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How Bad Is It?

The following press release was web published on the Sierra Club’s Sprawl listserv in August, 1999. It gives as good an explanation as we’ve seen of how bad the current world-wide ecological crises has become. We reprint it here with the permission of the press office of the International Botanical Congress. For more information, contact Ellen Wilson, Dennis Kelly or Eileen Kugler at ewilson@burnessc.com or phone the IBC press office at 314-611-3961 or 314-621-4827

XVI International Botanical Congress

NEARLY HALF OF EARTH’S LAND HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED BY HUMANS; 50 ‘DEAD ZONES’ FOUND IN OCEANS

ALTERATION OF LAND AND WATER IMPAIR EARTH’S ABILITY TO MAINTAIN QUALITY OF HUMAN LIFE, RESEARCHER ASSERTS

ST. LOUIS, MO, August 2, 1999 – Humans have gravely altered the chemistry, biology and physical structure of the Earth’s land and water, according to the latest findings on the “human footprint on Earth.” The data showed that nearly half of the land surface of Earth has been changed, and some 50 ‘dead zones’ (areas with little or no oxygen) have developed in the Earth’s coastal waters.

The latest findings, analyzed by Drs. Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University and Harold A. Mooney and Peter M. Vitousek of Stanford University, show a “disturbing negative trend in the Earth’s ability to maintain the quality of human life,” Lubchenco stated.

Continue reading How Bad Is It?

Not the Counter Culture Anymore

by Shelley Gerstein

This essay first appeared in Coast Magazine’s Holiday Issue, 1996
reprinted with permission of the author

It’s said of computers, garbage in – garbage out. The same is true about understanding ourselves. If we rely on false myths about ourselves and our history, no matter how sophisticated our analysis, our conclusions about our society will be as false as the input.

The recent election has highlighted one of these myths. In the last days of the campaign, Perot called President Clinton a draft dodger and said the American people should be ashamed they elected him in 1992. And Dole’s criticisms, too, went beyond the political. Though never explicitly stated, there seemed to be the deeply held judgement that Clinton was a free-lovin free-loader who wouldn’t fight for his country; that he personally embodied what was wrong with America — a long-hair, a pot smoker, a hippie with a feminist wife.

Continue reading Not the Counter Culture Anymore