Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Lost Wilderness

An article in the journal “Science” reports that 83% of our planet's surface is domesticated. Only 17% remain untouched wilderness without human inhabitants, crops and infrastructure such as roads and night-time lights noticeable by satellites. Only 17%! These data are based on a report from 1995. Now the situation probably has worsened. Pretty scary!

The report continues:

Fifty percent of the earth’s surface is used for agriculture such as crops and grazing. More than half of all woodlands have been lost and converted to land. On a number of continents, the largest land mammals have been eradicated. The oceans are crisscrossed with shipping lanes and the Europeans obviously don’t like sand on the beach that much: 22,000 km (13,670 miles) of coastline in Europe have been paved.

As if this is not enough the paper continues to report that once wild rivers are now tamed behind dams. Due to widespread damming almost six times as much water worldwide is held in non-natural storage as is free-flowing.