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ENVIRONMENT REPORT - October 26, 2001: Wellbeing of Nations Study - 2001-10-25

This is the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

A new report about the condition of the population and the environment around the world was released earlier this month in Washington, D.C. The report is called the Wellbeing of Nations. It examines how nations deal with both human and environmental health.

The report was written by Robert Prescott-Allen of Victoria, Canada. It says that thirty-seven countries are close to establishing a good balance between a healthy population and a healthy environment. However, it says these thirty-seven countries must greatly improve their environmental efforts to successfully reach that balance.

Several methods are commonly used to measure human progress. The Gross Domestic Product and the Index of Leading Economic Indicators are two of the best known examples. Yet most of the widely used methods only measure economic activity.

The Wellbeing of Nations study is a larger measure of the health of countries. It examined one-hundred-eighty countries using the Wellbeing Assessment method. This method was developed by Mister Prescott-Allen with the support of the World Conservation Union and the International Development Research Center in Canada.

This method measures people and the environment equally. It measures the health, education and wealth of countries. It also examines the condition of land, air, water, plants and animals. The findings help give a clearer picture of the condition of our world.

Using these measures, the study found that four-thousand-million people live in countries with poor human development. Fewer than one-thousand-million people live in countries with a fair or good level of living.

The Wellbeing of Nations study found that five countries measured the highest. They are Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Austria. The study found that more than one-hundred-forty nations, including the top countries, damage the environment in an effort to live well. The poorest countries, however, make the least demands on the environment.

The Wellbeing of Nations report suggests that it is possible to live well without ruining the environment. It says this can be done by changing the methods of development in an effort to protect the environment.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk.