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The World and I, December 2002 | Go to article overview

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The Making of a Water Wonderland in the Natural Science section this month kicks off a major seven-part environmental series entitled Water and Human Destiny. Such a title might seem overblown at first sight, but water is the basis of our planet's ability to sustain life, has helped to sculpt its form, comprises 70 percent of our bodies, is essential for agriculture and for sanitation, and is as vital for industrial processes as oil. The series will examine these and many other aspects of water's importance for our existence. The Current Issues section will also look at some of the political conflicts arising from disputes over the control of water resources.

As a quick survey of the archives on our Web site will show, we have always given a lot of attention to environmental issues. As the world's population has grown, and as those people have aspired to share in the benefits provided by industrialization and technology, pressure on our environment and natural resources has grown as well. These changed circumstances make rethinking our relationship with the natural world that sustains us the responsible thing to do. The World & I has sought to contribute to that process by approaching the discussion without a panoply of ideological preconceptions.

Our coverage of the environment is not only through major series, although there have been plenty of those. This issue, for example, contains several environment-related articles. The Politics of Biodiversity, in Current Issues, examines the loss of species, some even before they are identified, through the destruction of their habitat, and the effort of private organizations to save them. Wine, Wetlands, and Clean Water, in the Eye on the High Court subsection of Current Issues, explains why the argument between a California landowner, who wants to plow up his pasture to plant a vineyard, and the Army Corps of Engineers, guardians of the nation's waterways and wetlands, is headed to the Supreme Court. …

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