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Letter to the editor: Limits to growth must be honored
Letter to the Editor generic

Dear Editor,

Fifty years ago, during the emerging worldwide environmental movement, a landmark book, “Limits to Growth” [LTG], resonated with the ideals of a younger generation as its members confronted harsh evidence of urban blight, environmental contamination, and abusive exploitation of the powerless, both in the U.S. and beyond.

LTG provided inspiring possibilities for advancing policy-making by applying ecology, demographics, and computer-assisted analytical methods to empower equitable, pragmatic solutions to humanity’s chronic growth problems.

Using innovative computer- modeling, LTG predicted some of the most troubling predicaments we’re now facing, since recommendations for rational use of earth’s resources were too seldom adopted — overcrowding and growing hostilities among human groups as critical resource systems are increasingly degraded, threatening vital life-support systems.

We have witnessed the disturbing realization of LTG’s warnings, with the damages caused by massive human activities intensifying in the intervening decades. Not only has population doubled since 1970, but globally spreading fossil- fuel dependent development has greatly amplified the perils — now culminating in the climate crisis.

Such growth-limits are particularly decisive on barrier islands like Tybee and Saint Simons, where geographic boundaries impose unconditional capacity constraints — limits that are now being further violated as excessive growth continues.

With 5,000 additional building- sites slated for development on the north end of Saint Simons, the island’s urbanization will escalate, degrading environmental quality and endangering inhabitability with increased flooding and storm damage.

To achieve a desirable future we must cultivate communities that honor our planet’s sustainable limits, while permanently abandoning the reckless fantasy of boundless opportunism. 

David Kyler, Co-Founder and Co-Director Center for a Sustainable Coast, Saint Simons Island, Georgia

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