Underlying nearly all environmental problems is the rapidly increasing human population. Ultimately, we cannot expect to solve environmental problems unless the total number of people on Earth is an amount the environment can sustain. We believe that education is important to solving the population problem. As people become more educated, and as the rate of literacy increases, population growth tends to decrease.
Finding solutions to environmental problems involves more than simply gathering facts and understanding the scientific issues of a particular problem. It also has much to do with our systems of values and issues of social justice. To solve our environmental problems, we must understand what our values are and which potential solutions are socially just. Then we can apply scientific knowledge about specific problems and find acceptable solutions.
Sustainability is a term that has gained popularity recently. Speaking generally, it means that a resource is used in such a way that it continues to be available. However, the term is used vaguely, and it is something experts are struggling to clarify. Some would define it as ensuring that future generations have equal opportunities to access the resources that our planet offers. Others would argue that sustainability refers to types of developments that are economically viable.