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Sustaining the Human Family

Human beings are destroying the Earth’s ecosystem—the basis of forms of life. Human irrationality and stupidity are apparently like a bottomless pit. At the present time, protecting the Earth’s ecosystem and promoting economic development are almost completely incompatible. April 22 is Earth Day, yet most people ignore the occasion and use toxic chemicals to fertilize their lawns‚ thereby slowly destroying the Earth’s water supply. Unless human beings dramatically change their habits, they will probably render themselves extinct within the next 500 years.

The United Nations Environment Program has announced that India will be the global host of the World Environment Day on June 5, 2011. This year’s theme for World Environment Day is “Forests: Nature at Your Service.” There is an intrinsic connection between quality of life and the health of forest ecosystems. 2011 is also the UN’s International Year of Forests. Deforestation must be halted in India and throughout our interdependent world. Healthy forests are essential to the well-being of the Earth’s ecosystem.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for “revolutionary action” to achieve sustainable development and green economies, warning that the past century’s heedless consumption of resources is “a global suicide pact.”

“The ancients saw no division between themselves and the natural world. They understood how to live in harmony with the world around them. It is time to recover that sense of living harmoniously with nature,” argued the secretary-general at the World Economic Development Forum at Davos, Switzerland. “It is easy to mouth the words ‘sustainable development,’ but to make it happen we have to be prepared to make major changes in or lifestyles and economic systems.”

It will not be easy, he said, but the international community must make the transition to green economies if the human family is to have a future. Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s views on the green economy at Davos have become the essence of his global message on how the world must function and manage its natural resources to ensure sustainable development and a viable ecosystem for future generations. This is the long-term goal of the UN’s Environment Program and it must be heeded if the human family is to survive.

David Slive, Buffalo

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