The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Stop rape of our planet
by David Alton


From The Universe dated August 21, 1994:

As long ago as 1980 the World Wildlife Fund, as it was then called, the United Nations Environment Programme and the international union for the Conservation of Nature published their World Conservation Strategy.

They argued that man is just a part of the ecological order, not its master; that we lack a sense of responsibility in caring for creation. In the developing countries the situation is disastrous.

  • The deserts of the world are now expanding by 60,000 kilometres annually - almost the size of Ireland.
  • Every minute 20 hectares of tropical rain-forest are destroyed - these are the most important ecosystems on the globe. The area of productive forest will be halved during this decade.
  • 25,000 plant species and 1,000 species and sub-species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish, face extinction.

The bulldozers and chainsaws hack down the forests, the aircraft spray their defoliants, the factory ships ruthlessly deplete fish stocks, and the prospectors extract minerals while destroying flora, fauna and anything else that stands in the way of a quick buck. We have the cheek to call this progress.

A World Conservation Strategy could maintain real progress without these dire consequences.

Britain and the EC should emulate Denmark's admirable Environmental Investments Support Act by directing loans and grants into appropriate technologies.

We should increase our aid programme and direct a high proportion of the extra funds at tackling environmental damage and the depletion of resources.

We should improve our own skills and knowledge about the management of forestry, the assessment of resources and pest and disease control; and make the knowledge available in the developing world.

We should take positive action against multinationals and other companies who wantonly destroy and irresponsibly pollute. Non-governmental agencies should target the very poorest people and plant fast-growing energy crops and dig wells - to combat soil erosion and deforestation.

Taken together such a strategy would ensure the sustainable use of natural resources by us and by future generations while at the same time improving the lives of the poorest people living in the poorest countries.

It is very hard for those of us privileged to live in the rich world to fully understand the awfulness of the poor world. Mine is not an appeal to simply cast away the products of the consumer society.

When the juggernaut slows down and our economies stagnate it is the poor who inevitably come off the worse. There are lots of things we could no doubt do without, but economic flagellation and hair shirts hold little appeal for most people.

We should show a greater sense of responsibility in how we use our gifts.

This is no unattainable or dreamy ideal. Mankind must urgently recognise that our complex world is politically and economically interconnected and each of us is dependent on the other.

Reproduced with thanks.

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