Worldwatch Paper #171: Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry

From transmission of disease and loss of livestock diversity to hazardous and unsanitary processing methods, factory farming is an unsafe, inhumane, and ecologically disruptive form of meat production. This report documents the harmful effects of factory farming in both industrialized and developing countries and explains the range of consequences for the environment, human health, and communities.

Worldwatch Paper #170: Liquid Assets: The Critical Need to Safeguard Freshwater Ecosystems

By taking advantage of the work that healthy watersheds and freshwater ecosystems perform naturally, cities and rural areas can purify drinking water, alleviate hunger, mitigate flood damages, and meet other societal goals at a fraction of the cost of conventional technological alternatives. But because commercial markets rarely put a price on these "ecosystem services," and because governments around the world are failing to protect them, they are being lost at a rapid rate.

Worldwatch Paper #169: Mainstreaming Renewable Energy in the 21st Century

Recent surges in gasoline prices and deepening instability in the Middle East are reminders that the world's heavy dependence on fossil fuels carries an array of hidden costs, including energy insecurity and damage to human health and the natural environment. Fortunately, more and more nations are recognizing that they can address these problems by investing in renewable energy. Solar and wind power are the world's fastest growing energy sources, and investors are pouring billions of dollars into these industries every year.

Worldwatch Paper #168: Venture Capitalism for a Tropical Forest: Cocoa in the Mata Atlantica

Brazil's Atlantic Forest is one of the world's biological "hotspots," a region of extraordinary, and threatened, biodiversity. Saving this forest will require a variety of strategies, one of which hinges on one of the world's favorite foods--cocoa--which in parts of Brazil is grown using a longstanding agroforestry system called cabruca. A revived and modernized form of cabruca would promote the ecological goal of forest restoration, the social goal of creating a strong and green rural economy, and the political goal of building an international consumer constituency for the endangered forest.

Worldwatch Paper #167: Sustainable Development for the Second World: Ukraine and the Nations in Transition

Author: Viktor Vovk

ISBN: 1-878071-71-8
Publication Date: Sept. 2003
54 pages

The 27 nations of the Second World—the former Soviet Union and its Central and Eastern European satellites—are undergoing a wrenching transition following the collapse of communism. The process is complicated by the history and legacy of communist rule, including severe economic,...

Worldwatch Paper #166: Purchasing Power: Harnessing Institutional Procurement for People and the Planet

Author: Lisa Mastny

ISBN: 1-878071-70-X
Publication Date: July 2003
72 pages

Through the things that they buy, large institutions wield great influence over the future of our planet. Nearly every institutional purchase, from office paper to buildings, entails hidden costs for the natural environment and the world's people. Shifting just a portion of that spending away from...

Worldwatch Paper #165: Winged Messengers: The Decline of Birds

Author: Howard Youth

ISBN: 1-878071-68-8
Publication Date: March 2003
72 pages

Birds inspire people with their beauty, song, and powers of flight. But birds cannot fly far enough to escape the dangers posed by our modern, ever-more-crowded world. Birds are under threat as never before; at least 103 species have vanished since 1800, and as many as 1,200 of the world's 9,800...

Worldwatch Paper #164: Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for a Sustainable World

Author: Gary Gardner

ISBN: 1-878071-67-X
Publication Date: Dec. 2002
62 pages

A powerful pro-environmental coalition may be emerging worldwide as religious people and institutions begin to partner with advocates of sustainable development. The past decade saw a small but growing number of meetings, advocacy initiatives, educational programs, and lobbying efforts by the two...

Worldwatch Paper #163: Home Grown: The Case For Local Food In A Global Market

Author: Brian Halweil

ISBN: 1-878071-66-1
Publication Date: Nov. 2002
83 pages

Everyone, everywhere depends increasingly on long-distance food. Encouraged by food processing innovations, cheap oil, and subsidies, since 1961 the value of global trade in food has tripled and the tonnage of food shipped between nations has grown fourfold, while population has only doubled. In the...

Worldwatch Paper #162: The Anatomy of Resource Wars

In several countries around the developing world, abundant natural resources help fuel conflict, either by attracting predatory groups seeking to control them or by financing wars that were initially caused by other factors. Prominent examples include Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Afghanistan. Conflict has also erupted in several countries where the benefits of mining and logging projects—oil in Columbia and Nigeria, timber and natural gas in Indonesia, and copper in Bougainville/Papua New Guinea—accrue to a small elite while the social and environmental burdens are borne by local communities.

Governments, rebels, and warloads have made billions of dollars by selling conflict commodities and have used the money to arm themselves and line their own pockets. But the cost of these conflicts has been extraordinary—more than 5 million people killed during the 1990's, as many as 20 million driven from their homes, and considerable environmental destruction. In this new publication, Senior Researcher, Michael Renner assesses the anatomy of resource wars, examines a number of specific cases, and discusses efforts to break the link between resources and conflict.