Monitoring accumulation of pollutants in terrestrial wildlife
Monitoring contaminant residues in terrestrial animals
Selenium, mercury, and other toxic elements in agricultural runoff and drainage from mines and power plants have caused an "epidemic of deformed birds in the U.S."
Scientists at the University of Glasgow have developed a technique to measure the mercury levels in birds by testing 3 or 4 feathers, which can be taken from living birds wihout causing harm. These scientists also obtain skin and feather samples from museums and historical collections to compare the mercury levels from the past with today. Puffins from the 1800s , for instance, show half the level of mercury as puffins today. While the mercury levels in the birds tested were still not enough to be harmful, the increase gives scientists insights into changes in our environment.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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