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10/26/2007

Natural decline 'hurting lives'

EARTH/SCIENCE

Continuing destruction of the natural world is affecting the health, wealth and well-being of people around the globe, according to a major UN report. The Global Environment Outlook says most trends are going the wrong way. It lists degradation of farmland, loss of forest cover, pollution, dwindling fresh water supplies and overfishing among society's environmental ills. There is a "remarkable lack of urgency" to reverse these trends. "There continue to be persistent and intractable problems unresolved and unaddressed. This assault on the global environment risks undermining the many advances human society has made. Past issues remain and new ones are emerging, from the rapid rise of oxygen 'dead zones' in the oceans to the resurgence of new and old diseases linked in part with environmental degradation." The well-being of millions of people in the developing world is put at risk by failure to remedy problems which have been tackled in richer societies. "This assault on the global environment risks undermining the many advances human society has made in recent decades. It is undercutting our fight against poverty. It could even come to jeopardise international peace and security."
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