The Weekly Report Cornerstone

   WEEK 22 May 21st to 27th 2001


   The exploitation and destruction of the Amazon forest is increasing once more, for the first time in five years. An area the size of Belgium is disappearing annually. The Brazilian government own satellite program shows this. Additionally there is uncertainty whether or not the satellites are effective enough. Areas where some green is left, bushes and such, aren't registering on the satellite photos and the destruction may be far more extensive.
   Western democracies are prone to quickly blame the Brazilian government, but as several reports (from UN and elsewhere) have pointed out for years, international commercial interests are putting a heavy load on all developing countries to ruthlessly "develop" their resources.
   This is another worrying "trend" mirrored all over the world. Not only are the rain forests shrinking, but also wilderness all over the world. Natural forests are reduced in numbers and size. Some people are claiming that industrial replanting can replace or at least compensate for the loss, but they can't really defend themselves against charges put forth by independent experts stating that human-replaced forests are certainly not the hotbed of life we take for granted in natural forests.
   Marine species are dwindling as fast as those on land. Fisheries are down, especially on traditional species. Humans have moved on from one species of fish to the next the last century. When one resource reaches too low a number to be commercially useful, the world's fishermen moves on to the next. There's very little consideration concerning keeping one given species or another sustainable.
   Wilderness is ceded to the extensions of cities, to road-building, to general "progress". Humans have already changed 50 percent of the Earth and the shrinking of natural wilderness is progressive. Nature is under attack from all sides of civilization. Construction work is going on in virtually every neighborhood on the planet. Industrial parks are replacing pristine land everywhere. Is a future "Mega City", where artificial ground is covering the entire planet inevitable? There are an increasing number of concerned voices claiming this, if current policy is continuing much further. They're pointing out that we must make a choice between a world where there is life in abundance and a lifeless, sterile Earth.





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Entered 2001-05-21