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Monday, June 05, 2006


Twenty-five years ago today, federal health officials at the CDC reported something that changed our world. On that same day, June 5, 1981, Environment Day celebrated its thirty-second incarnation, the theme, "desertification." Rarely have two dates in history so entwined and become as prophetic as that day in June, 25 years ago today.

On that day the Center for Disease Control, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, described the cases of five gay men from Los Angeles who had all developed rare cases of pneumonia, later identified as auto immune deficiency or AIDS.

Organizers of Environment day assigned this same date for their movement's focus this year again as Desertification Awareness. The enormous coincidence of the impact of those two seemingly disparate events, more than any in recent memory, has effected the last quarter century of man and the environment in ways that are yet to be fully understood.

Twenty five million people have died of AIDS in twenty-five years. The desert has reclaimed 40 percent of the earth's arable land.

HIV is the leading cause of death among those ages 15-59. Starvation from desertification of previously agricultural land is the leading cause of death in underdeveloped nations.

Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger. Every 5 seconds someone dies HIV-aids.

by Harlan Weikle
Greener Magazine

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