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New Report... Same Old Gloom

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
18 June 2008, 4:00 PM

This is for people who are just in too good a mood and need to be brought down a little.

Or a lot.

We speak of a new report from the Heinz center, available here. John Heinz, for those who don't remember, was a Republican senator from Pennsylvania, who died rich and young, heir to a ketchup fortune and a thoroughly admirable fellow.

His widow, Theresa Heinz Kerry, nearly became first lady in 2004. The foundation does good works in the senator's memory.

The new report, The State of the Nation's Ecosystems, will not surprise students of environmental progress (and lack thereof), but summaries like this are useful now and then, especially when we're hiring a new team of people to lead the national government for four years. This will be part of their homework.

Continuing a recurrent theme, the report finds that invasive species continue to grow as a problem (equalling habitat loss already as a threat to native species). Specifically, only two watersheds in the contiguous 48 states are without established populations of non-native fish. Most have ten or more.

Also, cropland has decreased (by 5 percent in 25 years) as yields have increased, a result of the use of fertilizers that pollute waterways and cause dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and other waterbodies. About one-third of native plants and animals are at risk of extinction. There's plenty more; take a look.

We haven't had time to digest the report thoroughly, but the trend is clear—Help!

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