiness of modern man arises from a rupture between himself and nature that leaves him homeless within the universe William Barrett Introduction Over the past years most individuals have become acutely aware that the intensity of human and economic development enjoyed over the 20th century cannot be sustained Material consumption and ever increasing populations are already stressing the earths ecosystems How much more the earth can take remains a very heated issue Here a look at the facts sheds some very dark light In 1950 there were 25 billion people while today there are 58 billion There may well be 10 billion people on earth before the middle of the next century Even more significant on an ecological level is the rise in per capita energy and material consumption which in the last 40 years has soared faster than the human population An irresistible economy seems to be on a collision course with an immovable ecosphere Based on these facts alone there is grave reason for concern Taken further it is even more frightening to note that while man has affected the environment throughout his stay on earth the impact has been most intense in the relatively short industrial era Since the industrial revolution and over the past century in particular mans ecological footprint on the earth has quickly grown from that of a child to one of a giant True this period is heralded as an economic success story which it certainly has been However many argue that it seems increasingly likely that the path to mans success will soon slope downward
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