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A Call to Engineers Peter Cott, The problem we have explored is immense and complex, and the need for responses and solutions is greater than ever before. Two essential things must happen if what we have been discussing is to have any policy impact. One of them is a recognition of the need for structures both within the NAE and outside, in organizations to which those present here belong. The other is a larger role for engineers as societal leaders. We have spoken of engineers in two capacities—as professionals, and as societal leaders. It is in the latter role that more action is needed. Engineers have a capacity for much greater influence over policy than they are aware of or have chosen to exercise historically. They must intrude themselves actively in structures, in macro-and micro-systems through- out the world, and contribute to policy formulation in the areas of population, food, and resources. They should be on the boards of every organization addressing these prob- lems. My organization, like some others in the population field, has good people who are concerned, but we do not have a great deal of authoritative knowledge or posture. Engineers could provide that element of authority and per- ception. It is unfortunate that engineers are not usually members of the U.S. delegations at world conferences. Perhaps it is because they do not make their presence adequately felt so that they have the opportunity to be a part of these delegations. 39

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I want to make some suggestions for your serious con- sideration. First, there are areas where engineers must play a role—in public policy, the private sector, and funding. In a speech before the World Population Society in February l974, President Seamans identified the Congres- sional Office of Technology Assessment as a major mechanism wherein the knowledge and perceptions of engi- neers might be heard and be useful. It is equally obvious that such an office must be established at the Executive level and that engineers should be in the fore- front demanding it. Second, there is a real need for the NAE to amplify and energize its own structure to deal with the urgent problem of population and food imbalance. It should be the priority concern today for this organization and its sister organization, the National Academy of Sciences. Unless that structure is developed, this urgent issue will not be addressed as it should be and as it has been expressed here. Instead, it will be business as usual, starvation as usual, toppling governments as usual, and so on. Another matter needs emphasis. While engineers can identify the possibilities, probabilities, and the prag- matics of the technology of population and food balance, they must also identify its limitations. Here again, I speak to engineers as members and leaders of society, and not as professionals. Without their authoritative defini- tion of the limits, societal changes that are imperative to save spaceship earth will not be facilitated. Without new perceptions Americans will not feel compelled to reduce their consumption of food, energy or anything else. There is an obvious want of leadership in political cir- cles today. It will take other circles that society has historically relied upon—academic and professional cir- cles—to provide the leadership, and to provide this outcry. And, finally, to build bridges between the pro- fessional and societal roles, engineers must function fully committed in both roles. 40

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Charles M. Cargille* Excessive population growth—along with its many deleterious consequences—is the world's most critical long-term problem. Putting a man on the moon was simple compared to the problem of world population growth. Its solution will require more people, more computer support, more institutional strength, and more money and resources than were needed for the NASA space program. If COPEP wants to take a long-term view about potential food shortage beyond the next six to sixty years, then it must ask whether engineers can help to limit ex- cessive population growth and how this ought to be done. The present annual world population growth rate of 2 per- cent means that more than 76 million people are added to our planet each year. Each new person requires the basic necessities for life support, such as food and housing, from the earth's dwindling resources. The population problem is a far more complex issue than any other your profession has faced before. Medi- cine has failed to respond adequately to the population problem. Physicians and biomedical research scientists have failed not only to provide new, suitable, and safe contraceptives, but have failed to provide leadership. *The views expressed here are Dr. Cargille's personal views and not those of his organizations. 41

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The public health profession should have recognized long ago that population size is a principal determinant of the future state of the public health. So-called population research is behind the times, and it seldom deals with critical issues of population dynamics. Little attention is paid to non-demographic variables. In recommending what engineers and the NAE should do, I express hope in engineering as a problem-solving disci- pline. I offer three recommendations as part of a systems and engineering analysis approach to the population problem. First, the NAE should document the fact, and convince the public, that population size is a major determinant of the quality of our future existence. Second, the NAE should document that the present population research and administrative establishments are inadequate, and it should propose specific and sufficient changes to make these institutions adequate to solve population-related problems. Third, the NAE should devise a strategy to obtain large and sufficient resources for new talent, new institutions, new funding, and new objectives to deal with the population problem. More specifically, the above will require: (l) New definitions of population science and population research that are broader than those currently used in federal population research programs; (2) A technological assess- ment of the tools and adequacy of methods used in the population field. A systems analysis of the population establishment, its funding, and its deficiencies, could definitively document the reasons for its present in- effectiveness; (3) A multi-disciplinary approach to population research and programming; (4) An adequate population and environmental information gathering, re- trieval, analysis, and dissemination system; (5) New curricula in population education, multi-disciplinary in scope and management-oriented in context; (6) Multi- billion dollar funding for the population field in all of its aspects; (7) The selection of new and internationally acceptable goals. For example, one might consider that food, shelter, and other basic human needs should be provided at a sufficient level to each person to ensure his well-being and dignity. Another goal might be that man ought to survive, and in order to minimize the risk of extinction, he should take special steps to preserve the genetic pool which assures the well-being of future generations; and (8) An ethic of unity between all peoples to reduce and replace cut-throat competition that threatens 42

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famine and death for millions while the affluent become ever more rich. While recommending an active and principal leadership role for engineers and the NAE in the population field, I must caution that population is a sensitive science policy issue and that vested interests will oppose new initiatives. Engineers, both as individuals and through active partici- pation in NAE, can provide new leadership, but they should prepare for a long and difficult effort in the search for solutions—rational and humane solutions that will ensure the survival and dignity of man. 43

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