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Iguanas have a look that seems to hark back to a life in the very distant past of this planet. These reptiles are found primarily in the Americas, and in modern times have become a sort of cult object, and in some cases the source of concern for the very survival of certain species within the extensive family.

Iguanids constitute a family that covers 650 to 700 species, says the Familia iguanidae website, which also notes that nearly all of them inhabit the "new world" of the Americas, save for the exceptions in Madagascar and Fiji. Iguana species vary greatly, giving the lie to the large reptile stereotype.

From the point of view of scientific classification, iguanas are of "complicated design" and the various species range from a mere 7.5 cm to a full 2.0 meters long. They can be insect-eaters, carnivores, herbivores or omnivores.

Most iguanas reproduce by laying eggs, but there are some exceptions, which give live birth, such as the Phrynosoma douglassi, says another website.

The most popular face of these reptiles belongs to the green iguana, which is the preferred species among enthusiasts who raise these reptiles. Their dinosaur looks but docile character have conquered the hearts of many humans.

But beyond interest in iguanas as unique reptiles or as pets, there are many who are involved in fighting for their protection. These animals can be victims of habitat destruction as well as hunting, as there are people who deal in the unregulated trade of iguana meat and eggs.

On the Internet, the cases of the Mona Island iguana and the Utila iguana are highlighted in campaigns underway to protect them from extinction.

A look at the Iguanids
Green Iguana: biology
Mona Island Iguana
Conservation Project Utila Iguana
Rhino Iguana
Familia iguanidae
Iguana links


The areas of the world categorized as wetlands have one element in common: water. These are highly productive ecosystems, essential for preserving biodiversity. So it is no surprise that there are numerous campaigns to defend wetlands from degradation and protect them from disappearing.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty signed in Iran in 1971, defines these ecosystems as areas where water is present all or part of the time, and maintains a depth of less than six meters.

The Convention has 136 signatories, which in their national territories hold a total of 1,284 wetlands covering 108 million hectares, reports the Ramsar website.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) web page on wetlands highlights its definition that these include swamps, marshes, rivers, saltwater pools, estuaries and shallow coastal waters. Wetlands cover an estimated six percent of the earth's land surface.

Wetlands are one of the most productive ecosystems in the world, sustaining 40 percent of fish species and many other species, including aquatic birds. Together with rainforests, wetlands are also among the most threatened ecosystems, due to their transformation, development and contamination, says the Ramsar website on biodiversity.

Under the auspices of the Ramsar Convention, since 1997 World Wetlands Day is celebrated every Feb. 2 with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of these ecosystems. This year, the theme was: No Wetlands! - No Water!

The dire situation of these natural sites has triggered reactions around the world. The organization Wetlands International states that its mission is to "maintain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity for future generations."

Various human activities require the natural resources provided by wetlands and therefore depend on maintaining their ecological conditions, says the Argentine Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development website.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) further reminds us that wetlands are to be found everywhere, "from the tundra to the tropics, on every continent except Antarctica."

The fate of these ecosystems is on the agenda of debate on sustainable development and environmental protection. And in early 2003 experts sounded the alarm about the devastation that would be caused Iraq's wetlands as a result of the U.S.-led war.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
World Wetlands Day 2003
Wetlands International
Classification system for wetland types
Eden in the Line of Fire: Wetlands in Iraq
U.S. EPA: wetlands
EPA: What are wetlands?
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica: wetlands, water and coastal zones
Wetlands links

World Environment Day 2003

World Environment Day 2003 is dedicated to a crucial element for the survival of civilization and nature alike: water. The message for this awareness-raising event is that we must do everything possible to conserve this natural resource and to improve its distribution among the world's people.

Celebration of World Environment Day every June 5 are taking place in cities and other locations around the world with events and activities that share the aim of urging people to get involved in protecting nature and work towards sustainable development.

Each year, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) chooses a country to serve as the global host of the event. This year, the honor goes to Beirut, Lebanon -- the first time in an Arab country.

UNEP's main web-page on World Environment Day 2003, dedicated to water, states that the objective is for all of us to contribute to conserving this most valuable source of life on our planet. Two billion people around the world lack regular access to safe drinking water, says the website.

The choice of this theme for World Environment Day coincides with the UN's designation of 2003 as International Year of Freshwater. The call to action for sustainable use of this resource states that this is "a year of opportunity."

World Environment Day began with a United Nations decision in 1972, the same year that Sweden hosted the UN Conference on the Human Environment, the first global meeting dedicated exclusively to the degradation of Earth's natural resources and habitats.

Among the many governments taking special action for this year's event is Argentina, whose Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development issued a communiqué: "We must look at the state of our environment. We must carefully consider the actions that each one of us must take in directing our shared duty of preserving life on Earth with resolution and confidence."

Environmental organizations, like the World Conservation Union (IUCN), are also taking advantage of World Environment Day to call citizens to action, particularly to protect water resources, which are key to ensuring a sustainable future.

UNEP: World Environment Day
UNEP: Arab country hosts World Environment Day
UNEP: WED program of events
UN: International Year of Freshwater
Official website for Year of Freshwater - Special Days
Tierramérica: Water
IUCN: commemoration of World Environment Day
Report on UN Conference on the Human Environment (1972)

U.S. Environmental Policy

The environmental policy of the United States is relevant to the entire world, both because of the ecological impact of that country's huge economy and high level of consumption, and its role as the world superpower.

But what is the U.S. environmental position? And what is unique to the George W. Bush administration? What kind of legislation is in place or will prevail in that country? A good place to begin to answer these questions is the Internet.

The Bush government has already been at the forefront of several environmental controversies. Perhaps the most contentious was Bush's refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that establishes actions and goals for reducing the global process of climate change.

Bush argues that "our air is cleaner, our water purer and our lands and natural resources better protected" than 30 years ago, according to the presidential commentary posted on the U.S. government's website for Earth Day, celebrated Apr. 22.

The principal U.S. body for this sector is the Environmental Protection Agency, which has some 18,000 employees to carry out its mission: "to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment -- air, water, and land -- upon which life depends."

Details on the Bush administration's environmental policy can be found on the official White House Internet site, with a special section dedicated to the president's view on the environment, as well as related decisions, speeches and other materials.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality is active in defining strategies and policies in that area.

On the legislative side, in the U.S. Congress, there is plenty of specialized information provided by the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Senate's Committees on Environment and Public Works and Energy and Natural Resources. It is here that lawmakers study and debate draft legislation.

And if even more information is sought, there are Internet links on environmental policies, as well as news sources like the Environmental News Service (ENS), and basic documents like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
White House - President's Commitment to the Environment
U.S. Government on Earth Day
White House Council on Environmental Quality
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969
House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Internet links on U.S. environmental policies
IPS on Environment

Environmental Legislation and Law

The need to protect the environment produced the emergence worldwide of an environmental legal framework in the form of laws, agreements, regulations, decrees and treaties, of national or international scope, requiring a high level of expertise among environmental lawyers.

A large portion of this legislation was produced during the past 30 years, the response to growing concern about the fate of planet Earth. And although the effectiveness of some of the legal tools is questionable, their mere existence provides a basis, a motive, for the thousands of pro-environment campaigns that in a not-so-distant past lacked even that simple reinforcement.

In today's world there are numerous international agreements, laws and other legal documents related to the use and conservation of natural resources and to the environment in general, and this is reflected in the Internet, where resources abound, generally aimed at experts in environmental law.

There are services like ECOLEX, an international database run with the backing of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), which offers information about environmental legislation the world over.

Part of the resources in the database are provided by FAOLEX, of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), described as "a comprehensive and up-to-date computerized legislative database, the world's largest electronic collection of national laws and regulations, as well as treaties, on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources."

As occurs in other legal spheres, the application of environmental law is not easy. That is why there also exist support mechanisms, like the UNEP's Environmental Law Program for Latin America and the Caribbean, which provides technical assistance and training.

In the case of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), in addition to facilitating searches of legislation from around the world, it aims "to solve environmental problems and promote sustainable societies through the use of law."

UNEP: Environmental Law Program
UNEP: Environmental Law in Latin America and the Caribbean
ENTRI: Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators
ECOLEX: Gateway to environmental law
CIEL: Center for International Environmental Law
Hieros Gamos: links on international environmental law


One hears the word "hydrogen" today and thinks of the future. Research being conducted around the world explores the possibility of using this simple element to generate energy. Hydrogen is abundant and its utilization as an energy source, many say, would not be harmful to the environment like non-renewable fuels are.

Hydrogen is a chemical element with one atom. At room temperature it is an inflammable, colorless, odorless gas. It is also the most plentiful chemical element in the universe, and forms part of a multitude of substances, including water.

Its abundance, which stands in contrast to the finite amounts of fossil fuels available in the world, and its environmental qualities are generating a great deal of excitement about hydrogen's potential, which in turn creates an enormous amount of information available on the Internet, ranging from academic conferences to the pioneering companies in the sector.

Although hydrogen is utilized as a fuel for space travel, new studies are seeking ways to extend its use to other areas. Because hydrogen can be obtained from a broad range of sources, it could ultimately reduce the economic, political and environmental costs of energy-producing systems.

There are websites extolling hydrogen energy's environmental benefits, with claims that it does not produce pollution or consume natural resources. There are no byproducts or toxins associated with hydrogen energy production, say some specialized Internet sites.

Its use in carrying out modern-day activities as common as driving a car takes place through a special fuel cell, similar to a battery, though it does not "lose its charge", but continues functioning through a cold combustion process based on… you guessed it, hydrogen.

"A fuel cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricity, water and heat," says one of the principal sources of information on this topic,

A wide array of actors are participating in the search for ways to make hydrogen use economically viable, including oil companies and automobile manufacturers. One of the biggest challenges is to find a way to separate this element from other substances at a cost that would allow its use on a major scale. It must also be proved that massive use of hydrogen fuel is safe for the environment and human health.

In order to bring to fruition the promise of this "petroleum of the future" will require vast investments, which in the United States alone should reach 100 billion dollars, according to a report by the Worldwatch Institute.

Hydrogen: never-ending fuel source
Hydrogen fueled cars
Wired: How Hydrogen Can Save America
Worldwatch Institute: Hydrogen
E-magazine: Jeremy Rifkin on the hydrogen economy
How the hydrogen economy works A Hydrogen Economy Is a Bad Idea
U.S. National Hydrogen Association
What is hydrogen?

Birds in Danger

Birds are present around the globe, represented by some 9,700 known species, and are an important part of the Earth's biodiversity. The bad news is that approximately 12 percent are in danger of extinction.

An organization dedicated to promoting the protection of birds, BirdLife International, reports that 1,186 species are categorized as "endangered". Further details about various birds from different regions can be found through the BirdLife website's search engine.

Another website on threatened birds warns that 182 species are in critical danger, meaning they have just 50 percent chance of surviving the next decade. And reminds us that extinction is forever.

Deforestation, expansion of farmland, hunting, wetlands deterioration, illegal trade in wildlife and the introduction of new predators can all pose threats to the survival of bird species.

The Red List published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), seen as the leading source of information on species threatened by extinction, includes in its Internet version a list of more than 2,000 entries under "birds".

The plight of our feathered friends is well documented in many sources available on the Internet, with websites specific to birds found in specific countries, or representing conservation societies, like the well-known Audubon.

BirdLife International
BirdLife: species search
Endangered birds
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - background
Red List: threatened bird species
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Birds of the World
Connect Yourself: The Art of Flying


In Mesopotamia, which means "land between rivers", the earliest human civilizations flourished. Thousands of years later, that territory is known as Iraq, a place where the echoes of war threaten the last vestiges of a millenniums-old history.

The ancient story of Mesopotamia became a current topic of interest through the dissemination of news, including televised images of the destruction and pillaging of invaluable archeological sites and historic collections, including those of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.

Since the beginning of the conflict Mar 20, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) urged special protection for the historic wealth found in Iraq, but all signs are that the history of humanity was not a priority in this modern-day conflict.

UNESCO underscores the importance of the artifacts of Mesopotamia, as they represent the cradle of civilizations that marked the transition from pre-historic times in the history of humanity.

Mesopotamia's geography was a determining factor in the emergence of the first cultures in that area 9,000 years b.c. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which encircle the territory, provided optimum conditions for a development capable of changing the course of humanity's path through time: agriculture.

The fertile plains of Mesopotamia began to transform the previously wandering, nomadic groups of humans into the first sedentary and "civilized" society, says one specialized website.

Beginning some 3,500 years b.c., the Sumerians, Acadians, Assyrians and Babylonians began to make their mark on the region. We know it was there that writing, mathematics, the wheel, architecture, astronomy, money, irrigation and laws were developed. In different periods, city-states flourished, and of course, for thousands of years it has been the scenario for war.

The names of cities like Ur or Nippur, of legendary heroes like Gilgamesh, of the Code of Hammurabi, of the amazing buildings known as ziggurats, come from ancient Mesopotamia. And mythic events, like the flood and the loss of languages in the Tower of Babel were set in that ancient land.

For the curious, there is much to be discovered about ancient Mesopotamia on the Internet. A good starting point is a set of hyperlinks on the topic, allowing us to use cyberspace as a bridge to the past…

Internet resources about Antiquity: Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia: a chronology
Mesopotamia: Internet links to history pages
The Code of Hammurabi
Ancient Mesopotamia: basic facts

SARS - Atypical Pneumonia

The outbreak of atypical pneumonia, with the first cases appearing in Asia, in just a few weeks has become headline news around the world, largely because the illness remains a mystery, because it is potentially deadly, is highly contagious, and seems to like air travel.

This new form of pneumonia is technically known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, terminology that is utilized by international health bodies like the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the latter likely the Internet's leading source of information on the subject.

The WHO is coordinating efforts to provide epidemiological, clinic and logistical support for the countries where the disease is most prevalent. A mission from this United Nations agency traveled to China in early April to try to find the origins of this atypical pneumonia, which in a matter of weeks has claimed more than 100 lives around the world, though mostly in Asia.

News of the outbreak of this illness immediately had an impact on the Internet. Web sites with information on SARS have proliferated, as evidenced by a specialized directory of links set up in Canada, the country outside of Asia that has reported most cases.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control web site states that patients with SARS can transmit the disease to others through casual contact. It is known how long before or after the symptoms appear that a SARS patient is contagious.

A special Internet site of the Government of Hong Kong, one of the areas hardest hit by the disease, calls upon citizens to take precautionary measures to avoid contracting the illness, such as wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth.

The continued spread of the disease and rising death toll have filled the news, leading the New York Times to set up a special section on SARS, while the Yahoo! directory is replete with information and Google gives web surfers some 50,000 results to choose from to satisfy curiosity about the illness.

SARS: information resources on the Internet
PAHO: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
PAHO Warning on Pneumonia
U.S. Centers for Disease Control: SARS precautions
Yahoo! Directory - SARS
The New York Times: special on SARS (free registration needed)
Google News: SARS
Hong Kong: atypical pneumonia

Humanitarian Emergency

The war in Iraq has caused a humanitarian emergency affecting 27 million people. The conflict has obvious repercussions for a civilian population that is already suffering the lack of health care, food, water and housing, even if they are not directly threatened by bombs and bullets.

The humanitarian crisis in Iraq has triggered an international mobilization to gather support and resources for operations aimed at alleviating the suffering. The United Nations has announced that efforts to benefit civilian Iraqis will require at least 2.2 billion dollars.

Of that sum, 1.3 billion dollars would be earmarked for a gigantic operation to distribute essential items under the auspices of the World Food Program (WFP).

On its web page about the war in Iraq, WFP warns that this could become the largest humanitarian operation in history.

The alarm created by the scope of the humanitarian emergency is evident on the Internet, where specialized agencies of the UN, international organizations and a veritable avalanche of news items cover the issue, providing details of its emerging characteristics and potential magnitude.

The web site of the Center for Humanitarian Information on Iraq provides some of this data, while the Yahoo! directory allows web surfers access to a special section on links to humanitarian organizations.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees has special operations under way in neighboring countries, awaiting up to 600,000 people who could be displaced from Iraq by the war.

UNICEF (UN Children’s Fund) has also issued a global alert: The children of Iraq have been trapped by war for the third time in 20 years. Nearly half the population of that country is under age 20. At least 166 million dollars are needed to provide them the assistance they need.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also has a special section of its web site dedicated to Iraq. There it announces that resources totaling 300 million dollars will be needed to confront the health challenges created by war.

The International Red Cross is present on the Internet, underscoring the need to respect international treaties in regards to treating prisoners of war. Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, expresses concern about the human rights violations occurring in the context of the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

UN: Iraq
World Food Program: Crisis in Iraq
UNHCR: Emergency in Iraq
WHO: the situation in Iraq
Human Rights Watch: Iraq
Yahoo!: Iraq – Humanitarian Relief

The Maya

The Mayan civilization for more than 3,000 years shone throughout Mesoamerica, which continues to be inhabited by its descendants. The imprints, achievements and mysteries these ancient peoples left can also be explored via cyberspace.

A great number of web sites in various languages delve into this civilization and its incredible culture. Some web sites focus on archeological projects and invite interested browsers to join the excavations -- if only virtually.

From this wondrous landscape emerged a highly developed civilization, one that flourished while Europe remained submerged in relative darkness, comments the Mundo Maya portal.

Another site in Spanish, "a light in the Mesoamerican jungles", says that the "basis of Mayan philosophy was built upon harmony: creativity and receptivity, earth and sky, life and death, day and night, masculine and feminine, good and evil."

The architectural development of the Maya allowed them to erect enormous structures as part of their cities in the middle of the jungle. The structures have endured centuries -- even millennia -- and today remain a source of constant awe.

Archeologists have also discovered the great mathematical abilities of the Maya, their very precise calendar, details about their political organization into city-states, and about their daily lives, including the games they played. Some of these discoveries are explained on the web site "Rabbit in the Moon".

But we still do not know everything about the Maya because a large portion of their legacy was destroyed after the arrival of Europeans in the "new world". Their history becomes all the more interesting with the resulting mysteries. How did the peoples who lived in the Mesoamerican region achieve such a high level of development? What caused the decline of this civilization?

The Mayan influence extended over what are today southeast Mexico, the territories of Guatemala and Belize, and western Honduras and El Salvador. There are some 4.5 million people of Mayan descent in the region, speaking languages that are a legacy of that distant past.

Portal: Rabbit in the Moon
Mayan architecture
The Maya Calendar
History of the Maya
Yahoo! - Maya culture


Anti-personnel landmines are deadly devices that, hidden underground, lie in wait of victims. Each year, thousands of innocent people are maimed or killed by these "conventional weapons", lethal objects whose threat is not diminished at the end of a war. Although there is a major international effort to eliminate landmines, the menace persists.

A great deal of information on landmines and their impacts can be found on the Internet. One web site, titled "The Silent Shout", of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), explains -- by the numbers -- the scope of the problem: in 68 countries there are 115 million landmines in the ground. Once these devices are in place, they can remain active for decades.

There are as many as 100 million landmines in stock and an average 2.5 million are "planted" each year. The creation of a minefield renders land useless and complicates efforts to establish peace processes. But worst of all, landmines cause an estimated 2,000 injuries or deaths each month. And 30 to 40 percent of victims are children. UNICEF calculates that, worldwide, there is one anti-personnel mine for every dozen children.

Landmines can be manufactured for a mere three dollars each, says the UNICEF web site. But to eliminate these devices requires an outlay of about 1,000 dollars apiece.

A landmine can be described as a hollow object with an explosive charge inside and a detonator that is activated under the pressure of a minimum weight.

The landmine problem is characterized by its magnitude, which has led to the signing of the Convention on the matter, which according to the information available on its related web site had 146 signatory nations and 131 ratifications as of January 2002.

The Convention commits the states party to the treaty to not use anti-personnel mines and to eliminate or to verify the elimination of all such existing weapons.

The International Committee of the Red Cross stresses that the countries which have adopted the Convention have two key dates to remember: by the end of 2003 most will have to destroy all of their antipersonnel mine reserves, and by the end of 2009 they must have cleared all minefields within their territories.

The main Internet clearinghouse for information on the humanitarian crisis caused by the indiscriminate use of landmines is the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.

International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Mine Ban Treaty text
Ratification status
International Committee of the Red Cross - landmines
World Council of Churches: landmines campaign
UNICEF: The silent shout


When we say the word "drought" we think of what is lacking: water. And images are brought to mind of its consequences, which can be devastating to the environment, to the economy and to human life.

"Drought is one of the fundamental causes of disasters on the global scale," says a web site about drought in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, where the past 30 years have seen an increase in frequency and intensity of this phenomenon.

Early warning of drought is a top priority, because it can allow populations and governments to prepare for this natural and recurrent climatic event.

The drought web site of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains that drought can be categorized four ways: meteorological, when precipitation is below normal; agricultural, when soil moisture is insufficient for growing crops; hydrological, when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal; and socioeconomic, when water shortages affect people directly.

Droughts have historically been powerful phenomena, decimating populations through starvation, forcing massive migrations and causing severe economic, social and political crises.

Droughts can also be triggered by special climatic situations, as occurs with El Niño, which appears every three to seven years and causes torrential rains in some places and severe drought in others.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has a web site with a special section on the issue of droughts, which if they persist, might end up producing a desert.

FAO: desertification, drought and their consequences
Drought monitor in the U.S.
NOAA: drought information center
Connect Yourself: El Niño
Connect Yourself: Deserts

Banana Diseases

The banana is a crucial fruit for human beings. But the production of this food -- essential for hundreds of millions of people around the world -- is faced with the serious threat of plagues, particularly the black sigatoka fungus and Panama disease.

These diseases could dramatically hurt the production capacity of some banana varieties that are highly popular among consumers if a formula is not found to keep them from spreading. Researchers are delving into areas like genetic manipulation and cross-pollination to produce resistant banana hybrids, and biological control of pests.

But what is the story behind these plagues? On the Internet there is abundant information about the topic. It is a matter of the future of the banana.

Even if you are not a regular eater of bananas, there are at least 500 million people who depend on this fruit -- particularly in Africa and Asia -- as their main source of protein. On the commercial scale, the banana is the most popular and most consumed fruit in the world, says the author of the web site Banana split.

There, too, it is noted that the two principal threats are Panama disease, caused by the fusarium oxysporum fungus that attacks the banana tree's vascular system, and black sigatoka, caused by Mycosphaerella fijiensis.

Panama disease is a major plague on banana plantations around the world, causing great losses in revenues, particularly in normally high-production areas like Central America.

Black sigatoka, a disease that causes spots on the banana tree leaves, dramatically reduces the leaf's photosynthesis, cuts fruit yields by as much as 50 percent and causes premature aging, a serious problem for fruit destined for export.

Factsheets on banana diseases
The Banana Wars against Fungus
"Transgenics will not save the banana"
Connect Yourself: Bananas and Plantains
International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain
BBC: Bananas could split for good



Copyright © 2003 Tierramérica. Todos los Derechos Reservados














A wetland in the United States. Source: U.S. NOAA









































Photo source: White House/ Tina Hager













There are laws, rules, agreements, treaties and decrees to protect the environment. Credit: M. Griffin / FAO

















Photo source:


















Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
























Hong Kong government website announcement about SARS





















Children in northern Iraq. Source: UN Oil for Food Program





















Mayan city of Calakmul. Photo source: UNESCO Heritage of Humanity




















The cover of "The Silent Shout". Source: UNICEF


















Photo credit: F. Botts / FAO.


















Banana plantation in Tanzania. Photo credit: W.Gartung/FAO.