The Economist article, "Our planet isn't such a bad place after all," in the Feb. 4 Star Tribune was deceptive and misleading about measuring success on our planet.

When considering how well the planet is doing, it is imperative to look long-term and biggest picture. This picture needs to include the global rate of consumption of natural resources and the population growth rate. Certainly there are individual examples of how some conditions for humans have improved, as mentioned in the article. But even if millions of people have been removed from poverty, all victories are temporary without addressing population growth and the increased consumption it fuels.

Those limited to only an economic perspective have a false and misleading take on the future of humankind. This article dupes us into cheering for temporary improvement of people's lives without addressing whether this improvement is sustainable in the long term. To measure true success, we must consider how fast we are consuming our natural resource base.

Right now we know that we are gaining more people than we are losing -- by 9,000 per hour and 200,000 more per day. This adds up to more than 70 million additional mouths to feed, clothe, shelter and provide with health care and a decent job -- each year. None of our primary resources can keep up with this pressure. All of Earth's systems are stressed, to the point of already creating tremendous weather pattern disruptions.

Many countries are making exciting strides to both reduce consumption and stabilize population. Humanely addressing both of them is a truly winning combination.

We are optimistic in our outlook for humankind because we are convinced that, as tens of millions of Americans learn these realities, they will reject the false and misleading statements from the deceptive economic prognosticators of our society.

We will have meaningful success when enlightened Americans and their leaders work to humanely stabilize human numbers to reach a sustainable balance with Earth's resources.

Karen Shragg is a naturalist and David Paxson is president of World Population Balance in Minneapolis.