Roger D. Revelle, Saltonstall Professor of Population Policy, said last night that the most critical limit to growth in the foreseeable future will not be consumption of non-renewable resources, but rather the use of renewable resources such as air and water.
Revelle said before an audience of about 100 in the Science Center that the means exist to conserve resources only if mankind would realize the need to do so. He blamed short-sighted world leaders for inadequate planning, especially for the failure to stabilize the burgeoning world population.
Energy for the Masses
He said that soaring oil prices will have a disastrous effect on developing economies, and that alternate energy sources, such as solar energy, will have to be improved and brought into mass use.
Revelle said that he felt disheartened at President Nixon's recent statements on making the United States self-sufficient in energy by the 1980's. He said this would mean isolating the U.S. from the rest of the world community.
"We have suddently realized that we are all passengers together on a ship called earth," he said. "And the essential thing about being on a ship is that we either sink or sail together."
Revelle said, "We must ask ourselves the age-old question, 'Will there be enough food?'"
"We made a decision about that when we lowered the death rates--there has to be enough food," he said.