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close this bookWIT's World Ecology Report - Vol. 07, No. 4 - Critical Issues in Health and the Environment (WIT, 1995, 16 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSpecial Focus: The Future is Urban
View the documentHealth and Environment: Human Impact on Climate Change and Human Health
View the documentCriteria Pollutants: Their Effects, Sources, and Standards
View the documentChernobyl Update
View the documentMonsanto Provides Major Grant to Children of Chernobyl for Rural Health Program
View the documentThe Major Threats to the Earth's Environment
View the documentThe End of Guinea Worm
View the documentFood for Thought: On the Road to Istanbul - Habitat II: The City Summit
View the documentDid You Know?
View the documentThe Politics of Language in the Beijing Conference: Sex vs. Gender
View the documentGood News
View the documentInternational Environmental Law United Nations
View the documentVoices of the Planet
View the documentPoint of View: The Future is Urban: The Illusion of Change

Did You Know?


· According to the 1995 Human Development Report which focuses on women, Ireland is the safest nation in the world in which to give birth. Yet, among the developed nations, Ireland has the third highest unemployment rate. Women in Ireland earn about 69 cents to every dollar earned by men, roughly the average wage disparity found around the globe. Only six nations have more than 30% female representation in government. Those nations are Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and the Seychelles.

SOURCE: United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report, 1995.

· Reports issues by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have concluded that the human impact on global warming is clear and no longer debatable, The findings of the IPCC's first study on climate change in 1990 were ambiguous about the causes and effects of emissions from the so-called greenhouse gases. In the current study, scientists changed their search patterns so that they could detect the cooling influence of sulfates from sulfur pollution. This approach led to the firm conclusion that human activity is altering earth's climate in observable ways. The 1995 IPCC study projects that the temperature will rise 1 to 3.5 degrees by the year 2100. This is a reduced estimate from the 1990 prediction of a 3 degree increase by 2100. The lowered projection is based on current trends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The current IPCC study also revised downward its estimate of sea level rise from 65 centimeters in 2100 to between 15-90 cm over the same period. Anticipated warming trends will cause changes in rainfall, melt one-third to one-half of the existing mountain glaciers, disrupt agricultural production and diminish biological diversity. These alterations in the climate will have some negative impact on human health, but direct predictions of disease increase as a result of global warming include a rise in deaths from vector-borne diseases such as malaria. The IPCC report is expected to be released by the end of November.

SOURCE: Science News, Vol. 148, No. 19, Nov. 4, 1995.

· Outdoor carbon monoxide emissions have been linked to heart failure. A research team at the Medical College of Wisconsin measured records of meteorological conditions in seven US cities against hospital admissions for heart failure. The study concluded that the only outdoor air pollutant associated with heart-failure hospital admissions was carbon monoxide. Exhaust from motor vehicle traffic is the main source for carbon monoxide which diminishes the blood's capacity to carry oxygen. The cities analyzed were Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, and Philadelphia.

SOURCE: Science News, Vol. 148, No. 16, Oct. 14, 1995

· The smog that hangs over Mexico City most of the time may have another source besides industrial and vehicular emissions. The culprit is leaking canisters of liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. F. Sherwood Rowland, who recently received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on stratospheric ozone depletion by CFC's, and his colleague Donald R. Blake of the University of California at Irvine identified LPG as a source of smog. The researchers suggest that about one million canisters all over Mexico City may be leaking. Close to 20 million households use LPG as fuel. Rowland and Blake further suggest that LPG leakage affects other cities including Taipei, Taiwan, and Athens.

SOURCE: Science News, Vol. 148, No. 8, Aug. 19, 1995..

· Dr. Wally N'Dow, Secretary General of the United Nations Habitat II Conference to be held in Istanbul in June, 1996, sees a direct link between the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, Sept. 1995 and Habitat II. 70% of the world's 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty are women. As the number of poor people living in cities expands from 2.4 billion in 1995 to a projected 5 billion in 2025, the number of poor urban women is expected to increase. In an interview with The Earth Times, N'Dow stated, "What was started in Beijing must be put into practice in Istanbul."

SOURCE: The Earth Times, Sept. 28, 1995.

High medium and low long term population projections ere based on differing assumptions. The UN projection of 10.2 billion assumes a global fertility rate of two children per woman in 2035.