April 19, 2000
Subject: Special LFAS File: Close Encounter with Secretary Danzig of the Navy + What you can do to Stop LFAS now + The Navy, Active Sonar, and Marine Mammals: A Chronology + Information economy boom obscuring Earth's decline: State of the World 2000 report
Here is the compilation I've prepared about the important LFAS issue. I've also added the State of the World 2000 report at the end, an essential reading in this Earth Day week.
I also recommend you review a "SPECIAL EARTH DAY COMPILATION" I've sent Monday to my worlwide media list. It is posted at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/SpecialEarthDay.htm
Next Saturday is Earth Day all around the world and nearly 5000 groups in 182 countries have now joined the Earth Day 2000 campaign.
See also CNN Earth Day coverage at: http://cnn.com/2000/NATURE/04/14/earthday.tv.enn/index.html
And remember... Every day is Earth Day!
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000
From: Light Worker Center <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Close Encounter with Secretary Danzig of the Navy
Since there is not enough room left in this compilation, the beginning and end of Lanny Sinkin's report of his impromptu protest at USS Bowfin Museum in Hawaii where Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig was scheduled to speak on April 8 had to be cut out. Since the information on Richard Danzig's appearance there and the request for demonstrators against the LFAS testing by the Navy to show up was sent on a very short notice (24 hours before), only 3 people including two Sierra Club members and a photographer were actually able to be there with Lanny Sinkin. But despite and perhaps because of the little number of people protesting the LFAS, a "frank exchange of views" could take place directly between Richard Danzig and those 4 people immediately after the official ceremony...
(beginning of quote)
Eventually, Secretary Danzig emerged. Rather than going to the car parked
and waiting for him, he walked over to talk to us. We had a "frank
exchange of views." To summarize some of the exchange:
Secretary Danzig opened the dialogue by asking if our concern was low
frequency active sonar. I responded that LFAS was a central concern and
that after the Bahamas, where higher frequencies were used, that concern
The Bahamas: Secretary Danzig stated that the Navy is still analyzing what
happened in the Bahamas. He said that the sonobuoys used had been used
often and were not that powerful, so he did not believe that they could
have caused the extensive strandings and deaths. When I asked about what
equipment the British had used, he said he was unaware that the British had
participated in the exercise. (!)
Effects of LFAS: Secretary Danzig stated that the question he found
difficult to answer is why the use of LFAS in many different circumstances
did not result in any evidence of adverse effects and in other
circumstances appeared to produce such results. He considered more study
would probably be necessary to answer that question. In response, Hannah
Bernard pointed out that concentrations of cetaceans are not uniform
throughout the oceans, so effects may appear when the use of the equipment
and the presence of cetaceans coincide. Hannah also noted that any studies
on immediate effects could not answer the question of long term effects on
such matters as reproductive success.
Secretary Danzig asked if we had seen the article in Nature magazine. We
clarified that he was referring to the article by Alexandros Frantzis in
March 1998 which correlated strandings of Curvier's Beaked Whales along the
Greecian coast with NATO testing of an LFAS system. I confirmed that we
had seen the article and that we also knew of the NATO study of that event
which concluded that the strandings were not due to natural causes, i.e.
backhandedly admitted that the NATO testing was the most likely cause.
I suggested to Secretary Danzig that there might be a pattern worth
exploring in the Greecian and Bahamian events. Both resulted in the
strandings of primarily beaked whales. My undertanding of the Bahamas is
that the stranded whales were mostly juveniles. Beaked whales swim at
great depth for long period. Those depths are particularly quiet. Perhaps
we are seeing the results of loud sounds intruding into an otherwise silent
environment and causing panic and disorientation particularly in young
beaked whales. (This theory is the product of information exchanged by a
number of people, including Ken Balcomb and Bill Rossiter). The Secretary
seemed to take in that possibility for consideration.
The Secretary said that he has to be concerned with saving lives. I
responded that our understanding is that the Navy selected low frequency
active sonar twenty years ago as a response to the creation of new silent
submarines which existing passive devices could not detect. I argued that
we certainly had made great advances in passive acoustics since that time
and that current passive acoustics could detect those silent submarines
(assuming anyone is still out there building them). The Secretary
responded that there was still the problem of submarines parked off our
coast and undetectable.
[We did not get to explore that topic further. Obviously there are further
responses, e.g. for a submarine to park off our coast, it first has to pass
by all the passive listening devices we have on the ocean floor. The end
of the sound would tell us where the submarine had stopped. Furthermore,
this "lurking" business has been going on throughout the Cold War.]
At one point, the Secretary asked us to send him information. I told him
that I had already sent him three lawsuits. He asked that I not send any
more of those. I made no promises.
We were then approached by the Commanding Officer of a submarine, who
wanted us to know how much he and his crew respected and appreciated marine
life, particularly the Humpback Whales that they see in the islands.
During that conversation, Hannah asked whether the submarine used its side
scanning sonar when travelling in Hawaiian waters. The CO answered that
they preferred not to use those devices. I said because they did not want
to identify his location to others. He said that and the fact that when
they turned on the sonar, "marine life left the area." (!)
The CO also said that he had recorded lots of whale song during migrations
of whales. Hannah noted that the scientific community has a lot of open
questions regrarding whether whales sing during migration and that his
recordings might be useful to science. Navy submarines recording whale
song during migration to help all of us understand these magnificent beings
- sounds like swords into plowshares to me.
I am not sure I have recorded all the relevant information from these two
conversations. Nevertheless, I trust I have conveyed how worthwhile it was
to pursue this action on an emergency basis. In fact, had we mobilized 100
people with signs etc., the exchange above might never have taken place.
(end of quote)
58 Furneaux Lane, Suite 5
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720
(808) 961-9100; FAX (808) 934-9609
Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2000
From: Light Worker Center <email@example.com>
Subject: What you can do to Stop LFAS now
Below are two transmissions. The first, from Larry Morningstar, is a good
compilation of actions you can take to protect the ocean environment and
particularly cetaceans from high intensity sonar broadcasts by the US Navy.
The second is an updated chronology of the sonar issue. We encourage you
to distribute this information to your own networks.
Larry Morningstar compiled the following, for which we are all grateful.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP STOP LFAS NOW?
There are plenty of things to do. Here are a few for now. Please feel
free to network this information. Also, be sure to check out the
following website for easy ways to plug in:
1) There was a wonderful TV special report on LFAS called "When the
Whales Stop Singing" on ABC (KGO) in San Francisco. We are encouraging
friends to ask the station manager at their local ABC TV affiliate to air this
special. They can contact KGO ABC-TV News in San Francisco directly. If
they need help, you can refer them to me. KGO has said that they will
provide tapes of this 2 part, 10 minute special to other ABC affiliates
2) We are preparing to send copies of the 10 minute video tape of this
show to each of our US Senators and Congresspeople. We are currently
accepting donations to use for this "Tapes to Congress" project. If you
would like to help in this way,
Please make out your check to "Stop LFAS" and mail it to
P.O. Box 944
Hilo, Hawai`i 96721
with a note that funds are either for unrestricted use to stop LFAS, or
that you want your money used specifically for the "Tapes to Congress"
Copies of this great 10 minute video will be available for purchase
soon, for a nominal fee to cover reproduction costs and shipping and
handling. A notice will be sent out as soon as they are available.
3) Letters to Congress are important, as it is their responsibility to
oversee the Navy, and all expenditures on this project. Following are
some suggestions on what to put in a letter. You might also want to
mention the recent massive strandings of whales in the Bahamas,
during Navy testing of acoustic weapons and communications technologies.
LETTERS TO CONGRESS
The time has come for Congress to step up to its responsibilities to
exercise oversight over the United States Navy. Please communicate
today to your Senators and Representative. The basic message which
you are urged to put into your own words and speak from your own
The US Navy is preparing to deploy a low frequency active sonar
system that seriously threatens the marine environment, including
endangered whales and other species. The Navy illegally spent
hundreds of millions of dollars on this system, despite never
completing the environmental impact statement. The momentum of
these illegal expenditures is causing the Navy to ignore credible
evidence that this system is too dangerous to deploy. The time
has come for Congress to exercise oversight by asking the General
Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct an audit of the entire SURTASS
LFA program and to hold hearings in the appropriate committees
into the conduct of the Navy in this manner.
Ask your congressional representatives to either request a GAO audit
and to communicate with the appropriate committee responsible for
this program to urge that committee to request a GAO audit.
Also ask your congressional representative to call for a moratorium
on any further testing of this system until the litigation now pending
in Honolulu is decided.
If you do send a letter to your congressional delegation and are not in
Hawai`i, please send a copy of your letter to:
Senator Daniel K. Inouye
722 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Inouye is a ranking Democrat on the subcommittee on Defense
and a member of the subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries. He has been
asked to request a GAO audit.
If you are moved to take further action, please communicate your
Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20350-1000
Telephone: (703) 695-3131
Fax: (703) 614-3477
Snail mail letters and faxes carry more weight than email messages. If
you do send email messages, include your snail mail address, since some
officials will only reply by snail mail.
THE SURTASS LFA THREAT
The Surveillance Towed Array Sonar System (SURTASS) Low
Frequency Active (LFA) Sonar is an extraordinarily powerful
system the Navy seeks to deploy in 80% of the world's oceans.
One observation about the potential effects of this system on
marine mammals, such as whales, comes from the United States
Marine Mammal Commission:
U.S. Marine Mammal Commission - Annual Report for 1997
Page 169 - Low Frequency Active Sonar
- the possible effects could include:
- death from lung hemorrhage or other tissue trauma;
- temporary or permanent hearing loss or impairment;
- disruption of feeding, breeding, nursing, acoustic communication
and sensing, or other vital behavior and, if the disruption is
severe, frequent, or long lasting, possible decreases in individual
survival and productivity and corresponding decreases in
population size and productivity;
- annoyance and subsequent abandonment or avoidance of traditional
feeding, breeding, or other biologically important habitats and, if
suitable alternative habitats are not available nearby, decreases
in both individual survival and productivity and in population size
- psychological and physiological stress, making animals more
vulnerable to disease, parasites, predation; and
- changes in the distribution abundance, or productivity of important
marine mammal prey species and subsequent decreases in both
individual marine mammal survival and productivity and in
population size and productivity."
Below is an updated chronology of events related to the United States
Navy's development and planned deployment of a low frequency active sonar
system and related high intensity sonar systems in the oceans of our world.
The Navy, Active Sonar, and Marine Mammals: A Chronology
1980-1995 - Navy defines new silent submarines as threat requiring
development of new technology. Without going through an EIS process, the
Navy selects low frequency active sonar (LFAS). Without going through an
EIS process pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the
Navy commits to the design, engineering, fabrication, software, hardware,
ship leasing, and other components of a full scale development program.
Without going through an EIS process, initiating a formal consultation
process with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), or securing
permits pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) or Endangered
Species Act (ESA), the Navy conducts extensive tests of LFAS in various
locations in international waters. Navy claims laws do not apply in the
Exclusive Economic Zone of foreign nations.
1995 - NRDC responds to information about planned deployment of the LFAS
system by sending a letter to the Secretary of the Navy calling attention
to all the environmental laws violated during the development and testing
1996 - Navy responds by committing to preparation of an environmental
impact statement for routine deployment of SURTASS LFA. EIS does not
include assessment of environmental impacts of use during threat or warfare
conditions. Navy also commits to Scientific Research Program (SRP) to test
effects of low level LFAS broadcasts on limited number of whale species.
Navy consults with NMFS and receives permits for testing, which include
required mitigation measures and required suspension of testing if certain
1996-1998 - Navy conducts tests of LFAS system on whales. Evidence emerges
in Phases I and II that whales deviate from their normal course and stop
singing in response to test broadcasts. In Phase III, conducted off the
east coast of the Island of Hawai`i, reports emerge from numerous whale
watch captains and shore observers that the Humpback Whales (Megaptera
novaeangliae) left the test area shortly after testing began. A snorkeler
in the water during a broadcast emerges with symptoms a doctor diagnoses as
similar to a trauma patient in a hospital. (documentation on snorkeler
appears at http://www.ilhawaii.net/~light/reid.html). Separated Humpback
Whale, Melon Head Whale, and dolphin calves appear during or shortly after
The abnormal absence of whales is a condition for which the permit
requires suspension of the testing. The Navy refuses to stop testing.
The NMFS refuses to enforce the permit condition. A lawsuit is filed by
Hawai`i County Green Party challenging the testing. The Navy ends the
tests and amends the permit to expire before the judge can rule on the
Green Party's motion for a preliminary injunction. The Navy represents to
the court that the testing is complete and the underlying research
complete. The judge dismisses the case as moot.
1996 - Dr. Alexandros Frantzis publishes a letter in Nature notifying the
international community of his conclusion that NATO testing in the
Mediterranean caused the mass stranding of Curvier's Beaked Whales on the
coast of Greece. NATO eventually convenes a bioacoustic panel to study
that event. The evidence strongly suggests Frantzis is correct. The panel
(SACLANTCEN) eliminates the possibility of the strandings being caused by
any "natural phenomena", which means something human-made was the cause.
The panel was unwilling to identify that cause as the NATO testing.
July, 1999 - Navy issues draft EIS. No mention of evidence regarding the
absence of whales and the injured snorkeler during the Hawaiian tests.
No mention of Beaked Whales stranding in Greece. Other deficiencies too
numerous to enumerate demonstrate that the draft EIS is woefully inadequate
and gives the appearance of deliberately omitted, known adverse evidence.
August 1999 - Obvious deficiencies in draft EIS leads to call to withdraw
DEIS. Navy sends letter to attorney filing one such request acknowledging
receipt of the letter and stating that the letter will be incorporated into
comments on the DEIS, i.e. no consideration will be given to withdrawing
the draft EIS.
August 1999 - Navy files permit application with NMFS for five year
deployment of SURTASS LFA based on the draft EIS. (Permit cannot issue
until EIS is final.)
July-October 1999 - Numerous organizations and individuals file highly
critical comments regarding the deficiencies in the EIS.
August-November 1999 - Numerous organizations and individuals file comments
with NMFS pointing out deficiencies in Navy work to date. Those comments
include the fact that the scientists conducting the studies underlying the
draft EIS have not yet completed their analysis of the results.
January 2000 - A formal notice of violation is sent to Secretary of
Commerce William Daley and Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig. This
notice is based on the Navy continuing to make irreversible and
irretrievable commitments of resources to SURTASS LFA deployment in
violation of NEPA and ESA. The notice is sent pursuant to an ESA
requirement for sixty days notice to the Secretary of Commerce and the
violator prior to the initiation of court action.
February 29, 2000 - Ten environmental and cultural organizations and an
elected official file suit in Honolulu Federal Court challenging the Navy
plans to deploy SURTASS LFA. Suit alleges illegal commitments of
resources, lack of objectivity in the EIS process, and improper
consideration of permit application by NMFS given Navy violations of NEPA
March 2, 2000 - Dr. Marsha Green, President of Ocean Mammal Institute,
receives an email from Dr. Robert Gisiner, Office of Naval Research,
detailing new plans by Navy to conduct further testing as part of the LFA SRP.
March 14, 2000 - Hawai`i County Green Party files motion to reopen 1998
case based on new Navy plans to conduct testing. Motion discusses Navy
position that permits are not required for testing in foreign EEZs, which
can extend up to 200 miles from the foreign three mile limit.
March 15, 2000 - Green Party learns of second email from Dr. Gisiner
stating that Navy does require permits for testing outside the three mile
limit of a foreign country, i.e. Dr. Gisiner contradicts the earlier Navy
position that permits are not required in foreign EEZs.
March 16, 2000 - Green Party files supplement to motion to reopen bringing
the new Gisiner email to the attention of the court.
Week of March 13-17 - Seventeen whales strand in Bahamas at the same time
Navy conducts tests using various active sonar devices, including high
intensity (200 dB) broadcasts. The tests are known as Littoral Warfare
Advanced Development (LWAD) Sea Tests. Navy claims coincidence. Stranded
whales come from at least four different species in three families of two
suborders of cetaceans, including Balaenoptera sp., Ziphius cavirostris,
Mesoplodon densirostris, Stenella frontalis, and Balaenoptera acutorostrata.
March 21, 2000 - NRDC and HSUS send letter to Secretary of the Navy Danzig
demanding a suspension of such tests. Further tests are scheduled in late
March 22, 2000 - Attorney for plaintiffs in new Hawai'i case sends formal
notice to Secretaries of Commerce and Navy that Bahamian tests violated
environmental laws, including ESA.
March 23, 2000 - With the sixty days from the January 14, 2000 notice of
violation expired and no response from either the Secretary of Commerce or
the Secretary of the Navy, the attorney for plaintiffs in the new Hawai'i
case files amended complaint to include three new counts of direct
violations of the MMPA and ESA. Amended complaint now alleges pattern of
illegal testing by Navy to include the Bahamian tests and includes request
for order that Navy requires permits under MMPA and ESA for testing in
March 24 - Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation's largest
animal protection organization, demands that the United States Navy suspend
upcoming tests involving active sonar systems.
March 31, 2000 - Attorney for plaintiffs in Hawai`i cases sends letter to
Secretary of Commerce calling upon the Secretary to notify the Navy that
further LWAD testing without formal consultation and permits from National
Marine Fisheries Service would be a criminal violation of the Endangered
Information economy boom obscuring Earth's decline
State of the World 2000 report
The World Watch Institute reports that the planet's health is deteriorating due to human population growth, global warming, falling water tables and increased HIV infection rates, and suggests ways of reversing these trends.
The fast-evolving information economy is affecting every facet of our lives, but it is environmental trends that will ultimately shape the new century, says the Worldwatch Institute in State of the World 2000, its first report in the new millennium.
In the United States, the rapidly growing information economy has created millions of jobs and helped drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average of stocks from less than 3,000 in early 1990 to over 11,000 in 1999. "Caught up in the growth of the Internet," said senior author Lester Brown, "we seem to have lost sight of the Earths deteriorating health. It would be a mistake to confuse the vibrancy of the virtual world with the increasingly troubled state of the real world."
"When we launched this series of annual assessments in 1984, we hoped that we could begin the next century with an upbeat report, one that would show the Earths health improving," said Brown. "But unfortunately the list of trends we were concerned with then shrinking forests, eroding soils, falling water tables, collapsing fisheries, and disappearing species has since lengthened to include rising temperatures, more destructive storms, dying coral reefs, and melting glaciers. As the Dow Jones goes up, the Earths health goes down."
The biological impoverishment of the Earth is accelerating as human population grows. The share of bird, mammal, and fish species that are now in danger of extinction is in double digits 11 per cent of all bird species, 25 per cent of mammals, and 34 per cent of fish.
Local ecosystems start to collapse when rising human demands on them become excessive. Soil erosion has forced Kazakhstan to abandon half its cropland since 1980. The Philippines and Côte dIvoire have lost their once luxuriant stands of tropical hardwoods and the thriving forest-product export industries that were based on them. In the United States, the rich oyster-beds of the Chesapeake Bay that yielded over 70 million kilograms per year a century ago produced less than 2 million kilograms in 1998. And still the pressures build. The projected growth of world population from 6 billion* at present to nearly 9 billion by 2050 will exacerbate nearly all environmental problems, especially since almost all this growth will come in the developing world where countries are already struggling to manage the effects of their rapidly-growing populations.
Another trend affecting the entire world is rising temperature. Record-setting temperatures in the 1990s are part of a 20th-century warming trend. Just over the last three decades (between 1969-71 and 1996-98), global average temperature has risen by 0.44 degrees Celsius (0.8 degrees Fahrenheit). In the 21st century, temperature is projected to rise even faster.
Rising temperatures are melting glaciers from the Peruvian Andes to the Swiss Alps. The two ice shelves on either side of the Antarctic peninsula are retreating. Over roughly a half-century through 1997 they lost 7,000 square kilometers of ice. But then within a year they lost another 3,000 square kilometers. Scientists attribute the accelerated ice melting to a regional temperature rise of some 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1940.
Signs of melting are everywhere. In late 1991, hikers in the southwestern Alps discovered an intact human body, a male, protruding from a glacier. Apparently trapped in a storm some 5,000 years ago and quickly covered with snow and ice, his body was remarkably well preserved. In 1999, another body was found in a melting glacier in the Yukon Territory of western Canada. "Our ancestors are emerging from the ice with a message for us: The Earth is getting warmer," said Brown.
One of the less visible trends shaping our future is falling water tables. Although irrigation problems such as waterlogging, salting, and silting go back several thousand years, aquifer depletion is new, confined largely to the last half-century, when powerful diesel and electric pumps made it possible to extract underground water far faster than the natural recharge from rain and snow. Report co-author Sandra Postel estimates that the worldwide over pumping of aquifers, which is concentrated in China, India, North Africa, the Middle East and the United States, exceeds 160 billion tons of water per year.
Since it takes roughly 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of grain, this over pumping is the equivalent of 160 million tons of grain, or half the US grain harvest. In consumption terms, the food supply of 480 million of the worlds 6 billion people is being produced with the unsustainable use of water. If all countries stabilized water tables this year by eliminating over pumping, the world grain harvest would fall by roughly 160 million tons, driving grain prices off the top of the chart.
"Environmental decline is often seen as gradual and predictable, but if we assume this, we are sleepwalking through history," said report co-author Chris Bright. "As pressures on the Earths natural systems build, there may be some disconcerting surprises as trends interact, reinforcing each other and triggering abrupt changes."
For example, in October 1998, Hurricane Mitch slammed into Central America and stalled for more than a week. Nightmarish mudslides obliterated entire villages; 10,000 people died; half the population of Honduras was displaced and the country lost 95 per cent of its crops.
Global warming and the more destructive storms associated with it may explain why Mitch was the fourth-strongest hurricane to enter the Caribbean this century, but much of the damage was caused by deforestation. If forests had been gripping the soil on those hills, fewer villages would have been buried in mudslides.
Another large-scale example of trends reinforcing each other can be seen in the Amazon, where the forest is being weakened by logging and by clearing for agriculture. As the Amazonian forest dwindles, it dries out. As it becomes drier, it becomes more vulnerable to fire.
The fire feedback loop is also affected by forces outside the region, such as higher temperatures. By burning large amounts of coal and oil, the United States, China and other countries may, in effect, be burning the Amazon.
"Economic euphoria may lead us to ignore trends that have the potential to reverse progress," said Brown, "from HIV/AIDS in Africa to falling water tables in India. While the world economy is booming, the HIV epidemic is devastating sub-Saharan Africa, a region of 800 million people. Life expectancy a sentinel indicator of progress is falling precipitously as the virus spreads. Before the onslaught of AIDS, life expectancy in Zimbabwe was 65 years. In 1998, it was 44 years. By 2010, it is projected to fall to 39 years. Other countries, such as Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, are experiencing similarly graphic declines."
Other trends also have the potential to reverse progress. In India, one of many countries where population is outrunning water supply, water pumped from underground far exceeds aquifer recharge. The resulting fall in water tables will eventually reduce irrigation water supplies, threatening Indias food security. Unless New Delhi can quickly devise an effective strategy to deal with spreading water scarcity, India like Africa may soon face a decline in life expectancy.
In a surprise finding, the study reports that the number of people who are over nourished and overweight now rivals the number who are undernourished and underweight, each group containing roughly 1.2 billion people. Other chapters assess the issue of persistent organic pollutants, the future of paper, the information economy, micropower technologies, and environmental job creation.
"The two big challenges in this new century are to stabilize climate and population," said Brown. "If we cannot stabilize both, there is not an ecosystem on Earth that we can save. Everything will change. If we can stabilize population and climate, other environmental problems will be much more manageable."
Stabilizing population quickly depends on couples holding the line at two surviving children an achievable goal. Some 34 industrial countries have already reached population stability, and several developing countries are approaching it, including Barbados, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The challenge is to move from the UN medium level projection of nearly 9 billion in 2050 to the low projection of 7 billion. The keys to stabilizing population are providing universal access to family planning services and educating girls and women.
Stabilizing climate means replacing fossil fuels with wind, solar cells, and other renewables. Today the world gets a fifth of its electricity from hydropower, but this source is dwarfed by the potential of wind. Three US states North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas have enough harnessable wind energy to supply national electricity needs. China could double its current generation of electricity using only wind.
Previews of the new energy economy can be seen in the solar electric roofs of homes in Japan and Germany, the wind turbines dotting the Danish countryside, and the new wind farms in Spain and in the US states of Minnesota, Iowa and Texas.
Restructuring economic policymaking to incorporate environmental issues will not be easy. But some progress was made at the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle in early December 1999, when some 50,000 demonstrators challenged the WTOs preoccupation with economics at the expense of environmental, labor and human rights issues. By the end of the five-day collision between the ecological principles of sustainability and the economic theory of comparative advantage that drove a half-century of trade negotiations, the WTO was in full retreat. "It remains to be seen what the long-term effect of the demonstrations and the strong public opinion that they represented will be," said co-author Hilary French. "But one thing is certain: the environment is now on the international trade agenda."
"The scale and urgency of the challenges facing us in this century are unprecedented," said Brown. "We cannot overestimate the urgency of stabilizing the relationship between ourselves, now 6 billion in number, and the natural systems on which we depend. If we continue the irreversible destruction of these systems, our grandchildren will never forgive us. As the report notes: Nature has no reset button." (Source: Worldwatch Institute)
From the March 2000 issue of Share International
Share International magazine, PO Box 971, N. Hollywood, CA
91603 USA. http://www.shareintl.org
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