The connection between poverty and environmental destruction

The world desperately needs free markets in order to stop the trend of deforestation and loss of habitat, especially in tropical regions where forests are extremely high in biodiversity. As this truth slowly comes to be recognized, it should cause a split between those who genuinely put a high value on caring for the environment, and those for whom the environmental agenda is a mask for a deeper anti-freedom economic agenda.

Love & liberty,
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UN: Deforestation mostly reversed in Europe and N. America, continues in poor countries

By MARTA FALCONI | Associated Press
March 13, 2007
ROME (AP) - Europe and North America have reversed centuries of deforestation and are showing a net increase in wooded areas, while most developing countries continue to cut down their trees, a U.N. agency said Tuesday.

The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said in its biannual report on the State of the World's Forests that economic prosperity and careful forest management had positive effects.

However, poor or conflict-stricken countries _ where clear-cutting and uncontrolled fires are especially severe _ still face serious challenges in managing their wooded areas, the agency said.

"Deforestation continues at an unacceptable rate" of about 32 million acres a year, said Wulf Killmann, a forestry expert at the agency. However, he noted in a positive sign that the net loss had decreased over the last decade from 22 million acres to 17 million acres.

Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are currently the regions with the highest losses of wood-covered regions, especially in tropical areas.

Africa, which accounts for about 16 percent of the global forests, lost over 9 percent of its trees between 1990 and 2005, the agency said. In Latin America and the Caribbean, home to nearly half of the world's forests, 0.5 percent were lost every year between 2000 and 2005 _ up from an annual net rate of 0.46 percent in the 1990s.

On the positive side, wooded area increased in Asia between 2000 and 2005. The increase was limited to East Asia, where investment in tree plantations in China offset high rates of clear-cutting in other regions, the report said. Forested area in most European countries is also increasing, while it is stable in Canada and the United States.

Among the major causes of deforestation cited by Killmann were conversion of land for farming or livestock.

Forests cover just under 9.88 billion acres, about 30 percent of the world's land area. The world lost 3 percent of its wooded areas between 1995 and 2000, the agency said.

This piece is a great argument for veganism, even for those who don't
take the libertarian stance of respecting animals' rights.

Agreed. Going vegetarian, or better yet vegan, is one of the most effective things -- perhaps *the* most effective thing -- a typical person in the United States can do for the environment. And since it is completely voluntary and requires no government action, it's also a great opportunity for libertarians to practice and promote voluntarism as a means of solving societal problems.

Love & liberty,
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