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The Lorax

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Benjamin Easley

on 22 April 2010

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Transcript of The Lorax

Double click anywhere & add an idea THEMES OF CONSERVATION IN The Integral to the issue of biological diversity is the question of deforestation, in particular in tropical regions. Globally, forest cover today appears to be about 80% of what it was 3,000 years ago, when agriculture began to expand. In the past twenty-five years, according to data reported by governments, global wooded areas have diminished slightly. In the temperate zone, forests have generally increased during recent decades, a signal development. While cutting threatens stands of older and rarer trees, the majority of tree-harvesting in this zone is done on a sustainable basis. Removal of tropical forests has progressed at rates estimated at 1 percent per year and higher, as forests are cleared for fuelwood, crops, and pastures. Asian and South American wood production since the 1970s was 70% higher than the global average, further suggesting deforestation. The proportion of the world's land surface used for farms and pastures has remained constant at about 35 percent since mid-century. Though much of the land surface has been altered by human action, human artifacts actually cover less than 1 percent. http://phe.rockefeller.edu A third global issue is preservation of biological diversity, much of which resides in tropical forests. Estimates of the total number of species range from three to more than eighty million; the number named stands at around 1.5 to 1.8 million, and cataloging new species progresses slowly. As vegetation is reduced in many parts of the world, as many as half the species may be at risk. However, data on species loss are poor; much of what is lost is unrecorded, associated with the destruction of ecosystems in areas that have been largely unstudied. The rate of worldwide species extinction may be known only within a factor of 10. Even in the United States, statistical problems are considerable, as evident in the government list of endangered and threatened species. Since 1970 the number has doubled, but inclusion is limited to well-described plants and animals. Fluctuations in the listing result partially from procedural, administrative, and political forces and do not necessarily reflect changes in the natural environment. Declines in numbers of prominent species such as the African elephant, panda bears, and sea turtles are well-documented. http://phe.rockefeller.edu The reported world catch of fish has risen at one and half times the rate of world population growth. Accurate knowledge of the conditions of stocks remains inadequate, but commercial harvesting has definitely caused significant changes in the catch and species composition. The makeup of the catch has moved down the food chain as the stock of higher species, such as tuna, decrease. With wild stocks under pressure, aquaculture is beginning to play a significant role in seafood production. Fish farms produce about one- seventh of world seafood by weight and one-third by value. In developing countries, many of the largest cities suffer acute air pollution problems. During the 1980s, major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai exceeded World Health Organization (WHO) standards for particulate levels an average of 272 and 133 days per year respectively. The average in New Delhi over the same period was 295 days. Since the mid 1970s, SO2 levels exceeded the standard an average of 100 days per year in Teheran. In 1991 in Mexico City air quality standards were seriously violated over 300 days. Indoor air pollution is a sometimes severe problem that has been recognized and measured only recently. Asian households using wood- and dung- fueled ovens experience indoor particulate concentrations greater than one hundred times the WHO standards. No single overall trend summarizes marine and water pollution. Since 1970 the amount of oil spilled annually has fluctuated with sporadic large departures from the mean, as in 1991 due to the Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound. The number of tanker accidents was lower in the 1980s and early 1990s than the 1970s. The decreases probably owe to improved technical standards for petroleum transportation over the last two and a half decades. Although commanding less public attention than spills, "normal" operational discharges of oil into the sea, primarily from washing tanks and discharging ballast water, form the largest source of marine oil pollution and remain hard to assess. Inland water bodies, such as the Aral Sea in Central Asia, groundwaters, and many rivers in both developing and industrialized regions have continued to experience major problems as a result of combinations of imprudent irrigation, diffuse pollution sources such as urban runoff, fertilizer and pesticide use, and contamination from both active and inactive industrial sites. Some water bodies have been reclaimed. For example, on average the availability of dissolved oxygen in the rivers of the OECD nations improved over the past twenty-five years, though much remains to achieve high levels of water quality. On April 7, 2010, Amnesty International USA commented in their blog on the story of the book that "amazingly parallels that of the Dongria Kondh peoples of Orissa" in India, "where Vedanta Corporation is wrecking the environment of the Dongria Kondh people." Thanks http://phe.rockefeller.edu http://phe.rockefeller.edu http://phe.rockefeller.edu
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