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The underlying reason behind most environmental problems is the linear flow of matter from mineral deposits, e.g. fossils, to the ecosystem in combination with human technology, forming new - and for the ecosystem - unknown molecules.

Since the earth is a limited system that will not grow in mass, and since the second law of thermodynamics tells us that everything will spread out, the inevitable conclusion is that everything that we dig up or synthesise, will in the end spread. Due to the principle of matter conservation it will then accumulate in the ecosystem in one form or another.

Five basic principles are:.

  1. Everything must be recycled in harmony with nature's cyclic systems. Thus, in the long term, the use of virgin materials (including fossil-fuel deposits) from below the surface of the earth must not exceed the very slow process of redeposition in the ecosystem. In practice, this requires a total ban on mining. Otherwise there will be a continuing accumulation of molecular waste in the biosphere.
  2. Prohibit production and use of persistent, non-natural compounds. We know from the slow process by which nature will break them down or put them aside as deposits, that these compounds will accumulate in the ecosystem and sooner or later reach toxic levels.
  3. Preserve the physical conditions of nature's diversity and capacity for primary production.
  4. Maintain a balance between what we require from an ecosystem, and its regenerative capacity. The turnover or metabolism of matter in society must be managed and adapted to the natural cyclic capacity.
  5. Reduce the use of energy to a level where the ecosystem can process the waste. This implies changing lifestyles in the industrialised world; powerful measures to bring population growth under control; and improving economical conditions in poor countries.

These conditions will be fulfilled when waste deposits cease to increase and when the spread of harmful atomic and molecular wastes no longer accumulate in the environment.

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