"Open veins ... Biological engines in agony"

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By Dr. M. Sommer

According to projections, there will be an even greater divergence between those who benefit from economic and technological advances and those who do not. This ever-widening and unsustainable gap between wealth and poverty threatens the stability of society as a whole and consequently the global environment.

"APOCALYPTIC COMPLAINT & # 8230; thirty years after Stockholm and Rio 10, it becomes evident and notorious, the rupture of man's dialogue with nature & # 8230; the widening and unsustainable gap between wealth and poverty threatens the stability of society as a whole and consequently the global environment. "

"HUMANITY MOBILIZATION ... if we want to make solid decisions regarding the management of ecosystems in this century, it requires dramatic changes & # 8230; the necessary knowledge has never reached the right recipients".

"LAST ATTEMPT TO REANIMATE THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (Johannesburg), which will start in less than two weeks."

"THE UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA and CANADA these governments are working overtime to ensure that the summit does not make real commitments on essential issues such as water, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity."

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 is a milestone of change for the world! Evidence among other things, the economic drift of the continents: the deepening gap between rich and poor countries favors all extremisms, although it does not excuse them.

Today, when we no longer suffer the threat of the dreaded nuclear confrontation, the reality of a permanent holocaust, of which we are perhaps less aware, is becoming more visible, but which every day makes millions of human beings victims. It is the holocaust of poverty. Each child that dies of HUNGER transforms all the rest of us into SURVIVORS and in that look that fades there is the disturbing question of whether we will do something for those who still aspire to live. According to projections, there will be an even greater divergence between those who benefit from economic and technological advances and those who do not. This ever-widening and unsustainable gap between wealth and poverty threatens the stability of society as a whole and consequently the global environment.

In addition, the rupture of man's dialogue with nature becomes evident and notorious. The consequences of our rivers, lakes and seas; the accelerated decline of our forests and of the planet's biodiversity; loss of soil fertility; the advance of the desert; the migration of peasants who seek in the cities and outside the borders of their countries the possibility of a better life.

The world is transforming at an increasingly accelerated rate, but in this process environmental management is lagging behind economic and social development. Population growth and economic development currently outweigh the environmental benefits derived from new technologies and policies. It is necessary that the processes of social globalization help to resolve, and not to aggravate, the great imbalances that divide the world today.
All the following facts constitute the most palpable demonstration of this catastrophe.

* A third of the population suffers from a shortage of water or basic energy services, and hunger and misery are deepening.

* Currently, the world spends about $ 780 billion each year on military spending, and just $ 56 billion on development finance.

* About 15 percent of the world's population, the majority in industrialized countries represent 56 percent of world consumption, while the poorest 40 percent represent only 11 percent of consumption.

* The Living Planet Index (IPV) is obtained from the trends over the last 30 years of the populations of hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Between 1970 and 2000 it decreased by about 35 percent. The forest species population index decreased 15 percent, the marine species population index fell 35 percent, while the freshwater species population index plummeted 55 percent over the past 30 years.

* Approximately 50 percent of the world's coastal ecosystems in the 20th century (eg, including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, etc.) have already been altered or destroyed, by increasing demand from cities, industries, aquaculture, tourism etc.

* More than 11,000 species are threatened and 800 have become extinct due to the loss of their habitats. Another 5,000 species could be at risk of extinction unless steps are taken to reverse their population decline.

* It is estimated that more than 70 thousand synthetic chemicals have been discharged into the world's oceans. Only a small percentage of them have been monitored, and this corresponds to those related to human health and not to ecological impact.

* Exposure to dangerous chemicals has caused several harmful effects in humans ranging from birth defects to cancer. Pesticide use worldwide causes 3.5 to 5 million acute poisonings per year.

* The increase in pollution from inland and the loss of habitats capable of filtering pollution have caused the expansion of hypoxic zones. These correspond to areas lacking oxygen and, therefore, with little marine and limnological life.

* The Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans are slowly warming by an average of 0.06 degrees Celsius since 1955 due to the greenhouse effect. This climate change could lead to a rise in sea levels, which could reach between 9 and 95 centimeters by the end of the century.

* The fishing fleet is 40 percent larger than the oceans can support.

* In 1986, 133,000 dolphins died in the eastern Pacific Ocean after being caught in nets used for tuna fishing. In 2000, the death toll was around 1,636, after federal regulations mandated fishing methods that protected the safety of dolphins.

* Around 150 whales, dolphins and porpoises die every day worldwide from entanglement with fishing gear, an annual average of 54,759 animals.

* About 95 percent of the world's marine fish harvest lives in coastal waters. Fish and shellfish provide almost one sixth of the animal protein consumed by people around the world. About 1 billion people, mostly in developing countries, depend on fish as their main source of protein. Production from marine fisheries has increased six times since 1950, but the annual rate of increase in marine capture fisheries declined from 6 percent in the 1950s and 1960s to 0.6 percent in 1995-96. Fishing for low-value species has increased as the removal of high-value species has stabilized or decreased, thus masking some of the effects of overfishing. Almost 75 percent of the major marine fish stocks are either overfished or being taken to their biological limit. Trawling techniques are harmful and destroy habitats for reproduction.

* Since 1980, the size of the global economy has tripled, while the population has increased by 30% to 6 billion people. Population growth and conversion for urbanization, agriculture and aquaculture purposes are leading to the reduction of mangroves, coastal wetlands, seagrass areas, and coral reefs at an alarming rate.

* Two thirds of aquaculture depends on the coastal ecosystem (mangroves, grasslands, coral reefs etc). As mangroves, coastal wetlands, and seagrasses are reduced in size, coastal habitats lose their ability to act as filters for pollutants and organisms. Indicators of habitat loss, disease, invasive species and coral bleaching (greenhouse effect) all show that biodiversity is declining. Sedimentation and pollution from the land are suffocating some coastal ecosystems, while in certain areas trawling is reducing diversity. Some commercial species such as Atlantic cod, five classes of tuna and pollock are threatened worldwide, along with several species of whales, seals, sharks and sea turtles.

* A quarter of the world's fisheries are overexploited and half are fully exploited. The catch of fish from the Atlantic Ocean and some parts of the Pacific reached its maximum potential years ago. However, only one percent of ocean waters are protected.

* More than half of the world's coral reefs are potentially threatened by human activities and, in the most populated areas, this proportion rises to 80 percent, and about 27 percent were lost.

* Indiscriminate logging and conversion have cut the world's forests in half.

* The explosive increase in harmful algae off the US coastline has involved, since 1991, nearly $ 300 million in losses due to massive fish kills, public health problems, and decreased tourism. In fact, the increasing frequency of algal blooms and hypoxia indicates that some coastal ecosystems have lost their ability to absorb polluting nutrients. Invasive species produce the interruption of the food chain, producing the elimination of native species.

* More than 1,200 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2,900 million lack access to sanitation.

* Less than three percent of the water on Earth is fresh, and most of it is found in polar ice caps or at a depth in the ground that makes it difficult to extract. The amount of fresh water that is accessible in lakes, rivers and reservoirs represents less than a quarter of 0.01 percent of the total.

* Fresh water is increasingly scarce in many countries due to agricultural use, which represents 70 percent of consumption. Only 30 percent of the water is absorbed by the crops, while the rest is wasted.

* In the 1950s, only a few countries suffered from water shortages, now there are more than 26 countries. By 2050, 66 countries with two-thirds of the world's population will face water shortages.

* 60 percent of wetlands and natural lakes have disappeared, mainly in the last 40 years, going from an estimated area of ​​280,228 hectares to 114,100 hectares.

* More than five million people die each year from water-related diseases - ten times the number of people who die in wars. A crisis that casts its shadow over two-thirds of the earth's population and that increasingly covers us due to the continuous mismanagement of water resources, population growth and changes in weather patterns.

* About 9 percent of the world's tree species are at risk of extinction; deforestation in the tropics exceeds 130,000 hectares per year, mostly in developing countries.

* Soil degradation has affected two-thirds of agricultural land in the last 50 years.
* Of the world's original forests, about 30 percent have been given to agriculture.

* Global energy consumption exceeds 9 billion tonnes of oil equivalent. While about two billion people lack electricity.

* The largest increase in energy use occurred in transportation, 95 percent of which use oil as fuel. Carbon dioxide emissions from this sector are projected to increase 75 percent in 2020.

* About 20 percent of the world's vulnerable arid areas are affected by land degradation caused by hunger, threatening the livelihoods of more than 1 billion people.

The World Summit on Environmentally Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, between August 26 and September 4, will bring together global activist leaders and business representatives to work on a program to ensure that the planet Earth can offer a dignified life to all its inhabitants, in the present and in the future.

Thirty years after Stockholm and 10 years after Rio, social and environmental problems, far from being solved, have worsened.

The stigmas of the beginning of this century turn out to be the coexistence of extreme poverty (815 million undernourished people in the world) with overconsumption and waste of resources (each year 14.6 million hectares of forests and thousands of species are lost ). 15 percent of the world's population lives in high-income countries and accounts for 56 percent of all the world's consumption, while the poorest 40 percent of the world's population, living in developing countries, corresponds only 11 percent of consumption. This waste of materials, human resources and energy, characterizes the reprehensible attitude in which the current generation fulfills its needs, while seriously compromising the availability of resources and aspirations that future generations will demand to solve their own.

If we consider the situation as a whole, the 20 percent of the world's population concentrates the greatest wealth, increasing their participation in global income from 70 to 83 percent in the last thirty years. In the same period, the poorest 20 percent of the population saw their participation decline from 2.3 to just 1.4 percent of said income. The dramatic conclusion of these figures is that today there are more than one billion human beings struggling at the minimum subsistence levels, having less than a dollar a day, in a world population of 6 billion.

On the other hand, we know that life is lengthening for each of the human beings that exist today and will be born in the years to come. And we are also aware that natural resources will not increase in sufficient proportion to equal the relationship that has existed in the past between them and the population. From this perspective, the great challenges facing humanity are settled in a trilogy:

* To be able to provide the adequate quantity and quality of food to the entire population of the world.

* Be capable of equitably distributing the food that is produced in the different areas of the earth, in such a way that this allows a minimum standard of living for all.

* Have the intelligence to incorporate more and more technology and modern knowledge to optimally combine scarce resources and thus preserve them in order to ensure the continuity of life.

The degradation of the environment constitutes, without a doubt, another of the capital problems that humanity has raised in this century. The intensive exploitation of natural resources, technological development, industrialization and the urbanization process of large territorial areas are phenomena that, uncontrolled, have come to threaten the assimilative and regenerative capacity of nature in certain regions. Climate change and its consequences is the result of anthropogenic activities that require fossil derivatives, and the interaction of their emanations with the rest of the natural deposits. The technology community agrees more or less unanimously that these greenhouse gas emissions are the center of causal imputation of climatic alterations whose externalization is the increase in the average temperature of the planet.

There has been a disturbance in the stability of the gases present in the atmosphere that constitute the layer that prevents the return of the reflected waves, which causes them to be trapped and warm the planet.

The carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere (370 parts per million) has increased by 32 percent compared to the 19th century, reaching the highest concentrations in the last 20 million years, and today we add more than 23,000 million to the atmosphere annually. tons of CO2, accelerating climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions are projected to increase by 75 percent between 2002 and 2020. Each year we emit about 100 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 70 million nitrogen oxides, 200 million carbon monoxides, and 60 million particles in suspension, aggravated the problems caused by acid rain, tropospheric ozone and local air pollution. Global energy consumption exceeds 9 billion tonnes of oil equivalent while nearly two billion people lack electricity.

The consequences are the rise in sea levels due to the dilation of oceanic masses, which flood the coastal areas and place island states on the brink of disappearance, the fall in the phytosanitary status of crops that is a looming threat on food production together with the shift of the agrarian frontier towards non-tropical zones, storms, heat waves and floods associated with changes in the rain regimes with more seasons of droughts and forest fires increased.

Overfishing, overgrazing, the consumption of firewood, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, pollution, waste production, and the growth of metropolitan areas destroy resources at a rate never before known. Transgenic crops, non-existent in 1992, today exceed 45 million hectares, and new threats have emerged such as nanotechnology and genetic engineering applied to humans. The Living Planet Report (WWWF / Adena 2002) indicates that humans are currently accumulating a huge deficit with the Earth by annually using more than 20 percent of the natural resources from which they are regenerated; and this number grows every year. Extrapolations based on probable scenarios of population growth, economic development, and technological change indicate that by 2050 humans will consume between 180 percent and 220 percent of the Earth's biological capacity. The decline in freshwater species has been dramatic with an average 54 percent decline in the populations of 195 species, which inhabit rivers and wetlands. Marine species are also threatened, with an average reduction of 35 percent in 217 species, and populations of forest species show a reduction of 15 percent in 262 species. As ecosystems decline, we are in a race against time because the necessary knowledge is lacking to determine precisely what their conditions are. Renewable resources are still the source of survival for almost a third of the world's population; For this reason, the deterioration of the environment directly reduces the standard of living and the prospects for economic improvement of rural populations.

The modern industrial economies of North America, Europe, and parts of East Asia have spent the energy and raw materials they needed to achieve the living standards they exhibit today; But to sustain them, they will have to irremediably increase the demand and consumption of available energy, which is equivalent to increasing their emissions in direct proportion. The scale of this economic activity is causing and will cause global environmental damage and pollution, widespread disruption of ecosystems.

Humanity must press all that is necessary for the following treaties to be ratified at the Johannesburg Summit:

(1) KYOTO PROTOCOL requires limiting the joint emissions of six gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, perfluorocarbon compounds (PFC), hydrofluorocarbon compounds (HFC) and sulfur hexafluoro). The Protocol in its first stage does not oblige developing countries given their low current emissions per inhabitant, and especially the historical accumulated emissions. Industrialized countries, with 20 percent of the world's population, are responsible for more than 60 percent of current emissions, and almost all historical emissions, and despite these unquestionable facts, Canada, Australia and the USA. The US conditions the ratification of the Protocol. The United States is largely responsible for climate change because with only 4.6 percent of the world's population, it emits 24 percent of the world's CO2 (more than 20 tons per inhabitant per year). For the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force it has to be ratified by a sufficient number of developed countries that together are responsible for 55 percent of emissions, the European Union and Japan have ratified it.








Among the other official objectives of the Summit are the following:

· Eradicate poverty and improve livelihoods in rural and urban areas;

· Make globalization facilitate sustainable development;

· Modify unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, including a quadrupling of energy efficiency in the next 20-30 years;

· Promote health through safe and affordable access to drinking water, reducing lead in gasoline, and improving indoor air quality;

· Providing access to energy and improving energy efficiency through the action and use of technologies that promote renewable and highly energy-efficient energy sources, and modify unsustainable patterns of energy consumption;

· Sustainable management of ecosystems and biological diversity by improving indicators and management systems, addressing the problems of overfishing, unsustainable forestry practices and marine pollution;

· Improve the management of water supplies and the distribution of water resources in a way that is more equitable;

· Provide ecologically sustainable financial and technological resources;

· Support environmentally sustainable development in Africa through new and comprehensive programs that create institutions and systems that can address human, health and environmental issues, as well as resource management;

· Strengthen the international administration system with a view to sustainable environmental development.

It is no longer possible to sustain the idea of ​​our ancestors and even of previous generations that the resources we used daily were abundant and that nature itself would take care of their indefinite maintenance. We know today that nature is not inexhaustible. Today we know, with unquestionable empirical certainty, that resources are not in a position to regenerate with the speeds required by the current styles of development in countries. Today we know that nature does not passively accept the alterations produced by man and that the improvisation with which we have used it many times can no longer exist.

Scientists point out that major climate changes are taking place on the planet. The weakening of the ozone layer, the withdrawal of the polar caps, the decrease in the quantity and volume of eternal ice, the advance of desertification and the presence of aridity as a permanent element in many regions of the planet, are signs of a nature that no longer admits arbitrary handling by man. On the other hand, we see that the desert is installed and advances in many places on the planet. Various studies show that desertification affects almost 75 percent of productive dry land, that is, about 3,500 million hectares out of a total of 4,500 million, and affects 60 percent of the rural population.

If we are to make sound decisions regarding ecosystem management in this century, dramatic changes are required in the way we use the knowledge and experience at hand, as well as in the range of additional information that we require. An ecosystem approach must be used in managing the world's critical resources, which involves evaluating decisions about the use of land and other resources in light of how these uses affect the ability of ecosystems to produce goods and services.

The crisis caused by pollution is not a simple technical problem. Its roots are philosophical and ideological. The idea that we have of what man and nature are and of the relationship between the two is of decisive importance when it comes to understanding environmental deterioration and therefore seeking solutions for it. Nature has been oppressive and oppressive to man for millennia. It is true that from her he extracted his food and the resources he needed, but at the same time she was manifested as dangerous and capricious. His life was threatened by wild beasts; their diet depended on the vagaries of the weather; fires, earthquakes and other natural accidents devastated their homes and cities; plagues and other infectious diseases decimated the population & # 8230; and all this without really understanding the forces that moved her, always dependent on caprice and chance.

Man considers nature as a source of resources whose only function is to supply what man needs. It is the dominant point of view, in practice, in recent centuries. Knowledge is the art of unconditionally dominating nature and it is considered that technological development will bring progress without more than waiting for it to grow. Man is considered as a person, in the sense that he is biologically an animal, but his being is not exhausted there, but as a creature created by God in his image and likeness, he has a dignity radically superior to all other beings of the nature.

Your job should be the care and diligent stewardship of nature. He does not have an uncontrolled hold on her. It must respect its laws, which man has not set, but have been given.

Man depends on nature, because he is inserted in it, and is at the same time its guardian due to his capacity for design. In this context, it is understood that man is the only being who has duties and obligations with respect to nature and who is responsible for his actions against it. If we look at the Gaia system through eyes other than our own, we will quickly see that we no longer have any reason to consider ourselves a form of life superior to the others.

We must rethink the way we measure economic growth. For a long time our development priorities have focused on what humanity can extract from ecosystems, without thinking too much about how this affects the biological basis of our lives.

It can be said that there has been very limited progress in reducing poverty in developing countries, and Globalization, by itself, has not benefited the majority of the world's population. In general, attempts to boost human development and stop environmental degradation have not been effective over the past decade. Scarce resources, lack of political will, a fragmented and uncoordinated approach, and continuous wasteful patterns of production and consumption have frustrated efforts to implement environmentally sustainable development, or development balanced between economic and social needs. of the population, and the capacity of terrestrial resources and ecosystems to solve present and future needs.

The responsibility to protect nature falls not only on politicians who define the national and international conditions for the protection of ecosystems, but it is also the task of each individual. The demands on politicians to take more effective measures against this problem must be accompanied by the commitment of each one of us to act in a more responsible way in promoting the defense of the goals for the protection of nature.

"What now remains compared to what existed then is like the skeleton of a sick man. Of all the fat and soft earth, after being devastated, only the bare skeleton remains & # 8230; there are some mountains that now have nothing but food for bees, but not long ago they were full of trees. " (Plato 5th century BC).

* Dr. Sommer
Ökoteccum - Germany
[email protected]

Video: The Molecular Basis of Life (July 2022).


  1. Penrod

    YES, this is on time

  2. Keaira

    An interesting option

  3. Avonmore

    Well, well, it is not necessary to speak so.

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