of the week
The yearly report from the
About the World Watch
Institute, on the Web at
"The Worldwatch Institute's award-winning research team takes a fresh
look at the most difficult challenge the world faces: how to build an
environmentally sustainable economy before we do permanent damage
to the natural systems that support our global civilization.
From the thinning of the Arctic sea ice to the invasion of the mosquito-
borne West Nile virus, State of the World 2001 [first edition was published
in 1984] shows how the economic boom of the last decade has damaged natural systems.
The increasinglyvisible evidence of environmental deterioration is only the tip of a much
more dangerous problem: the growing inequities in wealth and income between countries
within countries, inequities that will generate enormous social unrest and pressure for change."
Global Environment Reaches Dangerous Crossroads This link takes you to the
World Watch Institute's official press release concerning the State of the World 2001 report,
13 January 2001:
"Governments squandered a historic opportunity to reverse environmental
decline during the prosperity of the 1990s," said Christopher Flavin,
President of the Institute and co-author of the report. "If in the current climate
of political and economic uncertainty, political leaders were to roll back environ-
mental laws or fail to complete key international agreements, decades of progress
Facts and Findings This link takes you to an excellent summary of some
of the key facts of the State of the World 2001 report. Below is an excerpt
of an excerpt:
Debt Crisis: By 1998, the heavily indebted poor countries had international
debts of $214 billion-a huge sum for them, but equal to only 4.5 months
of western military spending.
Accelerating Rates of Change: In the United States, it took 46 years for a
quarter of the population to adopt electricity early in the twentieth century; 35
years for the telephone, 26 years for television, 16 years for the computer, 13
years for the mobile phone, and only 7 years for the Internet.
Pollution & Resource Use
Groundwater Pollution: Sixty percent of the most hazardous liquid waste
in the United States-34 billion liters of solvents, heavy metals, and radioactive
materials-is injected into deep aquifers via thousands of "injection wells."
Meat Eating: World meat consumption has climbed from 44 million tons in
1950 to 217 million tons in 1999, an increase of nearly fivefold. This growth,
roughly double that of population, raised meat intake per person worldwide
from 17 kilograms in 1950 to 36 kilograms in 1999.[...]"
See also their archive of News Releases, Briefs, Alerts, etc. in RealAudio format