Note from the Project Coordinator: These essays were written in the Spring of 2000 by The Ellis School's 8th grade class. They represent extensive research conducted throughout the year from a wide variety of resources. References include: the Internet, reference books, periodicals, interviews with foreign diplomats, and reports from students in other countries involved in the GP-2000 project. The essay is divided into four sections, each devoted to one of four nations on which we focused our research: Brazil, Italy, Japan, and the United States. These sections are further subdivided into various relevant topics.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Brazil is the largest country in South America, covering nearly 3.3 million square miles. In 1997 Brazil had a population of 15.9 million. The main languages that are spoken are Portuguese (the official language) English and some French. Many people speak Portuguese because Portugal ruled Brazil for a period of time. Many religions are followed in Brazil, but 70% of the people consider themselves Roman Catholic.
Although Brazil may not have the money to spend on schools like the United States does, it still has a good education system. Children can either go to a public school for free (paid by the government) or their parents may pay for them to go to private school. Children from seven to fourteen years old should attend school, and after they have completed the courses they are able to move on to a first degree and if they wish they move onto a second degree.
Brazil is a democracy. In the system there are three branches
of power: 1) The Executive which consists of the President and
or the Vice president. They have the most control in Brazil. 2)
The legislative branch is broken into two houses. The first house
is the Chamber of Deputies and the second house is the Federal
Senate. Depending on the population of the state they are from
the more people they may have in their house. 3) The Judicial
branch powers are in the Federal Supreme Court. For people to
vote they must be Eighteen to Seventy years old. If they are sixteen
or seventeen they are given and option to vote. Voters must be
part of a political party.
Leah F, 8.6
Tropical rain forests are very important to plant and animal life in all countries, especially Brazil. Although these forests cover only seven percent of the planet's land surface, they are homes for many species. The number of species ranges anywhere from two million to thirty million. Brazilians are trying to preserve these rain forests, but it unfortunately has not been effective. These forests are being cut down due to land needs and income taxes, but more due to trade. International demand for forestry products is having a great impact on many of the Brazilian rain forests. Brazil has strict laws about the materials they can export, unfortunately not many people follow them. They have laws about the beautiful furniture wood, mahogany, which is illegal to cut down and trade. Although they have these laws, they do not feel it necessary to enforce them. Therefore, many countries demand these exporting products, and companies and businessmen wanting to make money, illegally cut down the forests and trade the materials. The country causing the biggest deforestation problem is the United States. The United States demands large amounts of the mahogany wood.
The people who illegally trade mahogany to the United States
are quickly eliminating Brazil's forests. No mahogany is being
traded to countries such as Japan, but large amounts are being
traded to the United States and also to England. There are also
other materials being traded that are causing deforestation problems.
These materials include fuelwood, nuts, latex products, fruits,
and cosmetic oils. The exported wood, food, and other materials
help Brazil,s economy greatly, but at the same time they ruin
Brazil's wild lands.
Becky W, 8.5
WATER USE & CONSERVATION
Water conservation problems are not of great importance to Brazil and its inhabitants. Brazil is the home of the Amazon River, which is the largest river in amount of water in the world. Because of this the Brazilians do not have an immediate problem with water conservation. Even if they did have problems, unlike the United States, Brazil's government does not have the resources or money to attempt to stop water conservation problems
Although Brazil does not have problems with loss of water,
it does have problems with dam projects destroying the environment.
An example of this is the Itaipu Dam Project. The Itaipu Hydroelectric
Power Plant took eighteen years to build. It is located on the
Parana River which runs along the boundary of Brazil and Paraguay.
The river is jointly owned by Brazil and Paraguay. It provides
eighty percent of Paraguay's energy and twenty-five percent of
Brazil's. Its generating capacity is 12,600 megawatts and stretches
4.8 miles across the river, reaching 643 feet high. The dam holds
back 23.5 million acres of water. The construction of the dam
had a large impact on the vegetation surrounding the dam. It caused
the extinction of a rare orchid, and a large amount of fruit trees,
and brush were destroyed. Seven hundred square acres of forest
was lost, mainly in Paraguay. The Paraguayan and Brazilian governments
realized the impact that the construction was having and took
precautions to control the destruction. Over fifty percent of
what could have been lost was salvaged by the efforts of their
governments. The Mymba Kuera Project was started to attempt to
preserve some of the wildlife. The project caught birds, mammals,
reptiles, and insects and moved them to biological reserves. They
caught a total of 27,150 animals. The Brazilian government started
"Operation Blue Crow," a movement to preserve remaining
forest and to reforest the riverbanks and islands. After 1988
fifty-two percent of 28,000 hectacres of Itaipu had been restored
with the transplantation of 11.5 million plant species. Because
of the bilateral agreements signed by both Brazil and Paraguay
105,000 hectacres were protected from the colossal impacts of
the Itaipu Dam Project.
Liz E, 8.6
Renato Faria, Embassy of Brazil (Washington, D.C.)
Water conservation is clearly not a problem in Brazil, because
Brazil has the Amazon River. The Amazon, the longest river in
South America, is the river with the most flow in the world. All
of this water comes from a melting ice reservoir up in the Andes
Mountains. This amazing rush of water can destroy animals, habitats,
and create new habitats for them. It changes the course of nature
in it and on its banks. On the lower Amazon, there is an island
called Belem. Natives uses the resources of this island to live.
Their marketplaces carry true resources from the river, not manmade
items. This intruiges tourists. The Amazon River can reignite
the sparks of early mankind, as it is primitive, yet still very
nice. The inhabitants still use trade, just less advanced trade,
to live. By studying the use and habits of the Amazon River area
and its inhabitants, we can find a great deal of interesting information.
Katherine L, 8-5
Brazil trades with many different countries, and from this biological invaders are exported from the country. Biological invaders are animals that are exported with goods from a country and put into an environment where they have no natural predators. Without natural predators they have nothing to slow their breeding process and stop them from damaging the environment. One of Brazil's many biological invaders that affects the countries with which Brazil trades is the South American water hyacinth. It has invaded the lakes of China and Africa. The hyacinth swam in the ballast of super tankers, slithered up into the wheel wells of jetliners, and sometimes bored into valuable artifacts.
Another invader from Brazil is the Amazonian rubber pathogen. It has migrated to southeast Asia where it can possibly destroy most of the world's rubber production.
Pineapple plantations have also been damaged by South American
mealy bugs. Although this is happening, the World Trade Organization
(WTO) ruled to forbid states from taking pre-emptive measure to
prevent pest invasions if it would prevent the flow of goods.
Faith-Rebekkah I, 8.5
Biological invaders into Brazil are not new. Ever since the Portuguese first landed in Brazil 400 years ago, they brought invaders with them, such as horses, smallpox, and sugar cane. What is new about biological invaders today is that the global economy and trade is helping the biological invaders spread faster than ever before. Today, biological invaders are spread by airplane passengers and shipments, ship ballast, and organisms clinging to jetliner wheels.
One of Brazil's biological invaders is the Asian Tiger mosquito. The mosquito carries 17 viral infections, some of them fatal. There was a small epidemic in Rio de Janeiro, where 1 million people reported bites from the bug.
Another biological invader that is causing problems in Brazil is the tobacco white fly This pest carries plant viruses that have forced farmers to abandon one million hectors of land. This also contributes to Brazil's deforestation problem because the invader forces farmers to create new fields, which usually is done by cutting down trees.
One of the most famous biological invaders in Brazil in recent years is the African honeybee. These bees were deliberately imported into Brazil about 40 years ago by a local beekeeper because he thought it would make more honey. However, some of the bees escaped, and since they were more aggressive than the local European honeybee (itself an earlier biological invader), it killed off the local bees. These imported African bees are so aggressive they have been called "killer bees".
If these invaders are to be stopped, then there must be stricter
laws to stop biological invaders from leaving their native soil
in the first place. Ships must be more careful with their ballast,
airplane wheels should be checked before takeoff, and the occasional
curious tourist shouldn't bring living things into other countries.
But even if everyone is very careful, there will certainly be
a few plants and animals that slip into other ecosystems, and
biological invaders will continue to be a problem in the future.
Yvette C, 8.5
BRAZIL, GATT & THE WTO
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) originated after World War II. It was formed as a charter for the International Trade Organization (ITO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. GATT became effective in 1948. Although the ITO did not win ratification by the United States Congress in 1950, the GATT remained to control international trade from 1948 to 1995. GATT members, known as contracting parties, worked to minimize tariffs, quotas, preferential trade agreements between countries, and other barriers to international trade.
The first nations to become a part of the GATT were Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France. They became a part of the GATT on January 1st, 1948. Many other nations joined later. In 1995 there were 128 nations involved in the GATT. GATT was founded on the principle of nondiscrimination. Member nations were required to treat all other contracting parties equally. Once a member reduced a tariff for another member country, that reduction applied to all member countries. However, an escape clause allowed a nation to withdraw its tariff reduction if it seriously harmed the country's producers. GATT members sponsored eight specially organized rounds of trade negotiations. The last round of negotiations, called the Uruguay Round, began in 1986 and ended in 1994. At the end of the negotiations, the members of GATT, as well as representatives from seven other nations, signed a trade pact that will eventually cut tariffs overall by about one-third and reduces or eliminates other obstacles to trade. The pact also took steps toward opening trade in investments and services among member nations and strengthening protection for intellectual property (creative works that can be protected legally). The 1994 trade agreement officially took effect in January 1995. The 1994 GATT pact also provided for establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In 1995 GATT's role was taken over by the World Trade Organization (WTO), an international body that administers trade laws and provides a forum for settling trade arguments between nations. Throughout 1995, GATT and the WTO came together while GATT members accepted their governments' approval for WTO membership. After the transition period, GATT ceased to exist. As of 1996 almost all of the 128 nations that had ratified the 1994 GATT agreement had transferred membership to the WTO. Although the WTO operates a dispute settlement process similar to the one under GATT, it has stronger power to enforce agreements, including authority to issue trade sanctions against a country that refuses to take back an offending law or practice.
The 1994 GATT treaty was one of the most promising international
trade agreements to be signed by such a large number of nations.
In the United States, supporters of the agreement said it would
create jobs and improve business. Opponents claimed that the new
GATT treaty would lead to massive losses of jobs in manufacturing
and that the powerful WTO would threaten American independence.
A number of groups, including environmentalists, human-rights
activists, and labor organizations in the United States and other
countries, argued against the treaty, claiming that it failed
to link trade preferences to protections for the environment and
workers' rights. The Congress of the United States approved U.S.
participation in the treaty, including membership in the WTO in
Maya S, 8.5
The WTO is the World Trade Organization. It deals with global trade and all the rules between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible. The result of this is a more posperous and countries and they ratify it their parliments. Disputes must be resolved within the time limits set by WTO rules.
It was established in 1994 when the members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a treaty and international trade organization, signed a new trade pact. The WTO was created to replace GATT.
The WTO began operation in Jamuary of 1995. The members of GATT met for the last time in December of 1995. GATT regulated trade in merchandise goods. The WTO expanded the GATT agreement to include trade in services and protections for intellectual property.
In 1996 almost all of the 123 nations that had signed the new GATT pact had transfered membership to the WTO. About 30 other nations had also applied for membership.
In 1994 Trade Ministers decided to begin a comprehensive program on trade and environment in the WTO. The situation was negotiated. The Preamble to the WTO Agreement includes direct references to teh objective of sustainable development and to the need to protect and preserve the environment. The new Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade and on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures take explecitly into account the use by governments of measures to protect human, animal and plant life and health and the environment.
The WTO Commmittee on Trade and Environment has brought environmental
and sustainable development issues into the mainstream of WTO
work. The Committees first report notes that the WTO is interested
in building a constructive relationship between trade and environmental
Amanda H, 8.6
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Italy is a penninsula extending into the Mediterranean Sea,
and is northeast of Tunisia. It has a current population of 56,735,130
people, and has 301,230 square kilometers of land and water. Italy's
natural resources include mercury, potash, marble, sulfur, natural
gas and crude oil reserves, fish, and coal. Current environmental
issues include air pollution from industrial emissions, coastal
and inland rivers polluted from both industrial and agricultural
businesses, acid rain, and inadequate
industrial waste treatment facilities. Italy has a republic form of government, and uses Executive,
Legislative, and Judicial branches. Italy has a GDP of $20,800, and it's major industries include tourism, machinery, iron and steel, chemicals, food processing, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, footwear, and ceramics. Since World War II, the economy has become mainly industrial rather than agricultural. Italy exports over $243 billion of goods a year, and imports around $202 billion of goods a year. Italy's economy is growing steadily and should continue to be prosporous in years to come.
Lauren W, 8.5
WATER USE & CONSERVATION
Water pollution is one of the primary environmental problems in Italy. Coastal and inland rivers are polluted by industry, agriculture, and trade. Some of Italy's main trade exports are tobacco, wine, and olives. Italy's main trade imports are engineering products, chemicals, transport equipment, energy products, etc. The waters of Italy are being polluted by the dumping from ships and airplanes of crude oil, pesticides, radioactive wastes, mercury, cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, and cobalt.
There are 2,400 km of waterways for commercial traffic in Italy. There are a total of 393 ships. The ports in Italy are Augusta (Sicily), Bagnoli, Bari, Brindisi, Gela, Genoa, La Spezia, Livorno, Milazzo, Naples, Porto Foxi, Porto Torres (Sardinia), Salerno, Savona, Taranto, Trieste, and Venice.
Tourism is also affecting the health of the Mediterranean.
Every year, millions of beachgoers visit the Mediterranean coastline.
This creates more refuse than the countries can cope with. About
80% of the sewage they produce ends up in the sea entirely untreated.
That is more than 500 million tons a year. Also, most tourists
come in the dry season, which contributes to the contamination
of the area,s already limited resources. Contaminated water is
very dangerous to health. Swimming in some parts of the Mediterranean
can lead to infections of the ear, nose, and throat. Diseases
such as hepatitis, dysentary, and cholera are also transmitted
A major water problem in Italy is the sinking of the famous city, Venice, built on water canals. The process of trade is adding more carbon dioxide in the air which is causing global warming. Because of global warming, sea levels are rising and causing Venice to begin to sink and have more floods. There is now an average of ten floods per year that could increase to fifty if the sea levels continue to rise. The height of the floods is usually three to four feet above the ground. The reason there is so many more floods is because there was much ground water withdrawal between 1930-1970. The primary reason for the withdrawal was water for industries.
To reduce floods, there are mobile flood gates to close off the lagoon so the sea cannot flood the city. A problem with this is that the flood gates have to be opened to allow fresh water to circulate in the city. When the flood gates are opened, they are ineffective in preventing floods. However, if they are not opened, there will be a lot of pollution and the city will begin to stink.
Another method to decrease the sinking is to raise the city. This was a technique used as early as the fourth century. More dirt would be brought in to build the city higher up. This method has not been used much. The problem with this plan is that the historical buildings cannot be built up any further without modifying and changing the structures. This is an issue because the city is basically a museum and should be left unchanged.
Up to 500 rivers flow into the Mediterranean Sea. The rivers
drain agricultural and industrial regions such as Ebro, Rhone,
Po,and the Nile. These rivers carry more pollutants than the waste
dumped from the coast. Humans have always dumped waste in the
Mediterranean, but during the industrial era the waste reached
a very high level. The sea is also polluted by agricultural run-off,
discharges from ships, effluents, urban sewage, and air pollutants.
Industrial effluents ,which contain heavy metal, contaminate fish.
Sewage introduces viral pollution which could cause typhoid, hepatitis,
or grasto-enteritis to swimmers and drinkers of seawater.
Another problem in the Mediterranean is eutrophication. Eutrophication is when there is a large amount of sewage and runoff adding too much nitrates or phosphates to the seawater. This causes excessive algae growth. The algae dies and bacteria takes up all the DO. Fish and crustaceans will die because lack of oxygen or brown blood disease. Because of eutrophication, humans can also contract metheglobin.
Sharon B, 8.4
Jean Y, 8.5
Anne T, 8.6
Biological invaders are organisms from the environments of other countries that have been introduced into a new environment in the host country. Because the invading species is in a new environment, the conditions may be more favorable and there may be an absence of predators. Under such circumstances, the organisms have fewer natural controls on their growth. They increase in number and eventually may overwhelm the native organisms, thereby dominating the use of space, nutrients, and water. The native organisms then begin to decline, and eventually may become extinct.
One of the ways to control invaders is to prevent them from entering the new environment. After they have entered, there are methods to remove them, such as through the use of chemicals, fire, and water flow control. Also, a natural predator of the organism can be introduced to control the population level, or the invaders can be physically removed. However, these methods have to be carefully considered because they present risks of their own, which are sometimes unexpected.
Bio-hazards can be introduced through trade with other countries.
The hazard enters the country and causes various environmental
problems. Many countries have controls and regulations to prevent
this from occurring. One of these countries is Brazil. In the
past, they have had problems with invaders but these have now been addressed with action. The Japanese have a strict inspection process, so they do not have as many problems. Also, they are a small island, so they do not have as many ports to regulate what enters the country.
Italy is a country that has had and continues to have problems with biological invaders from other countries. An example is the Myocastor Coypus, or the Nutria. It is a type of rodent. It has a reddish-brown outercoat, webbed hind feet, and very strong teeth. They are very similar to a small beaver. They live in burrows in swampy areas, and eat freshwater vegetation, corn, wheat, rice, and carrots. The nutria were introduced into Italy in 1930, from South America, and live in the Po reef. The holes made by these rodents present a real danger because they permit the water of the river to enter and destroy the reef. The response of local authorities has been to assert that cold weather and hunting will limit their population. There has been no other response.
Another biological invader is the Nelumbo Specosium or the Nelumbo Nucifera, also known as the lotus. The lotus is an aquatic herb with leaves that float on the water, a long stem, and flowers. They are a danger because they spread and suffocate the native vegetation, preventing natural growth. The lotus was introduced into Italy in 1914, by missionaries from southern China and India. The local authorities in Italy take the position that they cannot take any effective action to control the lotus flowers because they expand uncontrollably.
A third biological invader is the Columba Livia, which is the wild pigeon. The wild pigeon has a small head, a short neck, and short legs. They live in trees feeding on seeds, nuts, fruit, and insects. They were introduced to Italy in 1944 from Asia and later from the Balkans, and they still live there today. For example, they have formed colonies throughout the city of Venice. The number of pigeons that live in Venice is estimated at approximately 100,000. They outnumber the city's human population by 40,000. They are a danger because there are far too many of them. Their defecation damages the monuments and causes hygienical problems. In attempt to control their breeding, local authorities have attempted to feed them non-fecundative seeds and to move them to the country.
In conclusion, biological invaders, such as the nutria, the
lotus, and the pigeon, have caused environmental problems in Italy
because of favorable environmental conditions, including lack
of predators. The invaders entered Italy through trade or other
means, and efforts to combat them have been largely ineffective.
In contrast to Brazil and Japan, the Italian laws and efforts
have not been effective. Based upon the experiences of Italy,
Brazil, and Japan, the best means of controlling biological invaders
appears to be the prevention of the invasion rather than attempting
to control the invaders once they have entered. Italy,s experience
confirms this conclusion.
Lorrie K, 8.4
The caulerpa has had a major effect on the fishing industry in Italy. It was introduced through the European museums. They were using it in their exhibits because it was easy to grow for the tanks. It lives in the waters of the Mediterranean and clogs up the fishing nets, so the fish can see them, and they do not go into them. This plant is originally found in the Caribbean, and in other warmer areas. The caulerpa is somehow surviving in the cold Mediterranean, and has no predators there. The plant contains a certain juice called terpanes, which are toxic and they keep the fish away from the plant. The caulerpa has been taking over in the Mediterranean, covering sand and rocks. The entire bottom of the Mediterranean is covered with the plant. The plant grows at an enormous speed; about one inch a day. During nine years, it has spread over 1,000 miles of the coast line. It has been able to spread out so easily, because it is carried in the fishing nets and along with the anchors. The sea is full of boats, and they all have anchors.
Scientists are debating about releasing this slug into the
waters to cut down on the amount of caulerpa. The only thing that
could eradicate the caulerpa are slugs. Slugs need the toxic that
caulerpa produce so that fish won't eat them. Slugs also have
other highly specific adaptations to caulerpa. They need caulerpa
cells as part of their own metabolism, and they have a special
tooth which matches only caulerpa structure.
Gorana S, 8.6
Emily S, 8.5
Deforestation is not a problem in Italy, itself; however, Italy does contribute to the deforestation of other places. For example, Italy imports most of its lumber from Brazil, which does have an issue with deforestation.
There are several reasons why deforestation does occur. One
is commercial pastoralism, where trees are cut down to make room
for farming (mostly raising cattle). The next reason is industrial
logging. This destroys around 1600 million cubic miles of the
worlds forests every year.
Deforestation is also caused by international trade. Since the poorer countries export the most timber, they have to suffer by losing large numbers of trees. Wealthier nations do not suffer because they have technology to process new materials to produce higher value wood and paper goods. Another cause is industrial production. Tropical nations are processing thier wood in order to get more money for it. Poverty and debt are also causing deforestation, because of low-income in tropical nations.
Debra O, 8.4
Fifteen percent of Brazil's rain forest has been destroyed.
From the view of the United Statesand others, this is a very large
amount. From Brazil's perspective, deforestation is not a significant
problem because the country is big and 15% is a small amount of
rain forest. People continue to cut down trees, even though it
is against the law. Miraculously, the Brazilian government does
not oppose the deforestation because it aids in its also, Brazil
does not have enough financial resources to take effect actions
to help the forest.
Sarah C, 8.6
ITALY, GATT & WTO
At the end of WWII, a charter was drafted called the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trades(GATT). The charter, however, was never recognized by international law as an institution. Eventually, the WTO was formed and the GATT ceased to exist.
The World Trade Organization was first established on January 1, 1995. The purpose of the World Trade Organization is similar to that of its predecessor the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trades(GATT). The WTO is a set of rules and acts as a forum for countries to discuss and solve trade conflicts and also to continue negotiations for expanding international trade. The organization also administers rules for trade pertaining to previous agreements between countries. The WTO makes sure that trade runs smoothly, freely, and predictably. The primary goal of the organization is to improve the lives of the people living in nations that are members of the WTO. There are many countries involved in the WTO, including Italy.
There are several important subjects the institution is looking at. One, that has been given a high profile, is trade and the environment. In the preamble of the WTO agreement, it stresses the need to protect and preserve the environment.
The institution has began working towards this goal by trying to integrate environment into trade. In 1994, the GATT and WTO members established a committee concentrating on the link between trade and environment. However, the organization has stated that this goal of integrating the environment into trade is a long term goal and will not take immediate effect.
There are several agreements within the WTO that were established for the good of the environment. One of them is the Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary/Phytosanitary which looks at different government's measures to protect human, animal, plant life, and the environment.
The WTO has 136 member countries. Among these are the United States, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Germany and many other countries. The WTO has effects on all of these countries. Some countries depend on the WTO, because they are not rich in natural resources. The WTO aids these countries by regulating trade.
Yamamato Tsuyoshi, a Japanese government official, feels that
the WTO is still in a preliminary phase because it is such a young
organization. He believes that it is still too early to determine
the effects the WTO and its environmental agreements have on Italy
and other countries.
Katie G, 8.4
Kate R, 8.6
Sara H, 8.5
Yamamato Tsuyoshi, Embassy of Japan (washington, DC)
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Japan is a chain of islands located between North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan and East of Korea. Japan's natural resources include minerals and fish. Sixty seven percent of Japan's land is used for forests and woodlands. Japan is the second most powerful economy in the world because manufacturers, distributors and suppliers work closely together. Japan's agricultural products include sugar beets, rice, vegetables, fruit, pork, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and fish. It has one of the world's largest fishing fleets.
Japan also produces steel, construction and mining equipment, motor vehicles and parts, ships, railroad rolling stock, electronics, and telecommunication equipment.
Japan's exports were $440 billion in 1998. Ninety six percent
of the merchandise exported are manufacture products (machinery
50%, motor vehicles 19%, and consumer electronics 3%). Japan's
exporting partners are the United States, Southeast Asia, Europe
and China. The United States is it's biggest partner. Thirty percent
of their export trades are with the United States. Japan's exports
to Europe are 18%, Southeast Asia are 12% and China is 5%.
Japan's imports in 1998 were $319 billion. Japan imports with the same countries it exports with. The merchandise is slightly different though. Japan's imports are 54% manufactures, 28% food and raw material, and 16% fossil fuels. The United States is also Japan's biggest import trading country. Twenty four percent of Japanese imports are from the United States, 14% from Southeast Asia, 14% from Europe, and 13% from China.
Japan imports a large amount of timber, although there are
many acres of forests in Japan. Most of the timber imported comes
from southeast Asia, no trees are imported from Brazil. Japan
imports roundwood, sawn wood and panels, and pulp/paper trees
from southeast Asia. Japan has planted many cedars and does use
them for domestic purposes. The main thing is, though, that Japanese
are depending (and have a better liking) for the tropical woods
that come from southeast Asia, mainly Malaysia. The tropical hardwoods
that they import are also cheaper than their domestic cedars.
Mercedes B, 8.6
Whaling is a significant problem in Japan. The International
Whaling Commision imposed a total ban on commercial whaling. During
the past eleven years, Japan and Norway have been the main targets.
Between them, they have killed almost 1,000 minke whales this
year. Japan justifies its whaling activities by citing Article
8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling(1946),
which allows them to hunt and capture whales for scientific purposes.
Since 1986 nearly 19,000 whales died, even though a moratorium
has existed since then. Because more and more countries are opposing
whaling, Japan is trying to look for other countries to support
commercial whaling. The countries Japan is trying to target are
smaller nations such as the South Pacific nations of Tonga and
Figi. Also, the Japanese people's support for whaling and the
whaling culture is, if anything, increasing steadily.
Lily S, 8.5
Although commercial whaling has been banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in most countries around the world, Japan is still engaged in large scale killings of whales, as is Norway. Commercial whaling is when different species of whales are hunted for food, makeup, research, and other things. According to Yamamoto Tsuyoshi, a Japanese government official, no parts of the whale are exported from Japan. A variety of whales are still hunted and harvested. Some of these species are blue, fin, humpback, sperm, and gray whales. In Japan, the most common whales that are hunted are minke and byrde whales.
Even though a global ban on whaling was adopted by the IWC, there are still 3 types of whaling that are being practiced today. The first type that is still active is Aboriginal substance whaling. Aboriginal subsistence whaling is when whales are hunted by the descendants of the Aboriginal people using small boats and simple tools. This type of whaling is authorized by the IWC.
Another type of whaling that is still practiced is small-type whaling. This type of whaling is not handled by the IWC, because the IWC only manages large whales. Small-scale whaling is practiced in Japanese waters, and is supervised by the Japanese government. They harvest small whales like Baird beaked and pilot whales, and porpoises. To make sure the population level of the whales does not go too low, catch quotas are required. A limited number of pilot whales are harvested in Denmark, the Caribbean, and a few other counties.
The final type of whaling that is practiced today is by counties that are not members of the IWC. This means that these counties are involved in commercial whaling, but do not follow the rules and regulations of the IWC. Examples of non-IWC member whaling is bowhead whales in Canada, sperm and brydes whales in Indonesia, and humpback whales in the South Pacific. Those are the only 3 types of commercial whaling that are practiced today.
The United States is trying to stop commercial whaling in Japan.
There are many reasons why the US might be doing this. One reason
is because the whales could possibly become endangered species.
Japanese Officials urged that this cannot happen, but no one is
Farial A, 8. 4
At this time, Japan is known worldwide as a nation with a significantly serious environmental pollution.
The pollution problem started in the late Meiji Era. Japan was forced to make a transition because of external pressure and internal circumstances. This restoration required the country to start trading. The period of time following World War II also added to the already big amount of environmental pollution. Since after World War II, Japan was is such a bad economic state, the country had to make policies ensuring economic recovery and fast growth, but Japan forgot to think of environmental concerns. Because they forgot about the environment, and with the expansion of industries, Japan became one of the most polluted countries in the world. Milky white smog started to fill the country because of automobile exhaust and and pollution from factories. People had to wear face masks and gargle each time they came indoor. Action started to take place. In 1967 the Pollution Countermeasures Basic Law started to establish quality standards and pollution control strategies to stop the problem from expanding itself. Another action taken to control pollution was in the 1970's. The Polluter Pays Principle policy, which is where companies finding it necessary to pollute the environment, were required to take responsibility for everything they caused through their machinery.
Today people are very aware of these problems, and very much
dislike environmental pollution. Japan is working hard towards
making its country a safer and more enjoyable place to live in.
People are talking pollution into more consideration when they
buy thier products. So, in order to gain consumers, corporations
need to be producing products by environmentally sound methods.
In conclusion, environmental pollution in Japan is a big deal,
but the Japanese people and government are taking initiative to
resolve this problem initiated by trade.
Priyanka C, 8.5
Japan has water pollution problems. While its waters are polluted mainly by Japan, other countries also contribute to the issue of its water contamination.
In recent years, rules on industrial waste water have become more strict. The result is the introduction of many technologies to solve this dilemma. Technologies, meaning different instruments and such, to recycle most of the waste water.
Another country that has been polluting Japan's water is Russia. In the 1950's Russia first started dumping radioactive waste in the Sea of Japan. Also was reported that they had dumped radioactive waste in the Sea of Far East area at least six times since 1978. they have also dumped hundreds of tons of waste on several other occasions. In the long run, this pollution is likely to result into serious destruction of the global environment. Fish and sea plants are also dying because of this. Not only will the fishing industry be damaged because of the fish shortage, and disease among the fish, but so will its consumers, from eating the contaminated fish. Russia has continued to dump radio active waste in Japan's sea's for a long time.
According to government official at the Japanese embassy, any
treaty that has been signed between Russia and Japan for Russia
to stop dumping waste in Japan's waters, like at the London Dumping
Convention of 1972, would have been a non-binding treaty. That
means that the treaty just depended on trust. It could have broken
on any occasion, as it was.
Yamamoto Tsuyoshi, from the Japanese embassy, said that Japan gets an efficient amount of drinking water from its rainfall. Japan does not use desalinization, the taking of salt out of the the ocean water for drinking, because of all of the toxins in the water. Also because it would be too expensive to use that method.
Name: Laine G, 8.4
Deforestation is a worldwide problem. In Japan, after World War II, cedar trees were planted because of their rapid maturation and its usefulness for housing. Only recently, have the trees become mature enough to use. Japan has about 62,136,000 acres of total forest area and it is the leading importer of tropical timber, accounting for about 25% of international trade in tropical timber. It imports 185 billion tons of lumber per year. Wood was the country's second largest import product, after petroleum, in 1980. It was 7th in 1991, 4th in 1992-1994, 8th in 1995, 7th in 1996,and 8th in 1997. It imports about 28% from the U.S, 10% from Canada, and the rest from Southeast Asia, from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and countries in west Africa like C'te d'lvoire and Gabon. Up until now, hardwood has been imported to Japan from Southeast Asia, especially from the two Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. Meanwhile, the amount of hardwoods imported from Southeast Asia has been increasing because of its low cost. The woods are mainly used for houses, shrines, trays, chests, boxes, and chopsticks. Because of this, Japan has been criticized for contributing to the deforestation of Southeast Asia. Since Japan uses a large amount of tropical hardwoods instead of using its domestic cedar trees, many think Japan is minimizing its environmental problems related to forests at the expense of others.
In spite of the domestic cedar trees available, Japan does not use much of its own resources. Most of the hardwood used in Japan comes from the U.S. or Southeast Asia. Only 28% of Japan's lumber comes from Japan. Because of the heavy dependence on imported hardwood, Japan is now having problems with its own trees. The plantations of Japanese Cedar trees, also known as Cryptomeria japonica, or Sugi in Japan is causing some problems. Forest plantations require expensive maintenance, and since many plantations are owned by individuals who can't afford the cost, many of Japan's cedar trees are left without appropriate care.
These neglected trees have caused the number of animals to decrease, reduced the water table, and created the potential for landslides, soil erosion, and hay fever among humans. When cedar trees grow above 40 meters high, they block sunlight from reaching the forest floor; this, in turn, prevents other plants from growing which offers little food and protection for animals. Also, the pollen that these trees give off causes allergic reactions in 10% of the population. The number of people showing symptoms of allergies has been increasing. Therefore, better care for these cedar trees would improve the environmental problems that have been caused by poor resource management. This problem was said to be not very important by Japanese officials interviewed in May of 2000 at the embassy in Washington, D.C.
Also, because Japan is so dependent on the imported tropical hardwoods from Southeast Asia, parts of Malaysia suffer from deforestation problems. The life in this area has been irreversibly damaging to both the people of that area and the plant life. Recently, the Japanese government announced and environmental protection policy, based on the Basic Environment Law. Under this law, Japan will offer technical assistance and human resources to the nations in Southeast Asia.
In conclusion, Japan's lumber trade with Southeast Asia has
not only affected Japan's environment in a negative way, but also
Southeast Asia's environment. By creating better resource management,
Japan would be able to help Japan's environment well as in Southeast
Meagan K, 8.6
Sue Q, 8.5
Hannah S, 8.4
Japan's trade has a great impact on deforestation, the use and conservation of water, and biological invaders. Also, their relationship and involvment in the WTO and GATT has influenced them greatly.
In many ways deforestation greatly effects the global environment, though it is not considered a serious problem by Japanese government oficial Yamamoto Tsuyoshi. Japan's mamy forests consist largely of a particular cedar tree. Approximately 11.1 million acres have been planted in the past few years, much of which is near major cities. These trees produce a certain pollen that causes hay fever. As the number of cedars increase each year, approximately 10% of the Japanese suffer from hay fever allergies. This issue grows consistantly worse as the amount of rainfall per year increases.
Although Japan imports some of its timber it has decreased
greatly in only the past eight years. In 1992 timber ranked fourth
among Japan's top ten commodity of imports while in 1999 it was
not even listed. Japan imports about 28% of its timber from the
United States, 10% from Canada, and the remaining 62% comes from
the forests of Southeast Asia.
Hannah S, 8.4
Yamamoto Tsuyochi, Embassy of Japan (Washington, DC)
Japanese Cedar Trees and Timber Trade
JAPAN, GATT & WTO
The WTO has a committee on trade and environment called the CTE. The WTO was formed in 1994, in Marrakesh. The CTE is responsible for the environmental issues regarding trade because the WTO is not going to become an environmental agency. The CTE has an important role in keeping technology and products environmentally safe. The WTO meets in Geneva to talk about trade issues, settle agreements, and make rules about trade. GATT raised a concern, in the1980ís, that toxic products were being sent to other countries, without a warning of the health dangers of the public. When GATT was formed it wasnít an official organization.
The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment has brought environmental
and maintainable development issues into the conventional WTO
framework. The Committee's first report, which was submitted to
the WTO Ministerial Conference in Singapore, mentions that the
WTO is interested in building a constructive balance between trade
and environmental concerns. Trade and environment are both important
parts of policy making and they should be supportive in order
to promote maintainable development. The multilateral trading
system has the ability to further put together environmental considerations
and enhance its contribution to the promotion of maintainable
development without discouraging its open, equitable, and non-discriminatory
Dysanne R, 8.6
The WTO and GATT are extremely important in the development
of Japan's economy. Since the commitee on trade and environmentís
(CTE) role is to take care of the environment issues regarding
trade, the economy would fall if something were to go wrong. The
WTO is the world trade organization which makes sure that all
trades go through. Although mostly everything that goes through
is safe, not everything is. In the 1980ís, the GATT (General
Agreements on Tariffs and Trade) raised a concern that toxic products
were being shipped to countries without a warning to the people.
The CTE was established to keep this from happening. It plays
an important part in keeping technology and products environmentally
safe.Pollution is one of the easiest things to cross borders.
Therefore all of the organizations are doing everything that they
can to prevent against this and all other things that travel by
trade. Although it is a good idea to have these organizations
as a part of the WTO, they are so new and underdeveloped that
have not made an impact on the economy.
Indea H, 8.4
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has a special committe on
trade and environment called the CTE. The CTE was developed to
take care of the environmental issues regarding trade, because
the WTO is not an environmental organization. The CTE plays an
important role in keeping technology and products environmentally
safe. The WTO was brought out in 1994 in Marrakesh. The WTO meets
in Geneva to discuss trade issues, make rules, and settle arguments
about trade. When the GATT was fisrt established, it was technically
not an organization. In the 1980s, the GATT raised a concern that
toxic products were being sent to countries without a warning
of public health dangers. Pollution can come across borders and
more scientific enhancement can conserve the environment. In Japan,
Environmental Day is on June 5th.
Louisa V, 8.5
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The United States has the most diverse, powerful, and technologically
advanced economy in the world, with a per capita GDP of $31,500.
This is the largest per capita GDP among major industrial nations.
The United States is an open-market country. US business firms
enjoy more freedom when it comes to pricing their own goods, unlike
large industrial nations in Europe and Asia, specifically Western
Europe and Japan. The population of the U.S. is 270.31 million,
as of 1998. The United States of America has an area of 9.63 million
km2 . The amount of money the government spends every year in
the United States is $1.60 trillion better known as budget expenditures.
America's biggest trading partner is Canada. Other major trading
partners include Western European nations that account for 21%
the United States' export business. According to Japanese government
officials, the U.S. is one of the most important trading partners
Japan has. This is the same for Brazil, according to their government
officials. The U.S. trades products, anywhere from airplane materials
to jewelry. Mexico accounts for 10% of the US export business.
Some import partners include Canada, Western Europe, Japan, Mexico,
Yana C, 8.4
Mimi D, 8.4
WATER USE & CONSERVATION
Trade can have a major impact on natural resources such as water pollution. Water pollution occurs when water is contaminated by undesirable foreign matter. It can affect surface water, underground water, and even larger bodies of water like oceans and seas. Water pollution can be easily connected with water conservation.
The United States and Canada provide water from their rivers
and the Great Lakes to countries around the world. Canada and
the United States were worried about the effects of removing such
large amounts of water from their shared lakes and rivers. They
decided to conduct a study with the State Department in Washington
and the Foreign Affairs and International Trade department. This
study actually caused more pressure from industry to provide more
water from the Great Lakes. For now, Canada is on its own to prohibit
bulk removal of water, including exported water from different
watersheds. A national agreement will be negotiated with the ten
Canadian provinces and two northern territories to protect watersheds
from bulk removals.
Eve S, 8.6
Many countries are aware of the killing of sea life through nets, but ignore the problem. There are many different cases of this problem.
One of these is the Tuna-Dolphin Case. This was when fishermen were using nets to catch tuna, but those nets were also catching dolphins by accident. The fisherman did not want to spend the extra money to buy special nets that did not catch dolphins. The United States has a negative reaction to countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Japan, and Panama that catch dolphins along with tuna. The United States would not let in ships from these countries, because they did not want to sell tuna that has harmed dolphins in the process of catching. This stopped the United States' trade with these countries. Because of this, Mexico set up a panel to follow the United States' embargo on these countries. In this situation, the United States got no satisfaction, because dolphins are still getting carelessly caught in tuna nets. The United States later tried to stop the selling of this tuna caught in these nets, but again lost.
Another example of this is the sea turtle-shrimp controversy. This is a similar case, because sea turtles were being caught in shrimp nets. Because of this, about 150,000 sea turtles are drowned in these shrimp nets. This is cutting down on the number of sea turtles because most turtles cannot reproduce until they are older, but they are getting killed when they are young. Again, there are ways to catch shrimp without killing sea turtles, but shrimp catchers decide not to use them because of added expense.
The decision has been that only the sea turtles swimming in
United States' waters were safe. Then the Court of International
Trade (CIT) told the Department of State to make this shrimp embargo
worldwide. This says that shrimp have to be caught using turtle-safe
methods, or that the country would have to get certification for
shrimp to be imported. Countries are not allowed to export shrimp
unless the Department of State certifies the country. To be certified,
the country has to show evidence that they use the Turtle Excluder
Device (TED), or show that their shrimp trawling does not affect
sea turtles. After the country receives its certificate, they
can export shrimp to the United States. The only way a country
can export shrimp to the United State without a certificate is
to catch shrimp in cold water, where sea turtles do not swim.
Over the years, the United States has used trade restrictions
to stop the necessary killing of sea life.
Stacey A, 8.4
DEFORESTATION & BIOLOGICAL INVADERS
Deforestation, the destruction of trees and forests, is a major environmental concern in the United States. One of the main sources for this problem is the Asian long-horned beetle which entered the U.S by way of trade. The beetles arrived from China inside wood packing crates, and were first discovered in maple trees in Brooklyn, N.Y, in October of 1996.
The long-horned beetle is sometimes called the "starry sky beetle" in China because of its white markings on its black body. They also have long antennae as long as their body preys on maple and fruit trees which cover most of the U.S. The trees are also very important to agriculture. The beetles live as larvae for, at the most, three years where they bore holes into trees to live in. That causes the most damage.
The beetles originated in China, Japan, and Korea lost areas of the U.S. Since the beetles are not natives to the U.S, there are no known predators in the U.S. While at the Japanese Embassy, Yamamoto Ysyoshi, information director, was asked what measures Japan takes from preventing the long-horned beetle from being imported or exported in global trade. He said that there were strict inspection policies to prevent the accidental exportation of biological invaders, such as the beetle. All long-horned beetles entered the U.S from China, not from Japan.
The long-horned beetle has caused millions of dollars in damage.
Economists predict that the beetle could damage as much as $138
billion to the U.S.'s economy if it becomes permanently established
in America; however, there are strict regulations so that if a
solid wood packing material (that is found to contain biological
invaders) arriving at a port in the U.S from China, the USDA has
the authority to deny entry. Ultimately, the only way to eradicate
the beetle is to destroy every tree where it exists.
Davi W, 8.6
There are many different problems caused by Biological Invaders.
This includes the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter and the Chinese Beetle.
The Glassy-winged sharpshooter are invading vinyards throughtout
southern California. They have spread all the way from Ventura
to the Mexican border, and were recently found in the San joaqin
Valley. This insect is not just threatening grapevines but is
also affecting crops and ornamentals. Even though this insect
is new. Pierce's disease has been around since the 1800's. Pierces,
disease is transmitted through the sharpshooter and is deadly
to grapes. The sharpshooter then spreads the bacteria through
scorch in oleander, an evergreen shrub, and almond, and variegated chorosis in citrus. Scientists believe that the Glassy-winged sharpshooter will spread throughtout the agriculture-rich San Joaqin Valley, this is threatening nearly 800,000 acres of table raisins, and wine grapes. They also believe 72 of the states vineyards will have deadly Pierces disease. This is killing many of California,s great vineyard vallies. Another herandous problem is the Asian long-horned Beetle, it eats a variety of leafy trees, but maples are it,s favorite. Years ago the United States believed that they were inside wood packing crates from China. Thousands of trees have been cut down in suburban Chicago, New York City, and Long Island to help prevent the beetle,s spread. This beetle has been detected mostly in 14 state parts. Global trade problems have gone up 50 percent since 1990.
Keely B, 8.4
THE U.S., GATT & WTO
The GATT and WTO have made a great impact on the United States' environment. The WTO was formed from the GATT. It is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade goes as smoothly as possible. The WTO is a multilateral organization. The people who make the main decisions are councils and committees which make up the entire WTO membership. There is an agreement in the WTO that states the objective of sustainable development and the need to protect and preserve the environment. This agreement allows for humans as well as animals to live in a safe and healthy habitat. Trade and environment are both important factors when it comes to policy making. These crucial factors are a big part in keeping a long term development running. The multilateral trading system has the power to expand environmental considerations and optimize its involvement in making the agreement of sustainable development. Many countries feel that the WTO is a very new issue in our society today, and it is hard to state its strengths. The goal of the this organization is to improve the welfare of the people who are effected by the WTO in many countries around the world.
The WTO was aware that in order to be successful, the organization
had to acknowledge the main concerns expressed by their efforts
to connect trade liberalization to environmental protection. Countries
should not hide behind the facade of the policies that claim they
are worthwhile to the environment. One key point the WTO is attempting
to communicate to many countries is that more trade is not always
beneficial. The most important environmental initiative that the
U.S. proposed was to improve the WTO's transparency and accountability
for people around the world. With the help of the WTO, the U.S.
will be capable of achieving this very important goal.
Yana C, 8.4
Mimi D, 8.4
Why was the GATT replaced by the WTO?
What are the Functions, Aims, Stucture, History, Accomplishments of the WTO?
The Basics of Water Conservation
Bioinvasion threatens America's Maples
Forms of Service Water Pollution
Global environmental Trends
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Aquatic Nuisance Species Feature
World Trade Organization The WTO...
Integrating Environmental Priorites Into Trade
US, Canada request study on effect of Great Lakes, bulk water exports.
GATT Trade Negotiations - Threat to Sustainable Agriculture and Development
TED Case Studies: Coca, Trade and Environment
The Sea Turtle/ Shrimp controversy
Background Information about the U.S.
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