|WIT's World Ecology Report - Vol. 06, No. 1 - Critical Issues in Health and the Environment (WIT, 1994, 16 pages)|
· Scientists have isolated a disease resistant gene in one type of tomato, cloned it and inserted it into a variety of tomatoes that lack that gene. The cloned gene signals the plants defense system to ward off an invasion by bacteria that cause a leaf destroying disease known as "speck". Researches predict that similar advances with other crops will significantly reduce the need for pesticides by the end of the century.
SOURCE: Time Magazine, December 6, 1993
· A controversial Oregon wildlife biologist was named to head the U.S. Forest Service. Jack Ward Thomas became environmentalist's hero by urging logging cutbacks to save the northern spotted owl. The Forest Service's senior scientist, Thomas appointment has been widely applauded by environmentalists and widely criticized by timber industry officials.
SOURCE: USA TODAY, November 18, 1993
· The UNITED Nations Population Award Committee gave their 1993 awards to the president of Egypt, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and the Family Planning & Health Foundation of Turkey. President Mubarak received the honor for his international leadership on population issues including the establishment of the National Population Council for Egypt and the Ministry for Population & Family Matters. He introduced family planning into Egypt's five year development plans. He is credited with having reduce his nation's population growth rate from 3% in 1985 to 2.3% in 1991. Cairo will host the International Conference on population and Development in September of 1994
· The Family Planning & Health Foundation of Turkey, created by a group of industrialists and scientists offers clinical services to workers at factories and to rural migrant workers.
SOURCE: The United Nations Population Fund.
The Pacific Materials Exchange (PME) is proving that one industry's trash may be another's recycled treasure. It is estimated that industry currently saves $27 million annually by using waste exchange. This is only a small portion of the potential savings, according to Robert Smee, director of PME.
SOURCE: EnviroNews Vol. 101, Number 3, 1993
· Fierce opposition from Dutch environmental organization has led to new forms of packaging being used by Dutch manufacturers. Within the last year 80% of Dutch products are packaged in materials that do not contain PVC's (Polyvinyl Chlorides). Commercial reaction was swift once Dutch environmentalists started a media campaign the harvest of which was, "Packed In PVC Means Packed In Poison."
SOURCE: WIT Chapter, the Netherlands.
· The world's reserves of natural gas could provide energy equivalent to 1,500 billion barrels of oil. But taking advantage of these reserves, which often exist in places far from big energy users, requires that scientists develop ways of transporting this fuel efficiently.
Toward that end, two research teams have developed new catalytic processes for converting methane, the major component of natural gas, into methanol, an easily transported liquid.
SOURCE: Catalytica, Inc.
Are We Running Out of Trees?
Many people have the impression that America's forests are being rapidly depleted by logging companies. That may have been true in 1920, when timber was being cut down an twice the rate forests were growing. But now more than two trees are planted for every one cut down, and timber growth exceeds annual harvests by 33 percent. In fact, the number of trees is greater today-an estimated 230 billion-than at any time since the turn of the century.
Source: Reprinted from Reader's Digest, October 1993
FIGURES FROM U.S. FOREST SERVICE, ADAPTED FROM "THE TRUTH ABOUT
AMERICA'S FORESTS," EVERGREEN, 4025 CRATER LAKE HWY., MEDFORD, ORE. 97504 CHART: