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Why is California Green Solutions Doing This?

It's time to bail our lifeboat!

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"...a healthier future, including green industry, green architecture, green energy, green transportation and even a greener approach to wilderness preservation..." This holiday weekend started as a chance to catch up on the many tasks I need to do to launch our series of seminars about greening businesses in California. A lofty goal...one that is daunting at times, and seems egotistic the rest of the time.

But the weekend took a sharp turn as I explored several recent articles that people on the Web are talking about and writing...and sharing. They made me remember why I'm working so hard for such a large goal.

The following summary points of an article about the upcoming United Nations summit explain why we ALL need to be working as hard as we can. Our lives depend on it. When your lifeboat springs a leak, you get busy. Our global lifeboat has sprung a leak...so man the dippers!

The Challenges We Face

In Johannesburg, leaders will debate what to do about threats to our health, food, water, climate and biodiversity

By JEFFREY KLUGER AND ANDREA DORFMAN
Posted Sunday, August 18, 2002; 7:31 a.m. EST

With 6.1 billion people relying on the resources of the same small planet, we're coming to realize that we're drawing from a finite account. The amount of crops, animals and other biomatter we extract from the earth each year exceeds what the planet can replace by an estimated 20%, meaning it takes 14.4 months to replenish what we use in 12—deficit spending of the worst kind. Sustainable development works to reverse that, to expand the resource base and adjust how we use it so we're living off biological interest without ever touching principal.

While the number of people on earth is still rising rapidly, especially in the developing countries of Asia, the good news is that the growth rate is slowing. World population increased 48% from 1975 to 2000, compared with 64% from 1950 to 1975. As this gradual deceleration continues, the population is expected to level off eventually, perhaps at 11 billion sometime in the last half of this century.

FOOD

As we try to nourish 6 billion people, both bioengineering and organic farming will help Though it's not always easy to see it from the well-fed West, up to a third of the world is in danger of starving. Two billion people lack reliable access to safe, nutritious food, and 800 million of them—including 300 million children—are chronically malnourished.

WATER

In 25 years two-thirds of humanity may live in nations running short of life's elixir For a world that is 70% water, things are drying up fast. Only 2.5% of water is fresh, and only a fraction of that is accessible. Meanwhile, each of us requires about 50 quarts per day for drinking, bathing, cooking and other basic needs. At present, 1.1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water and more than 2.4 billion lack adequate sanitation.

ENERGY AND CLIMATE

Car exhaust is a major source of the heat-trapping gases that produce global warming In the U.S., people think of rural electrification as a long-ago legacy of the New Deal. In many parts of the world, it hasn't even happened yet. About 2.5 billion people have no access to modern energy services, and the power demands of developing economies are expected to grow 2.5% per year. But if those demands are met by burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, more and more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will hit the atmosphere.

BIODIVERSITY

Unless we guard wilderness, as many as half of all species could vanish in this century

More than 11,000 species of animals and plants are known to be threatened with extinction, about a third of all coral reefs are expected to vanish in the next 30 years and about 36 million acres of forest are being razed annually. In his new book, The Future of Life, Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson writes of his worry that unless we change our ways half of all species could disappear by the end of this century. Many vanishing species provide humans with both food and medicine. What's more, once you start tearing out swaths of ecosystem, you upset the existing balance in ways that harm even areas you didn't intend to touch.

Read the full article at Time.com

Edited by Carolyn Allen
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