Man's ability to adapt to a changing environment is very limited. His capacity to physiological adaptation is narrow and evolutionary adaptation is slow. Environmental pollution may thus be defined as a disturbance in the ecological balance causing loss of stability of the environment. The amount of energy involved in man's metabolism (and catabolic waste production) is small in comparison to the total energy fixed by the plants. Thus as a human animal, man plays a minor role in the overall physiology of the biosphere. But man as an inventive intellectual being dissipates 20 to 100 times more energy for his industrial society and his civilization than man does for his metabolic activities. By manipulating the environment and by dissipating civilizatory energy hydrogeochemical cycles become accelerated; an unsynchronized acceleration of individual cycles causes the uncoupling of some of these cycles and disturbs the geochemical parity of the biomass. The present industrial development and its interference with natural relationships counteract the indigenous forces of natural selection and may cause a partial and localized reversal in evolutionary trends because it decreases the diversity of natural ecosystems, enhances the entropy production and hence the instability of the environment. Unlimited growth in energy dissipation is incompatible with maintenance of ecological stability and high quality of life. The ecological constraints demand the alteration of human social and economic systems toward a stationary state where resources and materials have to be recycled.