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Toxic Environment

Toxic environment has been one of the central themes in my emails related to health. Toxic exposure is one of the most important factors causing chronic health issues. The functional medical perspective encompasses the entire person interacting with the environment. Therefore, in functional medicine the environment of great concern. The following article is a report from the World Wildlife Fund dated September 30, 2014. The article contains startling facts regarding the loss of wildlife in the past 40 years. Keep in mind that we are also in the same environment.

Half of the Global Wildlife Lost, says new WWF Report
World Wildlife Fund issues 10th edition of “The Living Planet Report”, a science- based assessment of the planets health.
September 30, 2014

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Between 1970 and 2010 populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe dropped 52%, says the 2014 Living Planet Report released today by World Wildlife Fund WWF). This biodiversity loss occurs disappointingly in low income countries and correlates with an increasing resource use of high income countries.
In addition to the precipitous decline in wildlife populations the reports data point to the warning signs about the overall health of the planet. The amount of carbon in our atmosphere has risen to levels not seen in more than 1 million years, triggering climate change that is already destabilizing ecosystems. High concentrations of reactive nitrogen are degrading lands, rivers and oceans. Stress on already scarce water supplies is increasing. And more than 60% of the essential “service” provided by nature, from our forests to our seas, are in decline.
“Were gradually destroying our planet’s ability to support our way of life” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF.” But we already have the knowledge and tools to avoid the worst predictions. We all live on a finite planet and it’s time we start acting within those limits.”
The Living Planet Report, WWF’s biennial flagship publication, measures trends in 3 major areas:
• populations of more than 10,000 vertebrate species
• human ecological footprint, a measure of consumption of goods, greenhouse gas emissions
• and existing bio capability, the amount of natural resources for producing foods, freshwater, and sequestering carbon.
“There is a lot of data in this report and it can seem very overwhelming and complex,” said Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist at WWF. “What’s not complicated are the clear trends were seeing- 39% of terrestrial wildlife is gone, 39% of marine wildlife gone, 76% of freshwater wildlife gone- all in the past 40 years.”
The report says that the majority of high income countries are increasingly consuming more per person than the planet can accommodate; maintaining per capita ecological footprints greater than the amount of biocapacity available per person. People in middle and low income countries have seen little increase in their per capita footprint over the same period of time.
While high income countries show a 10% increase in biodiversity, the rest of the world is seeing dramatic declines. Middle income countries show 18% declines, and low income countries show 58% declines. Latin America shows the biggest declines in biodiversity, with species populations falling by 83%.
“High income countries use 5 times the ecological resources of low income countries, but low income countries are suffering the greatest ecosystem losses,” says Keya Chatterjee, WFF’s senior director of footprint. “In effect, wealthy nations are outsourcing resource depletion.”
The report underscores that the declining trends are not inevitable. To achieve global sustainable development, each country’s per capita ecological footprint must be less than the per capita biocapacity available on the planet, while maintaining a decent standard of living.

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