Worldwatch Paper #161: Correcting Gender Myopia: Gender Equity, Women's Welfare, And The Environment

At international conferences throughout the 1990's--in Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Cairo, and Beijing--a new vision of women's health, welfare, and rights was created. This vision acknowledged the deep connections between support for educational, economic, social, and political opportunity for women on the one hand, and progress in stabilizing population growth, protecting the environment, and improving human health on the other.

Despite its potency, this vision has yet to be fully realized. Gender myopia, or blindness to the inequities between women and men, continues to afflict women in many different settings. In Correcting Gender Myopia, Worldwatch researcher, Danielle Nierenberg, reviews the state of women around the globe, documents the links between women's welfare and population, and charts the progress, or lack thereof, in achieving the gender equity that must underlie any viable effort to attain sustainability.

Worldwatch Paper #160: Reading the Weathervane: Climate Policy from Rio To Johannesburg

The world is on the brink of bringing into force one of the most far-reaching environmental treaties of all time, the Kyoto Protocol. And even without the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States, on board, signatories of the Protocol are setting the stage for a new generation of policymaking worldwide, reports a new study-the first ten-year review of global climate policy since the Rio Earth Summit

Worldwatch Paper #159: Traveling Light: New Paths for International Tourism

Before September 11th, travel and tourism was the world's largest industry, accounting for one in every 12 jobs and, in the least developed countries, representing the second largest source of foreign exchange after oil. When the massive US$3.6 trillion industry almost ground to a halt after the terrorist attacks, the ripple effects extended well beyond the bounds of the United States, exposing the vulnerability of countries too narrowly dependent on international tourism.

Traveling Light looks at what developed and developing countries can do to ensure that the impacts of this mighty industry are positive for the world's people and their environment

Worldwatch Paper #158: Unnatural Disasters

In this Worldwatch Paper, Janet Abramovitz lays out detailed recommendations for changing the way we manage disasters and ourselves. To the extent possible, people and structures should be located out of harm's way, such as avoiding construction on river floodplains. When hazards are unavoidable, buildings can be made to withstand them. Healthy ecosystems should be maintained or restored so they can provide natural disaster protection

Worldwatch Paper #157: Hydrogen Futures: Toward a Sustainable Energy System

Just as government played a catalytic role in the creation of the Internet, government will have an essential part in building a hydrogen economy. Research and development, incentives and regulations, and partnerships with industry have sparked isolated initiatives. But stronger public policies and educational efforts are needed to accelerate the process. Choices made today will likely determine which countries and companies seize the enormous political power and economic prizes associated with the hydrogen age now dawning.

Worldwatch Paper #156: City Limits: Putting the Brakes on Sprawl

In this Worldwatch Paper, author Molly Sheehan reports that citizens and local leaders around the world are using the political process to demand attractive public spaces and better transportation choices. “We realize that … traffic is a major problem,” says Patricio Lanfranco, who is involved in an effort to take back the streets of Santiago de Chile from private cars. “But it has a bigger context: What kind of city do we want? What kind of quality of life do we want?”

Worldwatch Paper #155: Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions for the Third World Debt Crisis

Since the end of World War II, the richest countries have lent the poorest ones hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it in the name of democracy, freedom, and development. Yet scores of the borrowing countries are now mired in debt and poverty—some 47, according to World Bank benchmarks, all but 10 of them African. Together, they owe $422 billion, or $380 per person—a substantial sum for them, but just 11 months of military spending for western governments.

Responding to pressure from nongovernmental organizations such as the international Jubilee 2000 Campaign, creditor governments have recently offered to cancel up to 55 percent of the debt they are owed by 41 poor debtors. But these offers, though seemingly impressive, have major flaws.

Worldwatch Paper #154: Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution

Around the world, groundwater pollution is endangering environments and posing a threat to public health. 

Worldwatch Paper #153: Why Poison Ourselves? A Precautionary Approach to Synthetic Chemicals

There are today between 50,000 and 100,000 synthetic chemicals in commercial production, and new synthetics are entering the market at an average rate of three per day. Most synthetics probably pose little risk for the environment or human health, but some are poisonous even in minute quantities. Recent research on certain highly toxic synthetics has linked them to serious human health effects in the parts per trillion range. Ecological research is uncovering extensive wildlife damage as well.

Worldwatch Paper #152: Working for the Environment: A Growing Source of Jobs

As societies confront environmental challenges, they will need to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, metals, and lumber; restructure the utility and transportation sectors; and boost the efficient use of energy and materials. Many fear that moving toward sustainability will disrupt the economy and trigger massive job loss.

But jobs do not necessarily depend on maintaining a huge flow of raw materials. In fact, environmental regulations have spurred creation of at least 11 million jobs worldwide. The industries causing most environmental degradation (extracting and processing raw materials) employ relatively few people, their numbers already decimated by automation. Environmental policies can stimulate the creation of jobs in areas like energy and materials efficiency, renewable energy, remanufacturing, and recycling, and in extending the life-span of products.