UN Global Environmental Outlook: Not Good

By Ben Bull
Published October 26, 2007

The United Nations Environment Program has just released its latest report on the environment and third world development.

Here are some highlights of the Global Environmental Outlook, as summarized by

On third world poverty:

Asia and the Pacific, home to 60 percent of the world's people, are making "remarkable" progress in reducing poverty. The region is also improving its ability to protect the environment; energy efficiency is increasing in many places, and drinking water provision has advanced considerably in the last decade.

But progress has come at a price. Increases in consumption and associated waste have contributed to the exponential growth in existing environmental problems. Serious challenges remain, including urban air quality, fresh water stress, agricultural land use (a threat to food security) and increased waste. The illegal traffic in electronic and hazardous waste is a new challenge affecting human health and the environment.

On Population Increase and Globalization:

[The report] also mentioned that ecosystems and human health in Asia and the Pacific continue to deteriorate, while population growth and rapid economic development have driven significant environmental degradation and loss of natural resources.

On Climate Change:

This is the first GEO report in which all seven of the world's regions emphasize the potential impacts of climate change, which GEO-4 said is likely to mean more severe droughts and floods in the region, as well as soil degradation, coastal inundation and salt water intrusion caused by sea level rise.

In case anyone has forgotten, our planet is slowly dying. With all this talk of war, we would be wise to remember the real enemy in our midst: ourselves.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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