Our task now is not to fix the blame for the
past, but to fix the course for the future.
John F. Kennedy
The Population and Consumption Task Force was created by the
President's Council on
Sustainable Development (PCSD) in July 1994. Over the course of the ensuing 14 months,
the Task Force followed guidelines established by the full Council with respect to the
development of goals and policy recommendations. Having begun its work approximately one
year after most of the Council's other Task Forces, a prodigious effort was required in order to
comport with an ambitious timeline established by the PCSD. Together, the nine Council
members who served on the Population and Consumption Task Force, were able to complete
their work on time and make valuable suggestions to the PCSD in deliberations of its final
These efforts would not have been possible but for the contributions of time, effort, and
resources by a number of individuals. First, the Council members wish to acknowledge the
invaluable contributions made by their staff liaisons - their work is reflected in this excellent
piece of work - and all members are grateful for their efforts. Second, the Task Force benefitted
from the diverse and knowledgeable citizens who, while not members of the PCSD, were
integral to the Population and Consumption Task Force and whose insights and suggestions
serve as the foundation for this report. In particular, the Task Force wishes to recognize the
contribution of Wade Greene, without whose support and guidance this report would not have
The Task Force derived much of its initial information and direction from suggestions made by
participants in three roundtables organized to explore population and consumption issues.
Jennifer Day, Jacqueline Forrest, Susan Martin, and Ellen Kraly were panelists at the first
roundtable which examined population related issues. Robert Repetto, Robert Williams, Candace
Skarlatos, David Gershon, and Vicki Robin provided valuable insights on consumption issues at
our second roundtable. At a final roundtable exploring policy alternatives related to both
population and consumption, Judith Desarno, Margaret Pruitt Clark, Jule Hallerdin, Michael
Teitelbaum, Roger Dower, and Norman Dean all offered outstanding suggestions that guided the
Task Force in its pursuit of goals and policy options.
Coordinating the Task Force's work at the PCSD's offices was a significant substantive and
logistical challenge. Our Task Force was fortunate to be shepherded through its work by Monica
Gonzales, whose hard work and good cheer were indispensable and who deserves a great deal of
credit for the Task Force's work. Monica was assisted in these efforts by her colleagues on the
PCSD staff. In particular, Peggy Duxbury and Alissa Schmeltz played a critical role in the final
production of our report. In addition, we want to thank Molly Harriss Olson, Executive Director,
and the rest of the PCSD staff for their support and guidance.
Early on, the Task Force made the wise decision to engage Judith Jacobsen of Boulder, Colorado
to conceptualize and organize three roundtable discussions to help guide its work. Judith
organized and moderated these roundtables with such skill that she was
called upon to help write the Task Force report. The final report
reflects the work and conclusions of the Task Force and any shortcomings
rest with the members. However, the plainspoken eloquence that we
believe characterizes this report are a tribute to Judith's commitment and excellent work. We are also grateful to Joanne Omang for her invaluable editorial suggestions
and executive summary of our report. The Task Force report was written
and edited with support from Public Interest
The Task Force wishes to acknowledge those who helped make the Task Force's work possible
The Task Force's roundtables were made possible by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur, Foundation. The Walter Orr Roberts Institute administered this grant and helped to
organize the roundtable discussions under the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior'
Take Pride in America authority. Cynthia Schmidt at the Roberts Institute did an outstanding j
in coordinating these efforts. The Task Force also wishes to thank the George Washington
University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the New
York Museum of Natural History for hosting our roundtables.