The Week That Was
October 16, 1999

There is violent opposition to scientific skeptics from the "true believers" Orthodoxy cannot tolerate doubts. An op-ed in the Washington Times tells the interesting story of how the conflict is being handled by the media. In a word: poorly.


This is the anniversary date of the Declaration signed by the scientists and others who attended the Morelia symposium in Mexico in October 1991. It is a remarkable document and worth reading to understand the ideological basis for the global climate treaty that was signed in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. We ask you to contrast it to the Leipzig Declaration.

We draw your particular attention to the last two paragraphs of the Declaration. They demonstrate the extreme intrusiveness and also the extreme nuttiness in calling for "genuine equality among all living things."

The Declaration was signed by a number of well known scientists including some well-known Americans, such as F.Sherwood Rowland (U Cal Irvine), Thomas Lovejoy (Smithsonian), Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), and Lester Brown (Worldwatch Institute).



A unique exchange has taken place. For the first time environmentalists, scientists, representatives from the active tribes of North and South America, political activists and writers from 20 countries have spent a week in Mexico discussing the state of the world as we approach the end of the millennium. Independently, but without exception, each participant expressed concern that life on our planet is in grave danger.

° 24 billion tons of topsoil from cropland are being lost every year. If deforestation and other forms of land erosion continue at the current rate, the scientists present stated that by the end of the decade the earth will have no additional farmland but nearby a billion new mouths to feed.

° The nuclear disaster of Chernobyl 1986, which in varying degrees has subjected over 35 million people to radioactive assaults, was only one of more than an hundred nuclear accidents which took place over the last decade. At the conference the scientist responsible for the cleanup of Chernobyl stated his belief that at least three nuclear catastrophes on the scale of Chernobyl are likely to take place by the year 2000 AD

° 70% of the world's population lives within 100 miles of the sea. The profligate use of fossil fuels by the industrialized world is rapidly and irreversibly changing our climate. Experts stressed that continued rising sea levels and global warming will lead to massive flooding of coastal areas, creating millions of new environmental refugees on an even greater scale than we witness annually in countries like Bangladesh.

° Human survival depends on biological diversity. At current rates of environmental destruction, especially the wanton destruction of tropical forests in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, we will lose at least a million species within the next ten years and a quarter of all living species within the next fifty years.

I. We the participants of the Morelia Symposium urge the leaders of the world at the Earth Summit to be held in June 1992 in Brazil to commit themselves to ending ecocide and ethnocide, and we propose the creation of an International Court of the Environment modelled on the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

II. 20% of the world's population consumes 80% of its wealth and is responsible for 75% of its pollution. We believe there is sufficient knowledge and technology available to reduce the obscene disparity of wealth. We demand a genuine transfer of knowledge and resources from North to South, not the dumping of obsolescent and inefficient technologies and products. There must be an immediate end to the international traffic in toxic waste, urgent reduction of the pollution of rivers and oceans by industrial waste and human sewage, an end to the unprincipled export of banned pesticides and other chemicals to the economically desperate countries of the Third World, and the immediate availability of information and means to allow people to individually and voluntarily pursue the goal of population stabilization.

III. Traditional societies are the best managers of biodiversity. For the last five hundred years the knowledge and the rights of the native American peoples have been ignored. We believe that respecting the interests of indigenous peoples, both in the Americas and throughout the rest of the world, who have become exploited minorities in their own countries, is crucial for the preservation of biological and cultural diversity. We deplore the cultural pollution and loss of tradition which have led to global rootlessness, leaving humans, through the intensity of mass-marketing, vulnerable to the pressures of economic and political totalitarianism and habits of mass-consumption and waste which imperil the earth.

IV. At the Earth Summit of June 1992, we demand that world leaders sign a Global Climate Change Convention. Industrialized countries must make a minimum commitment to a 20% reduction of their carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2000 A.D. We insist on rigorous implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Protection of the Ozone Layer. We also demand the signing of a convention to protect biological diversity, and the evidence of concrete progress in negotiations for a global forests treaty.

V. The proven economic folly of nuclear power coupled to the probability of environmental catastrophe necessitate the urgent substitution of nuclear energy by clean, safe and efficient energy systems. The military establishment must cease the proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and convert a significant proportion of military expenditure to expenditure on environmental security. To ensure this, we demand an end to secrecy and a right to freedom of information in all matters concerning the world's environment.

The participants at this conference wish to stress that environmental destruction cannot be confined within the boundaries of any nation state. We urge our fellow writers, environmentalists, scientists, members of indigenous minorities, and all concerned people to join us in demanding the creation of an International Court of the Environment at which environmentally criminal activity can be brought to the attention of the entire world.

If the latter half of the 20th century has been marked by human liberation movements, the final decade of the second millennium will be characterized by liberation movements among species, so that one day we can attain genuine equality among all living things.

(As reported in The New York Times Thursday, October 10, 1991)


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