Letter: Humans overusing Earth's resources

Metro-North railroad recycling center at Irvington train station.

Metro-North railroad recycling center at Irvington train station. (May 16, 2012) (Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

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Peter Goldmark's column "The age of scarcity is upon us" [Opinion, Aug. 5] depicts a very depressing picture of what our future will look like if we do not begin to consume less, recycle more and make a concerted effort to use our resources more efficiently.

These things must be done because even though we continue to assume that there is still, and always will be, a "widespread availability of cheap natural resources," the reality is, as Goldmark points out, "what used to be plentiful is becoming scarce."

Another factor should really make us take notice: As of 2008, humans were outstripping the Earth's biocapacity by 50 percent, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Biocapacity is the amount of renewable resources the Earth can provide. In other words, it takes the planet 1.5 years to restore what humans burn through in a year. We are using our scarce resources faster than they can be replenished.

How much longer can this trend continue until we will be forced to conserve, recycle and reduce our seemingly unquenchable dependence on our scarce resources?

Dennis N. Franco, Massapequa Park

Editor's note: The writer is a retired New York City science teacher.

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