Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday 13, April 1998


Threats to Worldwide Plants: One in 8 are in Imminent Danger
Natural Framework Wherein All Else Happens in Rapid Decline
By Corrine Hicks


Elected Republican and Democratic front men, the political choices of rich over-developers and profiteering pollution promoters, have long ignored or made light of global warming, the onset of severe environmental damage done to vegetation and the continuing disappearances of great numbers of long-lived animal species.

On April 8 a major twenty-year study by botanists and conservationists was made public, trumpeting yet another of many dread signals of an impending planetary doom.

On a worldwide scale, says this study, one in every 8 plant species is presently facing extinction. The United States is the statistical leader among nations that harbors whole strains of soon-to-be-obliterated plants. America, apparently, wins first place in inappropriate land uses and technologies that eliminate plant life at dizzying speeds,

According to the World Conservation Union's Red List, nearly one in 3 plant species in the USA will soon no longer exist.

"Where is our society's hue and cry?" asks Atlanta's Willis Bivins, a plant specialist. Bivins charges that "one or two generations are decimating the future for every one else."

Though political conservatives are much given to boasting how they wish to conserve the best of the status quo, it is now clear that during more than a score of years America's easily-bribed political machines have been oiled and financed by multi-national companies—big businesses-- specializing in the intolerable increase of atmospheric pollutants as well as a rise in the fortunes of careless agricultural and logging interests.

The U.S. media's re-actions to this long-underreported catastrophe demonstrates how little thought its moguls have given to death-dealing ecological mayhem currently being wrought by hosts of ranking economic powers.

On page one—April 9-- of the New York Times, for example, William K. Stevens lectures the newspaper's readers:

"While endangered mammals and birds have commanded more public attention, it is plants, scientists say, that are more fundamental to nature's functioning. They undergird most of the rest of life, including human life, by converting sunlight into food. They provide the raw material for many medicines and the genetic stock from which agricultural strains of plants are developed. And they constitute the very warp and woof of the natural landscape, the framework within which everything else happens."

Dr. Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at the University of Tennessee, and a scientist who worked on the report, says "a whole chuck of creation is at risk."

Addressing the disappearance of 29% of America's 16,108 plant species, Dr. Pimm said he thought that the plight of plant life in the U.S. seems more grim than in other nations because those surveys made for the report were better conducted on American soil than elsewhere.

On a worldwide scale Dr. Pimm warns that while one in 8 plant species may not seem a significant number, it must be remembered such a statistic represents only what's being threatened now and "as a consequence of what we've done so far."

In assessing the larger and more terrible threats to plant and human continuance Pimm says: "There's evidence that the deconstruction is continuing at an accelerating pace."

Among well-loved plants imperiled are 14 species of roses, 29 percent of palms, and 32 percent of irises.

Thirty-four thousand plant species have been added to the World Conservation Union's growing Red List of imperiled organisms.

"Some day," says Willis Bivins, " a befogged, bewildered and beleaguered—even a starving citizenry will ask why something wasn't done –why there wasn't an earlier revolt –an uprising against this insane allowance of destruction. Dr. David Brackett says that 12.5 percent of the world's 270,000 known plant species are at risk, a huge proportion. They're silent, these plants. They can't speak up for themselves. We have to do it for them. Many of these dying life forms help keep us alive. Without them we die too."

Bivins compared current day silence about the death of plants to the general silences that ensued in Europe and the United States during the 1940s death camp slaughters of millions by Hitler or, as recently noted by U.S. President Clinton, the pogroms in Rwanda, grisly mass murders about which there was shown little or no world-wide concern until it was too late.

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