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Growing human populations can threaten the natural environment, in that people affect the environment, and numerous people affect it profoundly.  The interface is complex, however.  Population change and environmental change do not have a simple ‘cause and effect’ relationship.
Population structure and migration patters, driven by social and political factors, are closely linked to inequality and poverty, and these conditions also influence the environment in important ways.  They define production and consumption patterns, and the manner in which natural resources are used.  Resource use increases as populations grow and as their aspirations, values, and socio-economic status change.  A rise in socio-economic status not only causes increased consumption, but also frequently results in the distancing of people from their natural resource base, which in turn, lowers their awareness of the consequences of over-consumption.
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This page was last updated 04/06/2007