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EARTH DAY REPORT CARD

We have failed to reverse the trends that gave rise to Earth Day 30 years ago. While we receive high marks for our ability to turn the Earth’s resources to our immediate use, we are failing toprotect the Earth from ecological decline, according to the 30 year ecologicalreport card issued in the latest issue of World Watch magazine.

The report charts a disconnect between the current growth in the world’s economy and the health of the Earth’sfailing ecology. The number of cars, people, and fishing boats has boomed, butat the same time forest cover, farmland per person, and rates of fish catchhave plummeted. The destructive trends that sparked the first Earth Day in 1970 continue to cause massive ecologicaldecline, finds the report.

The report examines seven keymoments that have helped define the current state of the environment, includingthe invention of the automobile, the agricultural embrace of monoculture cropsby companies like McDonalds, and India’s backlash against family planning inthe face of enforced birth control.

In looking to the future, the reportoffers an outline of events—past and future—that could turn the negative trendsaround in the next 30 years. Theseshifts include the worldwide rise of citizen groups in response to corporateand government shortcomings, the potential for the Precautionary Principle toplay a major role in the outcome of climate negotiations, and the worldwidespread of micropower—small-scale renewable energy that is increasinglyproviding off-the-grid energy in countries from the Dominican Republic toZimbabwe.

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Written by: Worldwatch Institute


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