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TradingWizard
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Earth's surface drying up, UN warns

BY CHRIS HAWLEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS

UNITED NATIONS - Increasingly vast areas of the world are being turned into desert wasteland every year and the problem threatens to send millions of people fleeing to greener countries to survive, the United Nations says.
One-third of the Earth's surface is at risk, driving people into cities and destroying agriculture in vast swaths of Africa. Thirty-one per cent of Spain is threatened, while China has lost 92,100 square kilometres to desert - an area 20 per cent larger than New Brunswick - since the 1950s.

This week the United Nations marks the 10th anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification, a plan aimed at stopping the phenomenon. Despite the efforts, the trend seems to be picking up speed - doubling its pace since the 1970s.

"It's a creeping catastrophe," said Michel Smitall, a spokesman for the UN secretariat that oversees the 1994 accord. "Entire parts of the world might become uninhabitable."

Slash-and-burn agriculture, sloppy conservation, overtaxed water supplies and soaring populations are mostly to blame. But global warming is taking its toll, too.

The United Nations is holding a ceremony in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday to mark World Day to Combat Desertification, and will hold a meeting in Brazil this month to take stock of the problem.

Underlining the problem, the UN says:


Each year from the mid-1990s to 2000, a total of 3,558 square kilometres - an area almost 65 per cent the size of Prince Edward Island - has turned into desert. That's up from 2,100 square kilometres each years in the 1980s, and 1,560 square kilometres in the 1970s.

By 2025, two-thirds of arable land in Africa will disappear, along with one-third of Asia's and one-fifth of South America's.

Some 135 million people - equivalent to the populations of France and Germany combined - are at risk of being displaced.
Most at risk are dry regions on the edges of deserts - places like sub-Saharan Africa or the Gobi Desert in China, where people are already struggling to eke out a living.

As populations expand, those regions have become more stressed. Trees are cut for firewood, grasslands are overgrazed, fields are over-farmed and lose their nutrients, water becomes scarcer and dirtier.

Technology can make the problem worse. In parts of Australia, irrigation systems are pumping up salty water and slowly poisoning farms. In Saudi Arabia, herdsmen can use water trucks instead of taking their animals from oasis to oasis - but by staying in one place, the herds are getting bigger and eating all the grass.

In Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, coastal resorts are swallowing up water that once moistened the wilderness. Many farmers in those countries still flood their fields instead of using more miserly "drip irrigation," and the resulting shortages are slowly baking the life out of the land.

The result is a patchy "rash" of dead areas, rather than an easy-to-see expansion of existing deserts, scientists say. These areas have their good times and bad times as the weather changes. But in general, they are getting bigger and worse-off.

"It's not as dramatic as a flood or a big disaster like an earthquake," said Richard Thomas of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. "There are some bright spots and hot spots. But overall, there is a trend toward increasing degradation."

The trend is speeding up, but it has been going on for centuries, scientists say. Fossilized pollen and seeds, along with ancient tools like grinding stones, show that much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savannah, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants and cows once lived there.

Global warming contributes to the problem, making many dry areas drier, scientists say. In the last century, average temperatures have risen over more than half a degree Celsius worldwide, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

As for the American Southwest, it is too early to tell whether its six-year drought could turn to something more permanent. But scientists note that reservoir levels are dropping as cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas expand.

"In some respects you may have greener vegetation showing up in people's yards, but you may be using water that was destined for the natural environment," said Stuart Marsh of the University of Arizona's Office of Arid Lands Studies. "That might have an effect on the biodiversity surrounding that city."

------------------
'Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.' - Helen Keller


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TickerToo
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This is huge. Take an aerial shot of the Phoenix Metro area in 1980 and compare it to today. The growth is neverending, but the water most certainly is.

Most folks in power are just going to blow this off because we no longer think about the future, just today. The past 25 years has been about instant gratification, faster computers, faster food, faster mail (email), faster relationships, etc etc. Now Now Now!!! Our new politicians grew-up knowing only instant gratification.

Ever read "Our Final Hour" by Sir Martin Rees? Rather gloomy, but what blows your mind is it is real. Not fantasy like Orsen Wells... but real.

Right now the powers that be... all over the world, seem to be too busy covering their immediate rearends to even think about the future 20 years from now. I hope they will do more then just postulate at the upcoming U.N. conference.

And all this from a happy, positive person! Oh my!

Any solutions? Any suggestions? I'm game!!


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TickerToo
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And since this is a stock board...

Any other stocks that you know of? I'm not knowledgeable yet to grasp all that's reported in SEC filings. Or rather, what it means if not in words and full sentences.

1) UCSYE - Universal Communications System
AirWater Corp is their subsidiary

http://www.ucsy.com/

or:

2) ELGT - Electric & Gas Technology
Atmospheric Water Technology Inc
their subsidiary.
Not sure about their latest SEC filing.
You'll see pr statements regarding
lawsuit. Not sure I grasp who was
really in the wrong there, or if it's
just about name calling & character
defamation.

http://www.elgt-amti.com/index.htm


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StonedPigeon
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Have no fear sooner or later the earth will
fix itself. We might not be here but the
planet will be fine.

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TickerToo
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WHEW!!!

Okey-Doke. I'll go ahead and get-up in the morning!


quote:
Originally posted by StonedPigeon:
Have no fear sooner or later the earth will
fix itself. We might not be here but the
planet will be fine.


Posts: 206 | From: Anthem | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MOSES2
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Who cares- the earth is overrated anyway. Life was so much better when I was 'out there'. Don't ask- I would have to kill you after I explained it to you...
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HasmirFenring
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In the areas that I have lived in, the summers are becoming a bigger and bigger concern in terms of forest fires. It gets so dry and so hot that we just sit around and wait for them to start, we all know they will, and they are getting harder and harder to contain and predict...If the trend keeps going things will become difficult in a couple of decades.
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WWJD-thru-me
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Living in Massachusetts in the winter with a steady streak of weeks of below zero weather it is hard to get excited about Global warming. Some of the solutions to the water problems are as simple as less paving-blacktop, concrete and other barriers to water being able to soak back into the earth. When paradise is completely paved there is very little room for the water to be filtered thru the earth and back to the aquifiers. The environmentalists who are unfriendly to business and big business don't help things. There are no simple answers. Every industry and household needs to be part of the solution. And it needs to be in every nation. The sad thing is if people are struggling to find clean water and food and shelter and heat -the environment is way down on the list of their priorities. And most of the world is in exactly that place. We are the ones who have it easy and we don't want to be inconvenienced to do without anything. We are paving everything in sight and calling it progress. I can't say this is even one of my big priorities but if we run out of green spaces and clean water and air I may have to make it one. -Debi So lets all plant a tree or two and maybe have a single driveway instead of a triple. Maybe parking lots should have trees and green islands in the middle to help keep water in the area. And this is way too radical-Give up air conditioning? No, that is too extreme-how about we find some alternate fuels and invest in new technologies that are earth friendly. I can live with that.
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pharmdman
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quote:
Originally posted by StonedPigeon:
Have no fear sooner or later the earth will
fix itself. We might not be here but the
planet will be fine.

You are so right SP. The infecting organism doesn't realize it's the problem. Mother Nature does have a way of cleaning house.


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HasmirFenring
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I agree that winter is cold. I don't think we should hang our hats on that...This attitude of "when it becomes a problem then we will make it a priority"...with respect, this reveals a poor understanding of the way an ecosystem works...The world does not work on the scale of one human lifetime, so this attitude of "we'll see how it goes" is going to put all of our children and their grandchildren down poop creek without a paddle. But at least their great grandparents had airconditioning.
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HasmirFenring
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Where I live right now, 400 fires and counting....Last year at this time we had 120, and that was the worst year in awhile...And it gets cold in the winter here too, very cold.
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glassman
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I read a lot of scientific publications from a wide variety of disciplines. We are the current "plague" upon the earth no question....
However, one volcano (Pinatubo, sp? DID) can deposit more "evironmentally unfriendly" LOL material into the atmosphere in 1 day than we do (at our worst)in over a year.....
does this mean we don't need to worry about what we do? NO it means we need to start planning a lot better than we are cuz we are already stretching the limits without significant evironmental disasters.
The last 75 years have been (meteorologically) about as perfect as we humans could want. Historically speaking we have have enjoyed a "lull" in the weather.... All those Spanish galleons that wrecked on the coast of Florida didn't wreck by accident. They were GREAT sailors. They wrecked because (historically) it is more common for there to be a lot more serious storms than there has been in the last 75 years. ask any evolutionary biologist, they will tell you that ADAPTATION is the only key to success.

[This message has been edited by glassman (edited July 07, 2004).]


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TradingWizard
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Cool site to surf: http://www.climatehotmap.org/
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Mitchell Rowan
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quote:
Originally posted by TradingWizard:
Earth's surface drying up, UN warns

BY CHRIS HAWLEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS

UNITED NATIONS - Increasingly vast areas of the world are being turned into desert wasteland every year and the problem threatens to send millions of people fleeing to greener countries to survive, the United Nations says.
One-third of the Earth's surface is at risk, driving people into cities and destroying agriculture in vast swaths of Africa. Thirty-one per cent of Spain is threatened, while China has lost 92,100 square kilometres to desert - an area 20 per cent larger than New Brunswick - since the 1950s.

This week the United Nations marks the 10th anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification, a plan aimed at stopping the phenomenon. Despite the efforts, the trend seems to be picking up speed - doubling its pace since the 1970s.

"It's a creeping catastrophe," said Michel Smitall, a spokesman for the UN secretariat that oversees the 1994 accord. "Entire parts of the world might become uninhabitable."

Slash-and-burn agriculture, sloppy conservation, overtaxed water supplies and soaring populations are mostly to blame. But global warming is taking its toll, too.

The United Nations is holding a ceremony in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday to mark World Day to Combat Desertification, and will hold a meeting in Brazil this month to take stock of the problem.

Underlining the problem, the UN says:


Each year from the mid-1990s to 2000, a total of 3,558 square kilometres - an area almost 65 per cent the size of Prince Edward Island - has turned into desert. That's up from 2,100 square kilometres each years in the 1980s, and 1,560 square kilometres in the 1970s.

By 2025, two-thirds of arable land in Africa will disappear, along with one-third of Asia's and one-fifth of South America's.

Some 135 million people - equivalent to the populations of France and Germany combined - are at risk of being displaced.
Most at risk are dry regions on the edges of deserts - places like sub-Saharan Africa or the Gobi Desert in China, where people are already struggling to eke out a living.

As populations expand, those regions have become more stressed. Trees are cut for firewood, grasslands are overgrazed, fields are over-farmed and lose their nutrients, water becomes scarcer and dirtier.

Technology can make the problem worse. In parts of Australia, irrigation systems are pumping up salty water and slowly poisoning farms. In Saudi Arabia, herdsmen can use water trucks instead of taking their animals from oasis to oasis - but by staying in one place, the herds are getting bigger and eating all the grass.

In Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, coastal resorts are swallowing up water that once moistened the wilderness. Many farmers in those countries still flood their fields instead of using more miserly "drip irrigation," and the resulting shortages are slowly baking the life out of the land.

The result is a patchy "rash" of dead areas, rather than an easy-to-see expansion of existing deserts, scientists say. These areas have their good times and bad times as the weather changes. But in general, they are getting bigger and worse-off.

"It's not as dramatic as a flood or a big disaster like an earthquake," said Richard Thomas of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. "There are some bright spots and hot spots. But overall, there is a trend toward increasing degradation."

The trend is speeding up, but it has been going on for centuries, scientists say. Fossilized pollen and seeds, along with ancient tools like grinding stones, show that much of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa were once green. The Sahara itself was a savannah, and rock paintings show giraffes, elephants and cows once lived there.

Global warming contributes to the problem, making many dry areas drier, scientists say. In the last century, average temperatures have risen over more than half a degree Celsius worldwide, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

As for the American Southwest, it is too early to tell whether its six-year drought could turn to something more permanent. But scientists note that reservoir levels are dropping as cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas expand.

"In some respects you may have greener vegetation showing up in people's yards, but you may be using water that was destined for the natural environment," said Stuart Marsh of the University of Arizona's Office of Arid Lands Studies. "That might have an effect on the biodiversity surrounding that city."



For a solution to the worlds water problems please look at "Flexible Solutions" symbol:FSI



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glassman
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by glassman:
I read a lot of scientific publications from a wide variety of disciplines. We are the current "plague" upon the earth no question....
However, one volcano (Pinatubo, sp? DID) can deposit more "evironmentally unfriendly" LOL material into the atmosphere in 1 day than we do (at our worst)in over a year.....
does this mean we don't need to worry about what we do? NO it means we need to start planning a lot better than we are cuz we are already stretching the limits without significant evironmental disasters.
The last 75 years have been (meteorologically) about as perfect as we humans could want. Historically speaking we have have enjoyed a "lull" in the weather.... All those Spanish galleons that wrecked on the coast of Florida didn't wreck by accident. They were GREAT sailors. They wrecked because (historically) it is more common for there to be a lot more serious storms than there has been in the last 75 years.
ask any evolutionary biologist, they will tell you that ADAPTATION is the only key to success.


[This message has been edited by glassman (edited September 01, 2004).]


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glassman
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a prayer for the east coast......
Posts: 36378 | From: USA | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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