Is the environment really in trouble? Are ecosystems on the verge of collapse? Wealthy, industrial countries take for granted that clean air regulation is working, that a supply of safe drinking water will always be available and that safe food is 98% guaranteed. However, a look at some harsh environmental facts will clearly show that such suppositions are precarious. Turning the tide on mounting environmental problems is the only way to prevent a bad situation from becoming steadily worse.
Get the facts on the state of the environment. Knowing industry's, government's and your own role in the environment's sustainability is the first step in recognizing that you may need to make some changes in the way you live, the products you buy and the politicians you support. There is no room for public complacence. Only responsible consumerism, smart voting, and greener living will secure a future of a healthy planet.
• Every day we lose more than 3,000 acres of productive farmland to sprawling development. Today, more than 75 percent of our fruits and vegetables are produced near urban areas, directly in the path of development. The Amercian Farmland Trust
• A 1998 survey reports that 70% of scientists believe that during the next 30 years as many as one-fifth of all species alive today will become extinct. Unlike past mass extinctions, the current one is the result of human activity, and not natural phenomena, say the scientists. Furthermore, they believe that the destruction of species and ecosystems is a formidable threat to the health of the planet and to humanity's own well-being and survival. The American Museum of Natural History and the Louis Harris Research Firm
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates pesticides contaminate the groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water for more than half the country's population.
• Several scientists have put the FDA on notice about the potential dangers of genetically engineered foods, but instead of responsible regulation, the FDA's policy on genetically altered foods is to treat them no different than naturally produced foods; they will not be safety tested; they will not carry labels stating that they have been genetically engineered. The FDA has placed the interest of a handful of biotechnology companies ahead of their responsibility to protect public health. By failing to require testing and labelling of genetically engineered foods, the agency has made consumers unknowing guinea pigs for potentially harmful, unregulated food substances. Dr. Philip Regal, Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at University of Minnesota; Organic Consumers Association; Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the International Center for Technology Assessment
• 5 percent of the world's population lives in the U.S., but Americans produce 50 percent of the world's waste. National Recycling Coalition
• Currently nearly 78 million people are added to the World's population each year. The current explosion of our planet's population leads to the conversion of natural lands for living space and increased consumption -- severely stressing the ecosystems that have traditionally supported human societies. Ultimately at risk are the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soils and seas that feed us, and the living creatures that give us medicines and countless other products. U.S. Census Bureau, Conservation International
Left your refrigerator door open for 6 years
Left your bathroom light burning for 30 years or
Left your color television turned on for 28 years -Sierra Club
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Revised June 17, 2002. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org