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By Costanza, Robert

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FURTHER READING Myers, N. and J. Kent. 2004. The New Consumers: The Influence of Affluence on the Environment, Island Press, Washington, DC. Myers, N. and J. Kent, eds. 2005. The New Gaia Atlas of Planet Management, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 5 Chemical Pollution The major forms of chemical pollution include radioactive compounds, heavy metals, and a wide range of organic compounds of human origin. Out of the 80,000 chemicals in commerce, 1,000 are known to be neurotoxic in experiments, 200 are known to be neurotoxic in humans, and five are known to be toxic to human neurodevelopment.

This basic model from economics is still widely used today by biological scientists. Malthus’s model is beguilingly simple and, consequently, demographic history never quite supports it precisely. Yet periodically in specific places, Malthus’s model has been confirmed, and history may yet confirm it ­globally. Few question whether population must ultimately stabilize in order to sustain human well-being at a reasonable level. The expansion of human populations into previously unpopulated or lightly populated regions, the intensity with which firewood is collected, and the push to increase food production through modern genetically engineered, agrochemical, monocultural techniques, so harmful to biodiversity, are driven over the long run by population increase.

These models have been touted by environmental scientists concerned about population growth, excessive consumption, and environmental ­degradation, and have been argued against by mainstream economists. During most of the twentieth century, economists built new models with ­different assumptions in combinations that support beliefs in unlimited material progress. 4 Sadi Carnot, Rudolf Clausius, and Thermodynamics Sadi Carnot (1796–1832) founded thermodynamics with his classic 1824 study of the efficiency of steam engines, Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire.

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