On the eve of a new century and a new millennium, it is a time of great introspection of ourselves and great inspection of our surroundings. How we're living today is undoubtedly more advanced, more innovative, and more prolific than how any of our predecessors lived. Yet behind this glossy photograph of bustling 20th Century industry and vitality, there lies an unforgiving consequence - the consequence of a natural environment in perilous danger.
Today, despite numerous accomplishments in practically every field imaginable, we have yet to "provide clean water to a billion people, slow the loss of thousands of species, or meet our energy needs without destabilizing the atmosphere," says the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 1999, a publication released annually by the Institute that addresses current environmental and economic conflicts and proposes solutions.
So we have deficiencies. Really serious deficiencies. However, it is not a lack of technology or knowledge or even funding that prevents us from truly tackling these deficiencies - it is a lack of attention and of address.
Although the catalysts for environmental decline date back to the Industrial Revolution, not until recently have the general public and the government made remedial measures a priority. For instance, the first federal legislation to address acid rain was not passed until June 1980. Even then, the Acid Precipitation Act was sketchy, at best, because much still had to be learned on the subject. It wasn't until ten years and a full congressional investigation later that a much more definitive bill was passed in the Clean Air Act of 1990. Such lethargic legislative action only allowed emissions to continue without effective limits, precipitation to become more and more acidic, and lakes that were once prosperous fish communities to turn into graveyards.
Fortunately for us, though, government has taken a much stronger and bolder role in leading the country toward environmental awareness. At the forefront of the job is current Vice President and Democratic nominee for the 2000 elections, Al Gore, whose 1992 environmental manifesto called "Earth in the Balance" earned him titles such as "Owl Gore" and the "Ozone Man." His current influence in Clinton environmental legislation and his insistence that "the integrity of the environment is not just another issue to be used in political games for popularity, votes or attention," lend hope to constituents that environment certainly will not suffer at the expense of the economy in the future.
Given the obvious urgency of environmental restoration on the eve of 2000 and the essential intertwining of environment in 21st Century politics, we have developed this informative site to teach others and to incite action. Because environmental concerns in its entirety can be an overwhelming topic, we have focused on threats in the air - more specifically, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), smog, acid rain, ozone depletion, and global warming.
May ignorance no longer be an excuse for inaction.-- Team 28313