Environmental Appeals to Clinton

THREE prestigious environmental organizations have issued, in recent weeks, statements clearly aimed at getting the Clinton administration's attention.

They have the advantage of having a prominent colleague in the new administration, Vice President-elect Albert Gore. But their appeal extends far beyond Washington.

The Worldwatch Institute's 239-page book, "Last Oasis, Facing Water Scarcity" is the most comprehensive and urgent statement. It warns that "in many parts of the world, water use is nearing the limits of natural systems; in some areas, those limits have already been surpassed. A number of areas could enter a period of chronic shortages during this decade, including much of Africa, northern China, pockets of India, Mexico, the Middle East, and parts of western North America."

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The Report of the National Commission on the [US] Environment is more modest in size (20 pages), but it packs a wallop too. Titled "Choosing a Sustainable Future," it strongly promotes "the concept of sustainable development" and says that by the close of this century there must be a new synthesis of economic development and environmental protection. The commission concludes that "the most efficient way to achieve environmental progress ... is to harness market forces" and make the marketplace work for i nstead of against environmental protection.

The third publication is a modest, 12-page pamphlet produced by a group of 30 experts who were brought together by the Natural Resources Law Center of the University of Colorado. The "Long's Peak Working Group" aimed its recommendations directly at the Clinton administration.

It cited four objectives for "sustainable water use" - water-use efficiency and conservation, ecological integrity and restoration, clean water, and equity and participation in decisionmaking.

These publications provide clear guidelines for meeting the environmental challenge, and the articles in today's Monitor (Pages 8-13) document how thousands of Americans are joining what Mr. Gore terms "the fastest-growing political movement in the country and the world."

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