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As population and income rise, threats to the planet's ecosystems increase and become harder to deal with.
As people get to be richer (as is happening now in many formerly poor countries such as China), they want a higher material standard of living. They want cars and electronics. They want to eat more meat. All of these things require more energy and more of other resources to make and/or to run. This means that a growing population, particularly one that is getting richer, demands more in the way of resources. As they demand more resources, there is more pressure on the environment. It is also harder to deal with that pressure on the environment because it is impossible to reduce the population (in any ethical way) and it is hard to make them lower their demands for material goods now that their countries have finally become wealthier.
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