[GRRN] [earthsystems.org News] July 5, 2000

From: Shay Mitchell (shay@earthsystems.org)
Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 13:57:07 EDT

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    earthsystems.org news Volume 2 Issue 27

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    SEARCH EARTHSYSTEMS.ORG: We have just completed an upgrade of our
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    last week. You can search the WWW Virtual Library - Environment, our environmental
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    Given the brevity of this week due to the 4th of July holiday, we are extending last
    week's issue and poll until next week. The issue: The World's Water Supply, is it
    in danger of drying up?



    Desertification is spreading across northern China, caused by rampant
    logging, overgrazing, and the cultivation of marginal lands for
    farming, and exacerbated by drought. About a dozen severe sandstorms
    hit Beijing this spring. The village of Longbaoshan outside Beijing
    is threatened by a mountain of sand that's advancing at a rate of
    about 30 feet a year, a phenomenon that's become known as the "Flying
    Desert" and is beginning to attract tourists. To help address the
    problem, the government has banned logging in many areas and offered
    to give farmers free grain if they begin planting trees instead of
    crops. To aid the drought-stricken north, the government is also
    considering whether to revive a controversial decades-old plan to
    divert water northward from the flood-prone Yangtze River basin,
    despite concerns about the plan's feasibility, high cost, and
    potential to cause pollution.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Paul Eckert, 06.22.00

    straight to the source: MSNBC, Associated Press, Elaine Kurtenbach, 06.15.00

    The Los Angeles metro area made a national first on Friday by
    adopting sweeping rules that will require new transit buses and
    garbage trucks to be powered by electricity, fuel cells, or
    relatively low-polluting fuels such as natural gas. The new rules,
    intended to cut down on diesel emissions that foul the air and are
    believed to cause cancer, could spur similar action in other U.S.
    cities plagued by air pollution. The rules are a victory for
    enviros, public health advocates, and community leaders who have been
    fighting to curb diesel pollution in L.A.

    straight to the source: Sacramento Bee, Chris Bowman, 06.17.00


    straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Jeffrey L. Rabin, 06.18.00


    Even as new roads are built into the Amazon and ranching, farming,
    and logging continue to pose huge threats to the rainforest, some
    business and political leaders in the region are increasingly
    advocating environmentally friendly development. For example, the
    government of Joao Capiberibe, the governor of Amapa, one of nine
    states in the Brazilian Amazon, has prohibited wood cutting and
    soybean farming and is encouraging the production of organic
    hearts-of-palm. In the neighboring state of Para, the company
    AgroPalma hopes to make Brazil a leading producer of palm oil, which
    comes from trees that take well to land already degraded by farming
    and ranching, removing an incentive to clear yet more rainforest for
    cultivation. The World Wildlife Fund is helping to shepherd
    small-scale environmentally friendly projects throughout the region.

    straight to the source: New York Times, Simon Romero, 06.17.00


    More than a dozen former members of an elite Israeli naval unit are
    filing suit against the government for endangering their health by
    requiring them to swim and dive in the horrendously polluted Kishon
    River, and occasionally even drink the river's putrid water as
    punishment. More than 30 of the naval commandos have been struck
    with cancer and about 10 have died. Some of the living refuse to
    come forward for fear of retribution from the government. Though
    contaminants from the river sometimes took more than 40 minutes to
    scrub off in the shower and some men lost consciousness under the
    water, the military continued to require training dives in the
    polluted river until the nation's largest newspaper drew attention to
    the issue.

    straight to the source: Planet Ark, Reuters, Danielle Haas, 06.22.00


    Dozens of illegal immigrants each night enter the New River in
    Mexicali, Mexico, and float north, hoping to elude U.S. Border Patrol
    agents who usually avoid the river for fear of pollution. Mexicali
    dumps 20 to 25 million gallons of raw sewage into the river daily,
    according to the California Water Resources Control Board, and the
    river also picks up agricultural and industrial wastes as it flows
    north. By the time it reaches the border town of Calexico, Calif.,
    it violates U.S. water quality standards by several hundred-fold and
    contains nearly 30 viruses ranging from hepatitis A to polio, as well
    as chemicals and heavy metals. Border agents who have dived in to
    rescue drowning immigrants have contracted skin rashes and infections.

    straight to the source: MSNBC, Eric Niiler, 06.22.00


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