Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Participation is key to protecting islands
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 Material Information
Title: Participation is key to protecting islands
Series Title: Olasee Davis articles
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: October 22, 1993
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00034
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The Oaly News, Friday, October 22 1993


Participation is key to protecting islands

Before President Bush left
office, he addressed the House of
Representatives and the Senate on
environmental quality.
"During the past four years," he
said, "the world has witnessed
major changes in the political pro-
file of nations. The Earth Summit,
sponsored by the United Nations in
Brazil in June 1992 signaled the
next ra in world history one
characterized by the rqognition
that environmental proteion eco-
nomic development and public per-
ticipation in decision-makng are
interelated and crucial to our futro
quality of life."
Yet in every pat of the world
what nature has built for millions of being destroyed by man.
Every day about 140000 acres of
tropical forest are destroyed or
altered for cultivation, timber pro-
duction, cattle grazing, highway
construction or development. We
arc losing mom species of plants
and animals rapidly because their
habitats are being destroyed. Some
of those species have not even been
discovered or named by scientists.
Some people may ask what is so
important about the extinction of
some animals or plants. As an ecol-
ogist, I know that more than half of
today's medicines come from wild
organisms, many from the tropics.
A child who suffers from leukemia
has a 75 percent chance of being
cured because of a drug derived

35 million acres in Latin America
and the Caribbean.
Olamee Although the conservancy
DH vi acquire large tracts for prseva-
mion, many acres are transferred for
management to other conervation
I- -- Sgroups, both private and public. The
Guest Edtoal coneacy owns and manages
Gues w ~more than l300 presrves-the
largest private nature sanctuaries in
the world

from a tropical plant called roy.
periwinkle. Who Iknows, tbe crwe
for cancer or even AIDS could be
on the endangered species list.
We also know tha the agricul-
tural industry depends on nes
from wild species for its survival.
To me, the environment is like a
religion. It is the source of life from
While I was in graduate school. I
was a member of the Naturd Con-
servancy, the largest non-profit
environmental organization In the
world, with a membership'of nearly
600000. Its mission "is to preserve
Earth's diversity of life by protect-
ing rare plants and animals and the
and and water the y- and we-
need to survive."
This organization and its mem-
bers are responsible for the protec-
tion of more than 5.5 million acres
in the 50 United States, territories
and Canada. The conservancy has
also helped other environmental
organizations to preserve more than

In the Galapagos Islands, the
conservancy helped create a S1.5
million endowment as a source of
revenue for activities to protect the
marine, plant and animal life.
In Peu, the conservancy with
the help of the U.S. Agency for
International Development under-
took projects to help local people to
practice sustainable forestry.
Since 1951, the conservancy has
worked to build strong, independent
conservation movements in many
countries around the world. It
shares its technical and fund-raising
expertise with many environmental
The organization used the latest
technology to create a network of
conservation data centers through-
out the world. These computerized
inventories of fauna and flora help
each country to identify where its
riches and most threatened natural
resources lie.
In 1992, the conservancy estab-
lished a conservation program for

the Virgin Islands and the Eastern
Caribbean. It will work with both
private and public organizations to
protect significant natural areas in
the slnds. The conservancy also
owns and manages three natural
sanctuaries in the Virgin Islands
and assists the National Park Ser-
vice in the protection of two parks.
The Virgin Islands Nature Con.
servancy aims to:
Protect high-quality lands and
waters in the territory through
acquisition and assist in the protec-
tion of biodiversity with non-gov-
ernmental conservation programs
within the Caribbean basin.
Establish a cooperative conser-
vation program with federal and ter-
ritorial governments.
Establish a cooperative stew-
ardship and science program with
national and territorial govern-
To decrease degradation of the
local environment, we as a people
must participate in the protection of
significant natural areas. Join the
Nature Conservancy or some other
environmental organization.
Olasee Dasvi who holds amnas
ter of science degree n range man-
agement and forestry ecology. is a
St. Croi ecologist, activist and

on the Nature Conservancy
call 774-7633.

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