CONSCIOUS of the increased threats to the environment, nationally and internationally, experts from 18 organizations have banded together to map out a plan of action for the incoming administration. The result, a program entitled "Blueprint for the Environment," is a realistic set of recommendations for President-elect George Bush.
The 18 organizations, which include such groups as the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists, got together a year ago to examine the most pressing environmental problems, and they have now presented the incoming president with more than 700 specific recommendations.
Environmentalists met with Bush this week and were encouraged by his initial reaction to their proposals.
The problems they cite are familiar ones, such as the global warming due to the "greenhouse effect," ozone depletion, ocean pollution, acid rain, energy and population control. But they stressed the urgency of their message, declaring that "we believe that environmental problems rank with the threat of nuclear war as the most serious of all the challenges we face."
The environmentalists rightly see the threat of global warming as one of "mind-boggling" proportions, and they believe the new president should cite it in his inaugural address as a problem that should be a top priority in domestic and foreign policy.
Since three-fourths of the world's
population lives in underdeveloped countries, global pollution problems can only be dealt with through them. The "blueprint" includes a practical recommendation that environmental problems should be considered in the shaping of foreign aid programs.
And since "halting population growth is fundamental to our efforts to improve the quality of life on earth," the new president should, the blueprint says, support family planning assistance at home and abroad. U.S. assistance to international population-control agencies such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation has been cut back by the Reagan administration, and the environmentalists stress that this should be restored.
"Our power to alter the environment is so great today that it can diminish the capacity of our planet to sustain life," the report points out. Thus a central theme of the study is the necessity for better stewardship "to safeguard the earth's natural systems and the life that depends on them."
Most of the recommendations in the blueprint have been heard before, but the comprehensive nature of the study and the prestige of the participating organizations add a needed sense of authority and urgency to these environmental problems.
Obviously, not all these recommendations can be implemented immediately, but they point the way for the incoming admininstration.
President-elect Bush has been given good advice.