Reports

Worldwatch Paper #166: Purchasing Power: Harnessing Institutional Procurement for People and the Planet

Author: Lisa Mastny

ISBN: 1-878071-70-X
Publication Date: July 2003
72 pages

Through the things that they buy, large institutions wield great influence over the future of our planet. Nearly every institutional purchase, from office paper to buildings, entails hidden costs for the natural environment and the world's people. Shifting just a portion of that spending away from...

Worldwatch Paper #165: Winged Messengers: The Decline of Birds

Author: Howard Youth

ISBN: 1-878071-68-8
Publication Date: March 2003
72 pages

Birds inspire people with their beauty, song, and powers of flight. But birds cannot fly far enough to escape the dangers posed by our modern, ever-more-crowded world. Birds are under threat as never before; at least 103 species have vanished since 1800, and as many as 1,200 of the world's 9,800...

Worldwatch Paper #164: Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for a Sustainable World

Author: Gary Gardner

ISBN: 1-878071-67-X
Publication Date: Dec. 2002
62 pages

A powerful pro-environmental coalition may be emerging worldwide as religious people and institutions begin to partner with advocates of sustainable development. The past decade saw a small but growing number of meetings, advocacy initiatives, educational programs, and lobbying efforts by the two...

Worldwatch Paper #163: Home Grown: The Case For Local Food In A Global Market

Author: Brian Halweil

ISBN: 1-878071-66-1
Publication Date: Nov. 2002
83 pages

Everyone, everywhere depends increasingly on long-distance food. Encouraged by food processing innovations, cheap oil, and subsidies, since 1961 the value of global trade in food has tripled and the tonnage of food shipped between nations has grown fourfold, while population has only doubled. In the...

Worldwatch Paper #162: The Anatomy of Resource Wars

In several countries around the developing world, abundant natural resources help fuel conflict, either by attracting predatory groups seeking to control them or by financing wars that were initially caused by other factors. Prominent examples include Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Conflict has also erupted in several countries where the benefits of mining and logging projects—oil in Columbia and Nigeria, timber and natural gas in Indonesia, and copper in Bougainville/Papua New Guinea—accrue to a small elite while the social and environmental burdens are borne by local communities.

Governments, rebels, and warloads have made billions of dollars by selling conflict commodities and have used the money to arm themselves and line their own pockets. But the cost of these conflicts has been extraordinary—more than 5 million people killed during the 1990's, as many as 20 million driven from their homes, and considerable environmental destruction. In this new publication, Senior Researcher, Michael Renner assesses the anatomy of resource wars, examines a number of specific cases, and discusses efforts to break the link between resources and conflict.

Worldwatch Paper #161: Correcting Gender Myopia: Gender Equity, Women's Welfare, And The Environment

At international conferences throughout the 1990's--in Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Cairo, and Beijing--a new vision of women's health, welfare, and rights was created. This vision acknowledged the deep connections between support for educational, economic, social, and political opportunity for women on the one hand, and progress in stabilizing population growth, protecting the environment, and improving human health on the other.

Despite its potency, this vision has yet to be fully realized. Gender myopia, or blindness to the inequities between women and men, continues to afflict women in many different settings. In Correcting Gender Myopia, Worldwatch researcher, Danielle Nierenberg, reviews the state of women around the globe, documents the links between women's welfare and population, and charts the progress, or lack thereof, in achieving the gender equity that must underlie any viable effort to attain sustainability.

Worldwatch Paper #160: Reading the Weathervane: Climate Policy from Rio To Johannesburg

The world is on the brink of bringing into force one of the most far-reaching environmental treaties of all time, the Kyoto Protocol. And even without the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States, on board, signatories of the Protocol are setting the stage for a new generation of policymaking worldwide, reports a new study-the first ten-year review of global climate policy since the Rio Earth Summit

Worldwatch Paper #159: Traveling Light: New Paths for International Tourism

Before September 11th, travel and tourism was the world's largest industry, accounting for one in every 12 jobs and, in the least developed countries, representing the second largest source of foreign exchange after oil. When the massive US$3.6 trillion industry almost ground to a halt after the terrorist attacks, the ripple effects extended well beyond the bounds of the United States, exposing the vulnerability of countries too narrowly dependent on international tourism.

Traveling Light looks at what developed and developing countries can do to ensure that the impacts of this mighty industry are positive for the world's people and their environment

Worldwatch Paper #158: Unnatural Disasters

In this Worldwatch Paper, Janet Abramovitz lays out detailed recommendations for changing the way we manage disasters and ourselves. To the extent possible, people and structures should be located out of harm's way, such as avoiding construction on river floodplains. When hazards are unavoidable, buildings can be made to withstand them. Healthy ecosystems should be maintained or restored so they can provide natural disaster protection

Worldwatch Paper #157: Hydrogen Futures: Toward a Sustainable Energy System

Just as government played a catalytic role in the creation of the Internet, government will have an essential part in building a hydrogen economy. Research and development, incentives and regulations, and partnerships with industry have sparked isolated initiatives. But stronger public policies and educational efforts are needed to accelerate the process. Choices made today will likely determine which countries and companies seize the enormous political power and economic prizes associated with the hydrogen age now dawning.