August 20, 2017

The future of America

We are proud to present to our readers this special triple-sized issue of The Ecologist. It is dedicated to President Jimmy Carter. We feel that he shows signs of being the first statesman since the beginning of the Industrial Age to have had the courage and foresight to seek to apply—against considerable odds—socio-economic policies that take into account the physical, biological and ecological constraints to which economic activities must ultimately be subjected. His attempts to deal directly with these constraints are most significant, since their operation will largely shape the future of America.

In the first three sections of this special issue some of these constraints are examined by nationally-recognized experts in their fields, and in each case the implications for public policy are carefully noted. Key constraints examined include: population, climate, food, health, and water, mineral, and energy resources.

The last section provides an attempt to describe the sort of society into which America could develop if her socio-economic activities are effectively to deal with these constraints and if she is to avoid the large-scale discontinuities that otherwise lie ahead.

The contributors to this issue will meet at The New Atlanta Conference in the Urban Life Center, Georgia State University, from the 17th to the 19th of November. Their mandate will be to look at the future of America as a whole rather than in separate parts. We expect that the picture they paint of it will be critically examined by other scientists and scholars who may view it from a different standpoint. We also trust that their contributions will help Atlanta 2000 (a local citizens’ group to which the co-editors of this special issue act as consultants) to consider the future of their city and of their State in the wider context of their country and their planet.

The New Atlanta Conference is co-sponsored by four organizations: Atlanta 2000 (Dr. Robert Hanie, Executive Director), the Institute of Ecology of the University of Georgia (Professor Eugene Odum, Director), Threshold, Inc., of Washington, D.C. (John Milton, Chairman), and The Ecologist. The conference has been largely financed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Land-Use Coordination, the Office of Research and Development, and the Office of the Regional Administrator (Region IV, Atlanta).

Arrangements are being made to publish the proceedings of the meeting in book form for world wide distribution.

Edward Goldsmith and John P. Milton, Co-editors

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