UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Tuesday, June 5th, 301 AP.

Utania an "environmental disaster"

Environmentalist group Biodiversity Vexillium have slammed Utania as an "environmental disaster" in a report on the country released today.

"We cannot stress enough that without significant reforms to land use and reduced reliance on animal farming, Utania will soon be reduced to a wasteland", declared the opening quotation from the Biodiversity Vexillium report on Utania.

The four main authors of the report were in Utan Krysaror speaking with government members today, and held a press conference with Utania's leading green, Dawn K'njosa, who concurred with their assessment.

"We do not yet understand that the country is severely pressed by the farming methods we are using, and the government must take an active role in preventing land degradation of a massive scale." K'njosa said that the effects of over-farming could be seen in Chiquiti already, with droughts becoming too regular.

The report also notes that with the disappearing forests, the biodiversity in Utania is fading. It notes that Utania has over one billion domestic animals, but less than ten million large wild animals. The domestic animals include 38 million cattle, over 400 million sheep and 650 million chickens, plus 35 million domestic pets. They said that less than 5,000 wild pumas remained in the country, when the population was one over 40,000, and that several species of butterflies, frogs and plants may also have been lost.

The report congratulates President Okarvits for his instituting a nine million acre national park for the Ujam-Yoamith jungle, and for aggressively policing it. However, it says more must be done. It says that less than 5% of the country remains as untouched forest blocks large enough to "sustain moderate biodiversity".

The report criticised the country's enormous grain fields. One full-half of the country is arable land, that is, wheat, barley, maize, rice, cotton and tobacco plantations, a legacy of the Guwimithian desire to make the Utanian provinces provide grain for the whole Guwimith and Dependencies nation. The report did not, however, mention that these crops now earn Utania over Û44.3 billion in export earnings, and provide employment for over 6.8 million Utanians.

The report further criticised the massive cattle and sheep farms, saying 47 million Utanians "do not need" over 440 million such animals occupying over a quarter of the country.

To the authors' immense surprise, President Okarvits invited them to speak with him briefly over a lunch. With fifty journalists and cameramen taking photographs from behind a barricade in the President's canteen, the President appeared to listen enthusiastically to the authors who were clearly surprised by this rare opportunity.

"I have taken this opportunity to hear the opinions of a group of industrious individuals who have something important to add to the understanding by all Utanians of the resource this nation's land is", the President told reporters. He said he agreed "in principle" with many of the goals of the green group.

Dawn K'njosa used the occasion to bring press coverage to her party's campaign for this election. The Free Green Collective polled 1% at the last election, but were never close to winning a single seat. She is focusing on the cities of Hamilton, Luka and Shecker, but said she is "realistic" about her chances. Her party polled at about one quarter the number of votes required to win a seat in those cities.

It is estimated that only 14% of the country remains forest and jungle, but most is in blocks of less than 10 sq.km meaning little by way of natural animal species could survive in them.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)