Until a relatively short time ago, mankind looked upon the Earth and its resources as a limitless Cornucopia of goods and materials which would always supply our needs and adjust to all our abuses. We have began to see that it is perilous to all forms of life to ignore that the riches of the Earth can be overdrawn, it's air and water polluted, and its intricate ecosystems unbalanced .
As entire species disappear each day, we should see that somewhere down the line, we could well be next. Then the long process of natural restoration would begin again . . .without us. Given the ability to do such things as quickly wipe out millions of acres of trees and vegetation upon which we rely for the very air we breathe, the use, and the abuse, of natural resources becomes a question of human rights.
Does one person, or company, have the right to destroy a forest for lumber, or paper, or cattle grazing, when it will effect me and my neighbors and those that will follow us? We have to consider and answer these questions in meaningful and immediate ways or regret it. We believe the political social forms of New Liberty Village offer new opportunities to address these issues.
Nature plagued the world with a record number of disasters in 1999 but the death toll fell far short of the worst single catastrophe of the last 1,000 years, a Chinese flood that killed 900,000 in 1887. Munich Re, one of the world's largest reinsures, said that about 70,000 people were killed in well over 700 disasters this year, including up to 30,000 who died in floods and mudslides in Venezuela last week. Economic losses resulting from catastrophes surged to $535 billion per decade in the 1990s from $38 billion in the 1950s in price-adjusted terms, Munich Re said. Insurance losses have risen at almost twice that rate as worldwide insurance cover has increased. Alongside environment changes, urban growth and growing population density are causing the increase in catastrophe losses. A violent storm in a desert is a natural spectacle but it becomes a disaster if it strikes a town.
More than 15 million people died in over 100,000 natural catastrophes over the last thousand years, with some 3.5 million deaths this century alone. The total amounts to less than half the fatalities of World War II but excludes the unquantifiable millions who died of drought and famine. Contrary to the impression given by the record number of disasters and the thousands of deaths this year, death tolls seem to be declining. Improved early warning systems and protection systems are helping. Cyclones claimed well over one million lives in India and Bangladesh in the 18th and 19th centuries, and hundreds of thousands drowned in freak North Sea storms in the late Middle Ages.
This century's worst disaster was an earthquake in July 1976 that killed 290,000 people in the Tangshan region of northeast China. Economic losses at $5.6 billion were uninsured. Earthquakes are the biggest killers, accounting for 47 percent of deaths. Windstorms claim 45 percent, followed by floods with seven percent.
There are an estimated 270,00 known species of vascular plants. Of the species assessed, 33,798 species, or at least 12.5 percent of all known vascular plants, are threatened with extinction on a global level. These plants are found in 369 families and are scattered throughout 200 countries around the globe. Of these, 91 percent are limited to a single country - which links their potential for extinction to national economic and social conditions. Plants are the foundation of all life on earth, without which we cannot survive. As a first, broad look into the global conservation status of our world's flora, the information contained in the 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants is grim. When considered in conjunction with the findings in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, which revealed that 11 percent of all birds and 25 percent of all known mammal species are threatened, the implications are even more alarming.
Please visit Eco-Compass on-line at http://www.islandpress.org for an in-depth
examination of which taxa and families are affected, which species have become extinct and
which countries face the highest threats.
go to ....THE TERRIBLE TIME OF DAYan essay by Bill Mollison, 1981 (founder of the "Permaculture" movement)
Excerpt from ARK INSTITUTE by Geri Guidetti:
The Director General of the International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI), Per
Pinstrup-Andersen, presented a paper entitled, "The Role of Research in the Outlook for World Hunger."
"Modern science offers humankind a powerful instrument to assure food security for all without degrading the environment," he began. Since the early 1960s, food availability per person has increased nearly 20 percent and 1.5 billion additional people are being fed in developing countries. Modern science has transformed agriculture by increasing crop yields, thus sparing millions of hectares of forest and marginal lands that would have been converted to farm lands in an attempt to produce more food.
Despite this successful application of science to the production of food he cites:
million people live in uncertainty of their next full meal. And 185 million preschool
suffer compromised mental and physical development because of malnutrition.·About 80 million people
are expected to be added to the global population every year for the next 25 years. ·Global demand for
grain is projected to increase 55 percent between 1990 and 2020; for livestock products, 75 percent;
for roots and tubers, 50 percent.
As this years 80 million new mouths cry to be fed, it would
be wise to learn something about raising our own food and
even to become as food self-sufficient as possible. Pockets of food productivity tucked
here and there among the worlds cities and suburbs will
not only serve to feed when unexpected shortages or outright crop or delivery failures
occur, but to teach our children and others how to feed
themselves if the necessity arises. If nothing else, it serves to remind all of us that
plentiful food is not a given... Geri Guidetti, The Ark Institute.
RECOMMENDED LINKS /CAST YOUR VOTE ON RIGHTS ISSUES (under construction)
THE EARTH DISCUSSION GROUP I
|(Your Comment goes here)
I once was a proponent of spending less time and energy on space travel and more on hungry people here. 'We' can do both, and must. At one time, say around 1975, we may have had the chance to really reverse some of the effect that we were having on the environment and atmosphere that would be afflicting our lives detrimentally. That would have been cutting it close. Now I feel I have come to grips (better) with my idealism.
I think the world needs us, but not how we have been to the world. Our attitudes have to change in order to make it a pleasant place for all of us. People litter all the time saying that a few pieces of garbege just going around wont hert anyone. That is true, but since a lot of people think this, then a lot of people do this. Eventually it builds up to great depths. It is so easy to just recycle and to put things in the right places, but almost everyone is to lazy to do so. If you keep doing this, eventually we are all going to die because of litter. litter builds up and makes the air dirty, than plants and animals wont be able to breath and will die, which will leave us without any food to eat. We will starve to death. It is happening as you read this, so when you have something to throw away, please, put it in the right place. Kids do this all the time, but not there parents. The parents need to set a good example for us kids. thank you. Sarah Klein age 12
April 22, 1998
Un corazón palpita.
I occasionally listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, and overhear others talking about environmentalists as if there were absolutely no basis for their concern. This floors me! If anyone were to read with an open mind the findings and data of experts on our dwindling water supplies, the percentages of oxygen in the air, and the staggering loss of top soil, there is no doubt that if we continue our present practices, we are in BIG trouble. In fact we already are. It is as if some persons get a sense of being intelligent by denying that there is any problem.
I just read a statement by Bill Mollison, the founder of Permaculture. "Now all of this, including the energy problem, is what we have to tackle at once. It can be done. It is possible. It is possible to make restitution. We might as well be trying to do something about it as not. We will never get anywhere if we don't do anything. The great temptation, and one in which the academic takes total refuge, is to gather more evidence. I mean, do we need any more evidence? Or is it time to cease taking evidence and to start remedial action on the evidence already in? In 1950, it was time to start taking evidence and start remedial action. But the temptation is always to gather more evidence. Too many people waste their lives gathering evidence. Moreover, as we get more evidence, we see that things are worse than they had appeared to be."
Unless someone proves me wrong, I'm going to assume based on what I already know, that we better quit spoiling our forest, our water, and our topsoil, now, as fast as we possibly can. Jerry B.
From: Organic Federation of Australia Inc [SMTP:email@example.com]
Subject: [GE] QUOTES ON GE
" My worry is that other advances in Science may result in other means of mass destruction maybe more readily available even than nuclear weapons. Genetic engineering is quite a possible area because of these dreadful developments that are taking place there" Joseph Rotblat a British Physicist who won the 1995 Noble Prize after years of battling against Nuclear Weapons.
"In an ecosystem, you can always intervene and change something in it, but there's no way of knowing what all the downstream effects will be or how it might affect the environment. We have such a miserably poor understanding of how the organism develops from its DNA that I would be surprised if we don't get one rude shock after another." Professor Richard Lewontin, Professor of Genetics, Harvard University
"The process of genetic engineering always involves the risk of altering the genetics and cellular functioning of a food organism in unanticipated ways. These unanticipated alterations can result in GE foods being allergenic, toxic, or reduced in nutritional value". Professor John Fagan, award-winning Geneticist, Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA.
"At the moment, as is so often the case with technology, we seem to spend most of our time establishing what is technically possible, and then a little time trying to establish whether or not it is something we should be doing in the first place." HRH the Prince of Wales on genetically engineered food 19th September 1996 Royal support for genetic food withdrawal.
"We were the experts. We didn't have many of the answers ... Rather than explain that to a general public it was thought better to give the impression that we had everything under control, which we didn't and which we never have." Jim Hope, a scientist at the Neuropathogenics Unit, Edinburgh, on the earlier BSE crisis.
"I see worries in the fact that we have the power to manipulate genes in ways that would be improbable or impossible through conventional evolution. We shouldn't be complacent in thinking that we can predict the results." Colin Blakemore, Waynflete professor of physiology at Oxford University and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
"The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don't think we fully understand the dimensions of what we're getting into." Professor Philip James (author of the "James" report on the structure and functions of the proposed UK Food Standards Agency to oversee national food safety standards), Director of the Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, on genetically engineered food.
"I've come to believe that the potential power of genetic engineering dwarfs that of nuclear power; society shouldn't be carried away with fantasies promised by biotechnology promoters." Professor Liebe Cavalieri, of Environmental Science at State University of New York at Purchase
Scientists at an American Association for the Advancement of Science forum in Washington, DC in May 1998 warned of the potential risks of agricultural genetic engineering. Allen Miller, a plant virologist at Iowa State University, points out that transgenic plants will contain the viral genes in all their cells all the time, increasing the risk of recombination. "It's really hard to predict what's going to happen if you have a million acres all expressing a viral gene," he says. New Scientist March 1998
"Essentially unlimited health risks. "The Industry has been allowed to get these products onto the market without providing evidence of safety - which they cannot provide. " Prof. Richard Lacey : Microbiologist Leeds University
"Over the last fifteen years, I and other scientists have put the FDA on notice about the potential dangers of genetically engineered foods. Instead of responsible regulation we have seen bureaucratic bungling and obfuscation that have left public health and the environment at risk." Dr. Philip Regal, Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and an internationally recognised plant expert.
"Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A's [Food and Drug Administration] job." Phil Angell, Monsanto's director of corporate communications, in an interview with the New York Times Sunday Magazine
"Bacteria and Viruses have always formed a most effective biological underground. The Guerilla warfare through which they act on higher forms of life is only imperfectly understood. By adding to this arsenal freakish forms of life - prokaryotes propagating eukaryotic genes - weshall be throwing a veil of uncertainties over the life of coming generations. Have we the right to counteract, irreversibly, the evolutionary wisdom of millions of years, in order to satisfy the ambition and curiosity of a few scientists? This world is given to us on loan. We come and we go; and after a time we leave earth and air and water to others who come after us. My generation, or perhaps the one preceding mine, has been the first to engage, under the leadership of the exact sciences, in a destructive colonial warfare against nature. The future will curse us for it." End of his letter to: Science 192: 938 - 940. on "The dangers of Genetic meddling" Dr Erwin Chargaff
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