For many environmentalists, the world seems to be getting worse. They have developed a hitlist of our main fears: natural resources are 1 out? the population is ever growing, leaving less and less to eat? species are becoming 2 in vast numbers, and the planet's air and water are becoming ever more polluted.
But a quick look at the facts shows a different picture. First, energy and other natural resources have become more 3 not less so, since the book 'The Limits to Growth' was published in 1972 by a group of scientists. Second, more food is now produced per 4 of the world's population than at any time in history. Fewer people are 5 . Third, although species are indeed becoming extinct, only about 0.7% of them are expected to disappear in the next 50 years, not 25~50%, as has so often been 6 . And finally, most forms of environmental pollution either appear to have been 7 , or are transient - associated with the early stages of industrialization and therefore best cured not by restricting economic growth, but by 8 it. One form of pollution - the release of greenhouse gases that causes global warming - does appear to be a phenomenon that is going to extend well into our future, but its total impact is unlikely to 9 a devastating (令人心神不安的) problem. A bigger problem may well turn out to be an inappropriate response to it.
Yet opinion polls suggest that many people nurture the belief that environmental standards are declining and some factors seem to cause this disjunction between 10 and reality.