The catastrophe we are watching unfold along the U.S. Gulf Coast is a wake-up call for decision makers around the globe

Worldwatch Institute: September 23, 2005

Please visit our website to view an online presentation about the Worldwatch Institute's activities, impacts, and needs.


An estimated 12,000 weather-related disasters since 1980 have caused 618,200 fatalities and resulted in economic losses of $1.3 trillion. In the 1980s, the average annual economic loss from weather-related disasters was $26 billion. In 2004, that number rose to $104 billion, and in 2005, Hurricane Katrina alone is expected to cost $100-200 billion in economic losses.

The catastrophe we are watching unfold along the U.S. Gulf Coast is a wake-up call for decision makers around the globe. If the world continues on its current course—massively destroying coastal wetlands and increasing fossil fuel consumption—future generations may face a chain of disasters that make Katrina-scale catastrophes a common feature of life in the 21st century.

At a time when politicians and the media have focused on immediate symptoms rather than long-term problems, Worldwatch plays a more important role than ever.

For example, well-financed opponents of action on climate change have delayed implementation of carbon dioxide emissions limits for over a decade, allowing global emissions to grow by 20 percent since 1990. The world’s population has expanded by more than a billion people during the same period, which is undermining the health of the ecosystems on which humanity relies, from forests to water and marine resources.

In the past few weeks, Worldwatch has been actively analyzing and communicating the lessons of Katrina, responding to scores of media requests and providing long-term context to the immediate crisis along the Gulf.

Worldwatch researchers are showing that goals such as reducing poverty, stabilizing the world’s climate, and slowing world population growth must be treated as part of an interconnected whole rather than in isolation.

With the help of many concerned people like you, we are redoubling our commitment to provide the information and vision needed to point the way toward leaving the world a better place for future generations.

Never has our work been more important to the world and never has the support of friends like you been more important to our work.

Please take a moment to view the short presentation outlining the work of the Institute by going to:


Then join us as we work together to create a healthy and sustainable world for generations to come.

Thank you.

Christopher Flavin

Informant: Hopedance


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September 2005

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