April 13, 1999

Subject: FWD The Earth Day Clean Energy Agenda Earth Day 2000 Worldwide + Healing Our World website recommended + Worldwatch Registers Rising Death Rates


I just received this most excellent Clean Energy Agenda from the Earth Day Network head office in Seattle, USA. Although the policies proposed are for the USA, they could certainly be used as a fine example as to what all other countries on Earth could do to establish their own Clean Energy Agenda.

Please circulate this and the accompanying Earth Day 2000 Worldwide Campaign material as you see fit and thus contribute to more Earth Day awareness and participation in your own area by the means at your disposal.

I also include after this an eye-opening and soul-wrenching post from the Worldwatch institute regarding the demographic nightmare one third of the planet is faced with. Galoping HIV contagion in Africa and India, pumping of aquifer water exceeding natural replenishment rates and the shrinking of available arable land per human all add up to create a humanitarian blackhole that makes the Albanian Kososar pogrom pale in comparison. Leadership is desperately needed to help stabilizing world population as soon as possible and yet the US Congress, mired in the quicksand of anti-abortion politics, has deprived developing countries of the assistance that they need by withdrawing in late 1998 all funding for the U.N. Population Fund, the principal source of international family planning assistance.

Unless there is a major shift of direction at the helm of world affairs and policy decision-making, we are headed for a hellish 21st century.

Maybe it is time the people starts leading if we want the "leaders" to follow...

Jean Hudon Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000

Please visit http://www.earthday.net to get the latest on this year's worldwide observance of Earth Day and the plans for a massive global Earth Day celebration in 2000. To get the coming Earth Day updates and latest news, simply request to be added onto their emailing list.

Earth Day is now just a few days away, on April 22nd!

NOTE: I still have a number of other posts in preparation - or on the back burner because of the Kosovo crisis - that I hope to send you all soon. Parts of this one were put aside recently. But this latest Clean Energy Agenda from Earth Day Network and the imminence of this important awareness-raising global observance deserves your attention right now I feel...

From: Peter Drekmeier <pdrekmeier@earthday.net>
Subject: Clean Energy Agenda


The Earth Day Clean Energy Agenda has been finalized. This document will serve as the focal point of the Earth Day 2000 New Energy for a New Era campaign. Many thanks to the Sustainable Energy Coalition and Climate Action Network for their leadership roles in pulling this together.

You will find below an overview of the Agenda. For those of you who would like more specifics, please visit the Earth Day Network website at http://www.earthday.net/energy/agenda3.html

Next week (Earth Week 1999), organizers across the United States will launch the Earth Day 2000 campaign calling for a swift transition from outdated, polluting energy to the efficient use of clean, renewable energy sources. You can help support the campaign by encouraging organizations, local governments, businesses and other groups to endorse the Earth Day Clean Energy Agenda.

More details coming soon.

- Peter


As we approach the 21st century, Earth Day Network is launching a global campaign to bring about a swift transition to clean, renewable energy sources and a giant leap forward in energy efficiency.

Environmental realities compel us to evaluate our outdated energy path. Cutting edge technologies offer us a better choice. Public policies that promote these clean technologies and reward responsible energy choices are the bridge to our clean, renewable energy future.

Our use of highly polluting fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, causes air pollution, acid rain, cancer, and other damage to human health and the environment. Burning fossil fuels also threatens us with global warming, potentially the most serious environmental crisis our planet has ever faced.

We can reduce the threat of global warming, create jobs and protect our air and water by moving rapidly toward a clean, renewable energy economy. By cutting energy waste and investing in solar, wind, and other clean energy sources, we can meet our energy needs and achieve long-term energy security without risking our own health and the health of the Earth.

We support responsible public policies that:

1) Accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

2) Encourage and reward more efficient use of energy by utilities, vehicles, appliances, homes, buildings and businesses.

3) Level the playing field for renewable technologies by ending public policies that keep the price of outdated energy sources artificially low.

4) Demonstrate leadership in international efforts to reduce the pollution that causes global warming.


1) Accelerate the transition to clean, renewable energy sources.

* Over the next decade, triple the amount of energy harnessed from clean, renewable sources such as the wind and sun. * Increase government research and development funding for clean fuels, hydrogen fuel cells, and renewable electric generation technologies, and establish market incentives to boost their use. * Enact public policies that enable utilities to invest in renewable energy without putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage. * Set a responsible standard for a minimum renewable energy content for automotive fuels. * Shift World Bank and other international funding toward renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing nations.

2) Encourage and reward more efficient use of energy by utilities, vehicles, homes, appliances, buildings and businesses.

* Provide incentives to commercialize and deploy highly efficient energy technologies that minimize waste. * Set higher fuel-efficiency standards so cars will go further on a gallon of gas. * Close the auto fuel efficiency loophole that allows sports utility vehicles (SUVs) to produce far more global warming pollution than cars.

3) Level the playing field for renewable technologies by ending public policies that keep the price of outdated energy sources artificially low.

* Close the Clean Air Act loophole that allows older coal-fired power plants to pollute far more than newer plants, and set progressively tighter limits on power plants' total carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and mercury pollution. * Shift international energy funding in the developing world from outdated energy production methods (coal, large hydro, and oil) to clean, renewable energy technologies. * End taxpayer subsidies that artificially lower the price of coal, oil, and nuclear power. * Increase the accountability of the nuclear industry by removing the limits on liability for nuclear accidents. * Protect environmentally sensitive public lands from oil drilling and coal and uranium mining. * Provide adequate resources and job training for workers and communities now dependent on dated energy resources, to ensure that they achieve a just transition to a sustainable energy economy.

4) Demonstrate leadership in international efforts to reduce the pollution that causes global warming.

* Provide scientific and technical leadership in efforts to meet global energy needs with sources that do not contribute to global warming. * Ratify, implement, and work to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce global warming pollution. * Develop and implement federal, state and local action plans to decrease global warming pollution. * Lead by example, by implementing this Clean Energy Agenda.

Earth Day Network, 91 Marion St., Seattle, WA 98104, Tel: 206-264-0114, Fax: 206-682-1184. For more information about the Clean Energy Agenda and the ED 2000 energy campaign, see http://www.earthday.net.

Peter Drekmeier Earth Day Network/Earth Day 2000 91 Marion Street Seattle, WA 98104 Tel (206) 264-0114 ext. 201 pdrekmeier@earthday.net


Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999
From: Mark Graffis <ab758@virgin.usvi.net>
Subject: Gas Really Costs $15.14 a Gallon

Sustainable Business Insider 02/13/99

The oil industry is heavily subsidized at US$114.6 billion a year. If we included the costs of securing and protecting oil supplies, extracting and processing it, gas would cost $15.14 per gallon. The International Centre for Technology Assessment released a report which examined over 40 cost factors associated with gasoline production - adding up to $1.69 trillion per year. The U.S. government spends $1.6 billion yearly on regulatory oversight, pollution cleanup and liability costs connected to the oil industry. The U.S. Defense Department allocates $55-95 billion a year to safeguard the world's petroleum resources. Most state income taxes are based on oil firms' lower federal tax bills, which result in companies paying US $123-323 million less in state taxes. The renewable energy and energy conservation industry sectors are concerned that the subsidies distort the free market and make renewables less economically competitive. They call for leveling the economic playing field, either by giving them the same subsidies, or by withdrawing the subsidies from the oil industry. FROM [1]Gallon Environment Letter


1. 2.



Earth Day Network's Worldwide Campaign is sending letters inviting 21,000 groups in 160 countries to organize for Earth Day 2000. The invitations and accompanying Call to Action are going out in thirteen languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

You can help EDN's Worldwide Campaign by:

1) Inviting your international friends to participate in Earth Day (please forward the following letter). 2) Collaborating with your partners abroad to use Earth Day as an organizing tool. 3) Letting us know about key international groups we should contact. 4) Volunteering to help with outreach efforts.

For more information about international plans for Earth Day 2000, please contact Mark Dubois at 206.264.0114 x203 or mdubois@earthday.net.

Dear Friends,

We invite you to participate in an international movement to place environmental concerns and action at the top of the world's agenda for the 21st century.

Despite many important victories, we continue to face an unprecedented array of perils: unhealthful air and water, vanishing species and wild places, explosions in population and consumption, global warming, toxic wastes, collapsing fisheries and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

No community can solve these problems alone. To address them, we must mobilize public and institutional will to a degree far beyond what we have ever seen.

In 1970, over 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day. In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries made Earth Day the largest organized demonstration in history. Now the new millennium offers us the opportunity to reconsider humans' relationship to the Earth and to each other. On Earth Day 2000, citizens around the world will join together in common cause to demand far-reaching and enduring action to reverse our deepening environmental crisis.

Earth Day, April 22nd, can be celebrated in any way that honors the environmental passions and challenges of your community. Each country, city, neighborhood, and school will highlight its own issues as part of a larger campaign expressing the public will to create a sustainable society. We invite groups to use Earth Day as a platform for connecting with each other to launch campaigns on the critical issues of our time.

In the United States and many other countries, Earth Day 2000 will highlight the need to replace polluting fossil fuels with clean, renewable sources of energy. We welcome all groups to join us in this energy campaign. We will also facilitate networking to launch campaigns on other millennial issues.

If you would like to organize or participate in Earth Day 2000, please send us the enclosed card immediately. Thank you.


Mark Dubois
International Coordinator



We are at the threshold of a new millennium -- faced with a rare opportunity.

We invite you to join us in making Earth Day 2000 the beginning of a new chapter in the environmental history of the Earth.

Human history is full of important accomplishments. Our ancestors have left awesome achievements, material and spiritual, for us to enjoy.

Yet we have also inherited enormous challenges. For the first time in history, humans have the power to alter the entire planet. We are changing the climate, triggering an epidemic of extinctions, drilling holes through the ozone layer, reproducing and consuming beyond the world's carrying capacity, and maintaining an arsenal of weapons capable of causing more destruction than an asteroid collision.

Now it is our turn to choose our legacy. Working together, we can end the world war we are winning against the planet and ourselves. A vibrant, healthy planet with flourishing human communities can be our gift to future generations.

We invite you to begin organizing for the largest demonstration on the planet.

On April 22, 2000, the millennial Earth Day, hundreds of millions of people will join in actions to create a sustainable global environment. Earth Day 2000 will call for tangible results and far-reaching policies to protect the environment. It will enlist a new generation of environmental activists, building alliances that transcend the boundaries of countries, continents, and cultures. It will galvanize the sort of broad, deep support that makes tough choices politically possible. We cannot afford to waste time complaining, avoiding, denying, or fighting each other.

Together, we can create a positive future.

Earth Day's Precedent

Earth Day began in the belief that people, working together, can accomplish extraordinary things. Earth Day is unique in that it links citizen activists around the world with each other while inspiring action on personal, community, national, and international levels.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million citizens in the United States came together to create a national environmental agenda. Within two years, the country's main environmental agency had been created. Important laws to clean the air and water and to protect rare species had been adopted.

On Earth Day 1990, over 200 million people in 141 countries on every continent participated in celebrations in their communities. The mobilization of citizen groups that started with Earth Day 1990 empowered citizens, linked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) globally, and pressured heads of state to participate personally in the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Since 1990, Earth Day has been embraced by citizen groups the world over as an international citizens' day. In Canada, Japan, France, and many other countries, national offices coordinate Earth Day activities. In Eastern Europe, the Regional Environment Center reports that most of its 2300 affiliates organize yearly for Earth Day. We look forward to connecting with those groups who have already been using Earth Day as an organizing tool, and with those who are ready to begin doing so.

Earth Day Celebrations and Actions

Earth Day is celebrated in diverse ways. In 1990, Earth Day ignited environmental imaginations in France, where participants formed a 500-mile human chain along the Loire River, stretching across the country, to honor one of Europe's last clean rivers. In Asia, an international team of mountain climbers from China, the Soviet Union and the U.S. picked up the more than two tons of trash left on Mount Everest by earlier expeditions. Five thousand Italians staged a roadway lie-down to protest car fumes. In Haiti, Earth Day was officially declared a National Holiday. In Jordan, 10,000 students joined a national cleanup. In Tokyo Bay, 35,000 Japanese environmentalists gathered on Dream Island, an island made of garbage, to set up a temporary recycling center. To learn more about Earth Day in 1990 and years since, see http://www.sdearthtimes.com/edn/calendar.

Join Earth Day 2000

Earth Day 2000, the 30th anniversary of Earth Day, will use grassroots organizing and cutting-edge technology to educate, empower, and inspire actions that protect the public interest.

Earth Day will create global networks that connect activists together. It will prod organizations to think more ambitiously about the immensity and urgency of their work.

Connect your efforts with those of other activists to create a global force for change.

Join Earth Day 2000.

From: "Boudewijn Wegerif" <monetarystudies@hotmail.com>
Subject: Worldwatch Registers Rising Death Rates
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999

More worrying news. Now from Worldwatch about rising death rates in our divided world. Because of the HIV virus, life expectancy in Zimbabwe will have fallen from 61 years in 1993 to 49 years in 2000, and maybe 40 years in 2010 -- you will read in this press release from the prestigious Worldwatch Institute in Washington. It is as bad in Botswana, and one presumes the rest of southern Africa. I shall never forget the orphan villages I walked through in Malawi, in 1997. The after-impression is of having seen only the very young and the very old.

God help us!

Boudewijn Wegerif.

Worldwatch Press Release


For the first time since China's great famine claimed 30 million lives in 1959-61, rising death rates are slowing world population growth. When the United Nations released its biennial population update in late 1998, it reduced the projected world population for 2050 from 9.4 billion to 8.9 billion. Of the 500 million drop, roughly two thirds is because of falling birth rates, but one third is the result of rising death rates.

"Tragically, the world is dividing into two parts: one where population growth is slowing as fertility falls, and one where population growth is slowing as mortality rises," said Lester R. Brown, co-author with Gary Gardner and Brian Halweil of Beyond Malthus: Nineteen Dimensions of the Population Challenge.

"That rising death rates have already reduced the projected population for 2050 by 150 million represents a failure of our political institutions unmatched since the outbreak of World War II." The world is now starting to reap the consequences of its past neglect of the population issue, according to the new book released by the Worldwatch Institute and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The two regions where death rates are already rising, or are likely to do so, are sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent, which together contain 1.9 billion people, or one third of humanity. "Without clearly defined strategies by governments in countries with rapid population growth to quickly lower birth rates and a commitment by the international community to support them, one third of humanity could slide into a demographic dark hole," said Brown. This rise in mortality does not come as a surprise to those who track world population trends and who know that a 3 percent annual growth rate will lead to a twenty-fold population increase in a century.

Although population growth has slowed in most developing countries, it has not slowed enough in many to avoid serious problems.

After nearly half a century of continuous population growth, the demand in many countries for food, water, and forest products is simply outrunning the capacity of local life support systems. In addition, the ever growing number of young people who need health care and education is exceeding the availability of these services. If birthrates do not come down soon enough, natural systems deteriorate and social services fall short, forcing death rates up. But what would cause death rates to go up in individual countries? Would it be starvation? An outbreak of disease? War? Or social disintegration? At some point as population pressures build, governments are simply overwhelmed and are not able to respond to new threats. Beyond Malthus identifies three specific threats that either are already pushing death rates up or that have the potential to do so-the HIV epidemic, aquifer depletion, and shrinking cropland area per person.

"Of these three threats, the HIV virus is the first to spiral out of control in developing countries," said Brown. "The HIV epidemic should be seen for what it is: an international emergency of epic proportions, one that could claim more lives in the early part of the next century than World War II did in this century." In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV infection rates are soaring, already infecting one fifth to one fourth of the adult population in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Swaziland.

Barring a medical miracle, many African countries will lose one fifth or more of their adult population to AIDS within the next decade. To find a precedent for such a potentially devastating loss of life from an infectious disease, we have to go back to the decimation of New World Indian communities by the introduction of smallpox in the sixteenth century or to the Bubonic plague that claimed roughly a third of Europe's population during the fourteenth century.

Ominously, the virus has also established a foothold in the Indian subcontinent. With 4 million of its adults now HIV positive, India is home to more infected individuals than any other nation. And with the infection rate among India's adults at roughly 1 percent-a critical threshold for potentially rapid spread-the HIV epidemic threatens to engulf the country if the government does not move quickly to check it.

Using life expectancy, the sentinel indicator of development, we can see that the HIV virus is reversing the gains of the last several decades. For example, in Botswana, life expectancy has fallen from 62 years in 1990 to 44 years in 1998. In Zimbabwe, it has fallen from 61 years in 1993 to 49 years in 2000 and could drop to 40 years in 2010. For infants born with the virus, life expectancy is less than two years.

A second consequence of continuing population growth addressed in Beyond Malthus is potentially life-threatening water shortages. If rapid population growth continues indefinitely, the demand for water eventually exceeds the sustainable yield of aquifers. The result is excessive water withdrawals and falling water tables. Since 40 percent of the world's food comes from irrigated land, water shortages can quickly translate into food shortages.

Dozens of developing countries face acute water shortages early in the nextcentury, but none illustrate the threat better than India, whose population, which is expanding by 18 million per year, will reach 1 billion in a few months.

New estimates for India indicate that water withdrawals are now double the rate of aquifer recharge. As a result, water tables are falling by 1 to 3 meters per year over much of the country. Overpumping today means water supply cutbacks tomorrow, a serious matter where half of the grain harvest comes from irrigated land.

The International Water Management Institute estimates that aquifer depletion and the resulting cutbacks in irrigation water could drop India's grain harvest by one fourth. "In a country where 53 percent of all children are already malnourished and underweight, a shrinking harvest could increase hunger-related deaths, adding to the 6 million worldwide who die each year from hunger and malnutrition," said Brown. In contrast to AIDS, which takes a heavy toll of young adults, hunger claims mostly infants and children.

The third threat that hangs over the future of countries where rapid population growth continues is shrinking cropland per person. Once cropland per person shrinks to a certain point, people can no longer feed themselves, becoming dependent on imported food. The risk is that countries either will not be able to afford the imported food or that food simply will not be available as world import needs exceed exportable surpluses.

Among the larger countries where shrinking cropland per person threatens future food security are Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, all countries with weak family planning programs. For example, as Nigeria's population goes from 111 million today to a projected 244 million in 2050, its grainland per person will shrink from 0.15 hectares to 0.07 hectares. Pakistan's projected growth from 146 million today to 345 million by 2050 will shrink its grainland per person from 0.08 hectares at present to 0.03 hectares, an area scarcely the size of a tennis court. Countries where grainland per person has shrunk to 0.03 hectares, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, each import some 70 percent of their grain.

The threats from HIV, aquifer depletion, and shrinking cropland are not new or unexpected. We have known for at least 15 years that the HIV virus could decimate human populations if it was not controlled. In each of the last 18 years, the number of new HIV infections has risen. Of the 47 million infected thus far, 14 million have died. In the absence of a low-cost cure, most of the remaining 33 million will be dead by 2005.

"It is hard to believe, given the advanced medical knowledge of the late twentieth century, that a controllable disease is decimating human populations in so many countries," said Brown. "Similarly, it is hard to imagine that falling water tables, which may prove an even greater threat to future economic progress and political stability, could be so widely ignored. The arithmetic of emerging water shortages is not difficult." A growing population with a water supply that is essentially fixed by nature means that the water supply per person will diminish over time, eventually dropping below the amount needed to satisfy basic needs, such as food production. The same is true for cropland per person. "The mystery is not in the arithmetic. That is straightforward. The mystery is in our failure to respond to the threats associated with continuing population growth," said Brown.

The authors note that one of the keys to helping countries quickly slow population growth is expanded international assistance for reproductive health and family planning. At the U.N.'s Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994, it was estimated that the annual cost of providing quality reproductive health services to all those in need in developing countries would cost $17 billion in the year 2000. By 2015, this would climb to $22 billion.

Industrial countries agreed to provide one third of the funds with the developing countries providing the remaining two thirds. While developing countries have largely honored their commitments, the industrial countries,importantly the United States, have reneged on theirs. And almost unbelievably, in late 1998 the U.S. Congress withdrew all funding for the U.N. Population Fund, the principal source of international family planning assistance.

"The same family planning services-including reproductive health counseling andthe distribution of condoms-that help to slow population growth also help to check the spread of the HIV virus," said Brown. "But unfortunately, Congress, mired in the quicksand of anti-abortion politics, is depriving developing countries of the assistance that they need."

Beyond family planning, the forgiveness of international debts by governments in the industrial world could enable poor countries to make the heavy investments in education, especially of young females, that accelerates the shift to smaller families. For example, in Kenya, 25 percent of government revenue is spent on debt servicing, while 7 percent is spent on education and 3 percent on health care.

As U.N. delegates prepare in June to evaluate the progress made since the Cairo conference, there is a desperate need for leadership in stabilizing world population as soon as possible. But, the authors note, despite the obvioussocial consequences of one third of the world heading into a demographic nightmare, none of those to whom the world looks for leadership - the Secretary General of the United Nations, the president of the World Bank, or the president of the United States-has even so much as devoted a single public address to the fast-deteriorating situation.

Worldwatch News is maintained by the Worldwatch Institute for subscribers interested in keeping up-to-date on global environmental issues. Postings to this list will include news releases and notification of new publications. The Worldwatch Institute is a nonprofit research organization that analyzes global environmental and development issues.

To contact Worldwatch directly, send email to <worldwatch@worldwatch.org>