Road to Survival by William VogtThe author, conservationist William Vogt, is the Prophet in Charles Manns recent book, The Wizard and the Prophet. That book contrasts the environmental management world views of the conservationist versus the technologist. Vogts book, written in 1948,shows its age, but is important historically and as a point of reference for thinking about how we treat the world. He stresses two themes throughout: conservation of natural resources and control of population growth.
He is brash in his argumentation on both points. Indeed, his fervor is echoed today in the horrid scenarios painted by the global warming community. Vogts contention was that the planet could not survive the continued growth of population beyond the then level of 3 billion people. We are now at 7 billion, and growing; the planet is still surviving.
At heart, Vogt was a believer in Malthuss theory that the population would outgrow its food supply. Technology has staved off that outcome, so far, but Vogt believed that relief was short lived as we continued to degrade the basic productive capacity of our soil and other resources. He first makes his case on the United States experience, then reviews the even worse situation around the world. He drew on his own experience working abroad, as well as on current research, statistics, and interaction with scientists and policy makers. Key problems he identified were loss of topsoil by poor farming practices and crop selection, severe erosion, siltation of rivers, and loss of water supply. Additionally he cites loss of forest resources at home and abroad, and the scant attention paid to wildlife protection. All of these were problems domestically and worldwide.
While these problems could be addressed with dollars, trained resource managers and scientists, and education of the public, the underlying, difficult to address problem was overpopulation. His words and attitude are harsh. He refers to malaria and sleeping sickness as useful checks. He condones medical and food supplies to overpopulated areas to save ten million today so that fifty million more would die in ten years. Of one country he wrote, perhaps the greatest asset is its high death rate.
Another GoodReads reviewer has correctly noted that Vogt got a number of things wrong. His pessimistic predictions of the future are truly far off in some cases. For instance, he writes that China, quite literally cannot feed more people. While many did starve under Maos wild leadership, Chinas population today is higher. Laughably, in light of trade today, Vogt wrote, Foreign areas that can supply food are not likely to buy Chinese products in sufficient amounts to take care of considerably increased numbers of empty stomachs. Referencing India and China he wrote, Large external markets will not be available for the products of Eastern industry.
Making long term predictions can leave you hanging out there. Having said that, the truth remains that many of the worlds resources are finite. and that there is more to gain than to lose by managing those resources sustainably. Hyperbolically couched, that is the point Vogt makes.
He writes: At a time when our school system threatens to break down because we cannot pay teachers a decent wage, or support hospitals to care for the sick, we are urged to spend billions on people too stupid to stay off the flood plains, and on damming rivers that have got out of hand largely because of destruction of forests and grasslands. Anti-corporate voices will be pleased with his comment that, free enterprise must bear a large share of the responsibility for devastated forests, vanishing wildlife, crippled ranges, a gullied continent, and roaring flood crests. Free enterprise--divorced from biophysical understanding and social responsibility. However, the problems is more universal, for in Russia, the police state has not yet found the way to sound land use.
The Congress also comes in for criticism for it is heavily populated by lawyers who, know as little of biophysical law as the average biologist does of corporation law, noting that , they have still not learned that we need to know what we are doing. Amen.
Road to survival
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Road to Survival is a book by William Vogt. It was a major inspiration for the modern environmentalist movement. Road to Survival is a summary of the ecological status of the world. Vogt attacks capitalism, and describes United States history as a "march of destruction". The book is filled with scientific data, and its world-wide scope was unusual at the time. The book was commercially successful.
Thank you! An ecologist looks at the world -- and finds it in peril --peril from the psychology of waste which permitted exploitation of our basic capital wealth- land- with all that implies soil, vegetable matter, wild life, water, and so on. The exploitation has been political and economic. The best salesmanship in the world's history has put over the idea of the American standard of living, and the goal of Freedom from Want- and has practised a monstrous deception since the carrying capacity of land has already been stretched to a danger point, while modern agriculture, with its over-extension, has actually increased environment resistance. Static values are obsolete. Land is dynamic. The closest estimate of world arable land stands at 2,,, -- and is diminishing with increased mechanization, expanded industrial structure, rural prosperity at the cost of one third of the topsoil, and the existence of millions of ecological DP's.
William Vogt 15 May — 11 July was an ecologist and ornithologist , with a strong interest in both the carrying capacity and population control. William Vogt was born in Mineola, New York. After graduating with honors in from St. Stephens now Bard College , he was, among other things, an early opponent of marshland drainage for mosquito control and later assumed a series of positions that gave him the opportunity to further pursue his interests in birds and the environment. Later he served as Chief of the Conservation Section of the Pan American Union , through which he was given the opportunity to study the relationship between climate, population and resources in various Latin American countries.