The Best of the Environment in 1998

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1. PARADISE PRESERVED With its seemingly endless vista of rain forest, Suriname is one of the least spoiled places on Earth. And thanks to the work of Washington's Conservation International, this South American country may stay that way. At CI's urging, Suriname set aside 1.6 million hectares--about 10% of the entire country--as a reserve protected from development. The body also set up a private trust fund, with contributions from around the world, to help Suriname safeguard its wilderness.2. THE HEAT IS ON When representatives from more than 150 nations met in Japan last year to draft a treaty that would fight global warming, they knew they faced a tough task, but the process is moving forward. At a follow-up session in Buenos Aires last month, the U.S., the largest producer of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, finally signed the Kyoto protocol, while Argentina and Kazakhstan became the first developing nations to pledge to curb carbon emissions.3. HOLD THAT CHAINSAW This year's floods in China, which killed more than 3,000 people, were deadlier than they had to be. That's because the Yangtze River basin has lost 85% of its forests to logging and development. When it rains hard, water rushes over denuded terrain into swollen streams. Learning a lesson from tragedy, some provinces up and down the Yangtze, including Hubei and Sichuan, have banned logging in certain areas, started reforestation campaigns and shut down timber companies.4. UNACCUSTOMED POSITION Europe's Greens know how to be noisy members of the opposition. Now that Germany's Green Party has gained power with the Social Democrats in the coalition headed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, we'll see if the former outsiders can help the environmental cause from the inside.5. OFF THE HOOK The North Atlantic swordfish has long been overfished, but its plight has eased a bit, thanks to an unusual boycott that began in January. Prodded by conservationists, more than 200 American chefs, three cruise-ship lines and at least one hotel chain have taken swordfish off their menus.PAGE 1  |  
There was more than just Monica
Nothing could touch Saving Private Ryan
Tom Wolfe returned as the novelist in full
France's World Cup of joy brimmed over
Seinfeld's sayonara was much ado about nothing
No prizes for guessing The Big One
A noble winner--and a pair of Nobel losers
Saving Suriname ... and the swordfish
 
1. KILLER WEATHER Some places were so dry that they went up in flames, like Indonesia, below, and Mexico. At the other extreme, China, the Caribbean and Central America were ravaged by deadly storms. Some scientists said that global warming was behind the increased frequency of climatic chaos.2. WAVE OF POISON In May, 5 million cubic meters of toxic sludge containing cadmium, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals burst out of a mine near Seville, Spain owned by the Canadian-Swedish conglomerate Boliden. Diverted into the Guadalquivir River toward the Gulf of Cadiz, the sludge killed countless fish and flooded some 3,600 hectares of farmland, wiping out the crops of 2,000 farmers and generating a $120 million cleanup bill.3. FREE TO DIE If the activists who opened the pens of 7,000 fur-clad residents of the Kelbain Mink Farm in Onneley, England on Sept. 17 thought it was a humane act, they were dead wrong. Of the 2,000 or so minks that made it past the fence into the countryside, most were shot by farmers or died of hunger.4. BEACH MORGUE The coast of Stewart Island in New Zealand was the scene of a mass whale-stranding in November. By the time help arrived about 250 of the 288 beached pilot whales had died and the rest had to be shot. The cause was a mystery, but scientists say that pods of whales may sometimes be pushed in from the open ocean by storms and then follow a disoriented lead whale onto their fatal shore.5. THE PRICE OF COURAGE Protesters trying to save California's redwoods suffered dearly. Some had pepper-spray daubed in their eyes by lawmen during peaceful demonstrations. Others, shown at left, mourned the death of David Chain, 24, who was killed by a falling tree when he refused to move out of a forest that was being logged.  |  2
There was more than just Monica
Nothing could touch Saving Private Ryan
Tom Wolfe returned as the novelist in full
France's World Cup of joy brimmed over
Seinfeld's sayonara was much ado about nothing
No prizes for guessing The Big One
A noble winner--and a pair of Nobel losers
Saving Suriname ... and the swordfish