Underwater War is Raging in the Coral Reefs of Indonesia

AN UNDERWATER WAR IS RAGING IN THE CORAL REEFS OF INDONESIA

Consumers in the developed world are making a rush towards organic produce. Coral reefs around Indonesia are being blasted for their fish. Hundreds of languages are dying, reports the May/June issue of World Watch, the bi-monthly publication of the Worldwatch Institute.

A NEW BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEAS

Dynamite-or blast-fishing is doing an estimated half million dollars worth of damage every day in Indonesia, threatening the "Amazon of the oceanic world". In his cover story "A New Battle for the Coral Seas," environmental journalist and former Worldwatch Institute researcher John C. Ryan presents a shocking report from Indonesia on the underwater bombings that take place in "some of the quietest, most idyllic settings imaginable."

Though illegal, in a nation that derives 60 % of the animal protein in its diet from coral reefs, blast-fishing is proving far too profitable for the youth engaged in it to abandon the practice easily. Ryan describes how the Indonesian government's efforts at decentralization and empowerment of local people, supplemented by reef monitoring activities of NGOs such as the US-based Nature Conservancy, may contribute to more sustainable use of the reefs. He concludes that although the threats confronting Indonesia's coral reefs are as serious than they've ever been, the climate for conservation may also be better than ever. (Full story)

ORGANIC GOLD RUSH

An organic revolution is turning the "the counterculture kings of the compost heap" into a global economic force, writes Worldwatch Institute researcher Brian Halweil in his article "Organic Gold Rush." With a recent UN survey finding commercial organic food production in every inhabited nation of the planet, it seems that the times when organic pioneers were ridiculed are long gone, Halweil says. But can organic farming expand to meet global demand without taking the same toll on the environment and rural communities that conventional agriculture does? (Full story for free if you register)

LAST WORDS

Each month, two languages head for extinction. By the end of this century, at least half of the world's languages will have disappeared. In "Last Words," Worldwatch researcher Payal Sampat shows that resource depletion is not limited to the realm of nature. As in biodiversity loss, we are rapidly losing linguistic resources that took millennia to develop, says Sampat. And these developments may have repercussions beyond just language - they also threaten to diminish our understanding of biological diversity. (Full story) This edition's "Matters of Scale" focuses on language and the rapid course of extinction our world is following.

A MESSAGE TO US, FROM OUR GENOME

Looking at another instance of biological complexity, the Human Genome Project's completion affords evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris an opportunity to explore the implications of its findings for genetic engineering.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Ed Ayres, Editor, edayres@worldwatch.org.
Leanne Mitchell, Public Relations Specialist, or lmitchell@worldwatch.org.


Worldwatch Institute
1776 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036
telephone: 202 452-1999
fax: 202 296-7365
e-mail worldwatch@worldwatch.org
or visit our website www.worldwatch.org