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African wisdom

Reasons to be afraid


  • Since the beginning of the industrial era, men burn coal and petrol (carbon products derived from the rotting of plants) existing in the ground since millions of years. 

    Every year, human activities reject 6.3 billion of CO2 tons, a surplus that forests and oceans can’t absorb.  The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere threatens its fragile balance.  In a century, greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 50%, while the temperature of the earth increased by 0.7C.
  • The destruction of forests takes such proportions that, each year, a surface equivalent to California is eradicated from the map.
  • The biomass of oceans, meaning the quantity of living substance, has been divided by 10 in one century.
  • 20% of the inhabitants of the planet consume 80% of it’s resources.
  • To solve the problem of climate warming directly linked to the greenhouse effect, we should divide by 4 our current gas emissions.
  • The US is responsible for a quarter of the worlds industrial C02 emissions, but they refused to sign the Kyoto protocol.
  • The nitrogenous fertilizers represent 53% of total greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural origin.

  • Scientists estimate an average temperature increase of 2 degrees by 2050.  Let’s remember that 20,000 years ago, at the time of the last glaciation era, the average temperature was lower by only 4 degrees compared to the temperature we have today.
  • 40% of human spend less than 2 dollars a day to survive.
  • In 2000, 22 people shared an income equivalent to 50 % of the  income of the entire world population.
  • Over the last 2 centuries, the level of carbonic gas in the North Pole’s atmosphere has increased by 30% due to man’s activity.
  • At the current speed of environmental destruction, men estimate that 50.000 to 100.000 living species, out of 30 to 50 million, are destroyed each year.  The size of the catastrophe is such that destruction gains in speed on the knowledge mechanism, as researchers have identified so far, less than 2 million animal and vegetal living species. (Nature magazines mention that one million species could disappear in the coming fifty years).
  • At world scale, man spends sixty times more for military budgets than for budgets concerning health and food.  As for education budgets, these represent 130 times less than military budgets and 70 times less than advertising budgets…

  • In 1800, only 3% of people leaved in cities, against 50% in 2000.
  • One liter of water rejected without purification pollutes 8 liters of water.
  • In 2025, humans will only have a quarter of the water available in 1950.
  • Planes that take off from France generate a level of pollution equivalent to 50% of the emissions produced by the cars of 60 million French and it is anticipated that the air traffic will be multiplied by 5 by 2050…  (Be aware that the emissions from international air traffic are not included in the Kyoto agreements.)
  • According to the report from the Commission working on the national health-environment plan in France :
    • 90% of breast cancers are linked to environmental factors;
    • The number of cancers in France has increased by 35% over the last 20 years and this at equal population age despite a real progress made by prevention and improved therapie

    • Each man breathes 15 cubical meters of air per day.  The quality of this element is vital; mixture of 78% of nitrogen and 21% of oxygen, it doesn’t cease to degrade because of human activities and this is a threat to millions of people.
    • The 2003 heatwave killed 13.000 people in France
    • With the North of Italy, Belgium is the European region where the reduction in life expectancy linked to micro particles in suspension is the highest: 13,2 times the European average.  Linked to other factors, pollution due to those particles kills every year 10.000 to 13.000 people in Belgium.  This is due to the high number of industries in a small land, the heavy traffic of international trucks on the roads and most of all, due to the high number of diesel cars in Belgium.