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life

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INTRO

Are we damaging our world by the way that we live? Are the stories of global warming true? What can we do about it? Aren't all these kinds of issues just for weird hippies with cardigans anyway?

FACTS

In 2003 the World Conservation Union's Red List said more than 12,000 species (out of 40,000 assessed) faced some extinction risk, including:
• one bird in eight
• 13% of the world's flowering plants
• a quarter of all mammals.

A third of the world's population lives in water-stressed countries now. By 2025, this is expected to rise to two-thirds.

There is more than enough water available, in total, for everyone's basic needs.

More than five million people die from waterborne diseases each year - 10 times the number killed in wars around the globe.

The UN-backed World Commission on Water estimated in 2000 that an additional $100bn a year would be needed to tackle water scarcity worldwide.

This dwarfs the $20bn which will be needed annually by 2007 to tackle HIV and Aids, and, according to the Commission, it is so much it could only be raised from the private sector.

The International Energy Agency says the world will need almost 60% more energy in 2030 than in 2002, and fossil fuels will still meet most of its needs.

We depend on oil for 90% of our transport, and for food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and the entire bedrock of modern life.

But oil industry experts estimate that current reserves will only last for about 40 years.

Not everyone depends on the fossil trio, though. Nearly a third of today's world population (6.1bn people) have no electricity or other modern energy supplies, and another third have only limited access.

The signs are already there. In the first half of 2003 China's car sales rose by 82% compared with the same period in 2002. Its demand for oil is expected to double in 20 years.

In India sales of fuel-guzzling sports utility vehicles account for 10% of all vehicle purchases, and could soon overtake car sales. And the developed world is not standing still.

In the last decade, US oil use has increased by almost 2.7 million barrels a day - more oil than India and Pakistan use daily altogether.

In the 1990s global poverty fell by 20%, but the number of hungry people rose by 18 million. In 2003, 842 million people did not have enough to eat, a third of them in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Hunger and malnutrition killed 10 million people a year, 25,000 a day - one life extinguished every five seconds.

The world does produce enough to feed everyone. But the food is often in the wrong place, or unaffordable, or can't be stored long enough. So making sure everyone has enough to eat is more about politics than science

Air: The World Health Organization (WHO) says 3 million people are killed worldwide by outdoor air pollution annually from vehicles and industrial emissions, and 1.6 million indoors through using solid fuel. Most are in poor countries.

Water: Diseases carried in water are responsible for 80% of illnesses and deaths in developing countries, killing a child every eight seconds. Each year 2.1 million people die from diarrhoeal diseases associated with poor water.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) predicts that if we go on as we are, by 2100 global sea levels will probably have risen by 9 to 88cm and average temperatures will be between 1.5 and 5.5C higher than now.

That may not sound very much - but the last Ice Age was only 4-5C colder than today.

THIS WORLD

Jesus said that, 'I am the way the truth and the life..' He also said that he came so that people could have life and life more abundantly. As a Christian, I believe only way to have the fullest life possible is through Jesus. The even better news is that with Jesus, life can go on getting better and better, if we let it.

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