>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
March 30, 2005

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

Report: Human Damage to Earth Worsening Fast

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) – Humans are damaging the planet at an unprecedented rate and raising risks of abrupt collapses in nature that could spur disease, deforestation or “dead zones” in the seas, an international report said on Wednesday.

So what? HAHAHA, RIGHT?! I mean, I have a MIDTERM on Tuesday! Talk about DEVASTATING!

The study, by 1,360 experts in 95 nations, said a rising human population had polluted or over-exploited two thirds of the ecological systems on which life depends, ranging from clean air to fresh water, in the past 50 years.

You're right, I'm sorry. Lots of that was probably me. I mean, I know that I alone have exploited one third of those ecological systems they were talking about just last January. And that's my bad.

“At the heart of this assessment is a stark warning,” said the 45-member board of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

Wow. So like, all 45 people were talking in unison? Orrr…how's that work?

“Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted,” it said.

All right dude, calm down. All I asked you is what were we having for dinner. Jesus.

Ten to 30 percent of mammal, bird and amphibian species were already threatened with extinction, according to the assessment, the biggest review of the planet's life support systems.

Ten to thirty? That's a pretty big range. Why don't you get back to me when you can tell me EXACTLY how many animals we're going to make extinct, thanks.

“Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel,” the report said.

I would like to eat a sandwich that contains all of that. Then call it a day.

“This has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on earth,” it added. More land was changed to cropland since 1945, for instance, than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

Yes, but also in the 18th and 19th century people used to eat their young. And that don't make no sense to me!

GETTING WORSE

“The harmful consequences of this degradation could grow significantly worse in the next 50 years,” it said. The report was compiled by experts, including from U.N. agencies and international scientific and development organizations.

I'm sick of worrying for our proverbial “children's children.” I HAVE A MIDTERM ON TUESDAY! DID I NOT MENTION THAT.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the study “shows how human activities are causing environmental damage on a massive scale throughout the world, and how biodiversity — the very basis for life on earth — is declining at an alarming rate.”

And yet, I can still drive down to the local Denny's and eat a delicious meal. So I guess we're not REALLY that affected now are we.

The report said there was evidence that strains on nature could trigger abrupt changes like the collapse of cod fisheries off Newfoundland in Canada in 1992 after years of over-fishing.

The collapse of cod fisheries off Newfoundland. Now that hits close to home. To nobody.

Future changes could bring sudden outbreaks of disease. Warming of the Great Lakes in Africa due to climate change, for instance, could create conditions for a spread of cholera.

Cholera Shmolera, Africa has bigger things to worry about than warming of the Great Lakes. And last I checked, weren't these Great Lakes in America? Who shipped these babies off?!

And a build-up of nitrogen from fertilizers washed off farmland into seas could spur abrupt blooms of algae that choke fish or create oxygen-depleted “dead zones” along coasts.

Well at least it won't affect the cod in Newfoundland. They'll already be dead.

It said deforestation often led to less rainfall. And at some point, lack of rain could suddenly undermine growing conditions for remaining forests in a region.

Surely we can't be held accountable for lack of rain! That is clearly the fault of the rain gods!!

And it estimated that many ecosystems were worth more if used in a way that maintains them for future generations.

That sentence doesn't make sense. And I read it THREE TIMES!

A wetland in Canada was worth $6,000 a hectare (2.47 acres), as a habitat for animals and plants, a filter for pollution, a store for water and a site for human recreation, against $2,000 if converted to farmland, it said. A Thai mangrove was worth $1,000 a hectare against $200 as a shrimp farm.

What an awkwardly worded math problem. Either way, is the answer 12?

“Ecosystems and the services they provide are financially significant and…to degrade and damage them is tantamount to economic suicide,” said Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program.

You better not shout….you better not cry, you better not pout I'm telling you why. ‘Cause Toepfer Klaus is coming…to town.


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