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a606: Environmental Sustainability Index (fwd)

From: Steven White <polanve@optonline.net>

Thanks to MaryEllen for posting the NY Times article about the Yale Center
for Environmental Law and Policy's Environmental Sustainability Index.  I
took some time to go to the source page: http://www.yale.edu/envirocenter/,
where the full report can be downloaded in PDF format, and present the
following analysis for Corbettland.

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) is a rating based on five
components: Environmental Systems, Reducing Stresses, Reducing Human
Vulnerability, Social and Institutional Capacity, and Global Stewardship.
These components are composed of indicators, which represent the average of
the standardized z-scores of the measured variables.  Haiti's overall
ranking was 138 out of 142, but this does not tell the whole story.  Haiti
actually outperformed its peer group (countries with a GDP of  $1,309-
$2,606) in 9 out of 20 indicators!  Extremely poor performance on four
indices sank Haiti's overall score. These indices were:  Water Quantity,
Biodiversity, Reducing Ecosystem Stress, and Basic Human Sustenance.

These four critical indices can be related Haiti's most precious natural
resource: fresh water.  Improved management of water through small dams,
artificial lakes, wells for irrigation, and strategic planting of trees and
vetiver grasses to reduce erosion will directly improve 'Water Quantity' and
thus agricultural output, which directly affects 'Basic Human Sustenance'.
This indirectly affects 'Biodiversity' and 'Reducing Ecosystem Stress' as
the more vertical landscapes are abandoned for agricultural uses and return
to a more natural state due to the vastly improved output of the more easily
farmed areas.

The ESI is a giant flashing neon arrow pointing to what needs to be done in
Haiti.  It backs up with scientific fact what Guy has already said so
eloquently in his essay: "A cleaner, healthier natural environment (pou
Ayiti vini pi bčl)".  I personally have already made a commitment inspired
by Guy's words. I hope others also make 2002 the year to move on this issue.