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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
November 21, 2000


My political hiatus has come to an end. Three months on the campaign trail has shifted my perspective a great deal. After writing about the world according to Bob, it was nice to consider things from the perspective of others. I did a lot of listening. Hopefully that will evolve into a lot less rhetoric on my part.

Before I resume my observations from the edge I feel it is important to thank everyone who played a role in my bid for the Encinitas City Council. I won't mention names because you know who you are. Talk about about a rag tag band of revolutionaries. Together we were able to garner 6,867 votes for environmental sustainability. I'm told this is wonderful showing for the first time in the political pit.

Unable to write for the past three months, this column will be a recap of what happened on the environmental front while I was away. Not being able to comment on the revised plans for the Manchester Resort was torture. But in the larger scheme of things I guess the over-development of downtown Oceanside is hardly worth commenting on.

Most needing to be talked about was Miss Waldron's red colobus vanishing into extinction. Once native to the rain forest canopy of Ghana and the Ivory Coast, logging, road building, and hunters have silenced these gentle leaf eaters. The last time a primate species passed into oblivion was three hundred years ago when xenothrix mcgregori of Jamaica perished under similar pressures.

According to the biologists working in the area this is just the beginning of a growing stream of West African extinctions. Forest fragmentation has resulted in isolated islands of biodiversity being systematically cleared of animals to supply a lucrative bush trade. Habitat fragmentation is what is pushing the California Gnatcatcher over the edge as well. Quoting Disney, "It's a small world after all."

News coming from the global warming department was constant during the last few months. In August tourists on an Arctic ice breaker cruise discovered a mile wide stretch of water at the North Pole. This is notable because the last time there was open water at the top of the world was 50 million years ago. Yes, ladies and gentlemen the North Pole is melting.

On September 14, recognized by the United Nations as the International day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, scientists announced the annual ozone hole over the South Pole had swelled to a record 11 million square miles. For those of you not keeping score this is a 37 percent increase over last year.

According to the UN Environmental Program the human populations centers most at risk from skin cancer and cataracts caused by the increased UV radiation are Ushuavia, Argentina and Sodankyla Finland. The world's southern and northern most cities.

Locally, during my hiatus, it was business as usual. Camp Pendleton was the site of a massive sewage spill, and a battle over habitat. Carlsbad continued it's campaign against natural spaces. And in Encinitas, Moonlight Beach was posted with Bacteria warnings for several days during late October. Ironically one of those day was National Make a Difference Day. This I know because I spent time that morning with kids and parents from Paul Ecke Central Elementary picking up cigarette butts and other representations of environmental decline.

It's good to be back in print.

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