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From: "Billy Brown" <email@example.com>
>The Amazon rain forest is being destroyed by peasants clearing
>land for farms. Wildlife extinction in Africa is largely a result
>of local farmers and ranchers clearing out "vermin" to protect
>their crops and herds (although foreign hunters are also factor in
>some cases). The devastation on the Indian subcontinent is a
>direct result of overpopulation. Most third World countries don't
>make any efforts at all to limit pollution, so local industry
>tends to be very dirty regardless of who owns it. Is there some
>other area I've missed?
Most of the land being cleared by peasants in Brazil is to raise cattle for export to american fast food chains. Gold fever has also taken it's toll.
Kenya in 1976 had 1.1 million elephants, then under advisement from animal right's advocates they banned sport hunting, and lost 1 million elephants to poaching (hunting has been restored). South Africa and Botswanna both have always had legal hunting and have to cull thousands of elephants every year. South Africa has not lost an elephant to poachers since 1986.
Last time I looked Ducks Unlimited owned over 300,000 acres of prime wetland habitat, PETA owned 0.
I agree with the problems of overpopulation.
>Meanwhile, in America most types of pollution have been decreasing
>for about a century now. We have more mature forest than we did
>at the turn of the century, and we've set aside a significant
>fraction of the country as a permanent nature preserve. Every
>industry in the country is subject to reams of environmental
>regulation, and we spend tens of billions of dollars a year on
>research aimed at figuring out how to do a better job of
>protecting the environment.
Mature maybe, old growth... no way. They log on so-called nature preserves all the time.
>To mind, these facts lead inevitably to the conclusion that the
>real work of environmentalism is in the third world. America is
>in good shape already, and things will naturally tend to improve
>as our understanding of conservation issues increases. Places
>like Brazil and Bangladesh, OTOH, are headed for an experiment in
>complete ecological destruction if nothing is done.
We have completely dominated our ecosystem, I don't see this as enviromentally sound. I agree on Brazil and Bangladesh.
>The natural question, then, is what can be done?
>4) We can ask ourselves *why* these people are destroying their
>own land, and look for ways to change these underlying factors.
>This is potentially a very productive approach, since it involves
>spreading knowledge, technology, freedom and extropian ideas to
>some of the most impoverished people in the world. However, it
>requires a lot of hard work and a real understanding of
>how politics, economics and social systems actually work. It
>isn't something you can do by holding conferences in exotic
>cities, preaching on TV, or even starting a government program.
This is the best of the options you've stated, but the answer is to set a good example ourselves, something we've been reluctant to do...
Gaviotas (see REAL GOODS book shelves) is a good alternative, and it's homebrewed.
Member, Extropy Institute
Member, Life Extension Foundation
Current reading: Cryptonimicon (page 608 of 900) by Neal Stephenson
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