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Special Reports on  " Environmental Science"

      Click on a title below to access the article in this Special Report.

Special Report

Our Global Commons

The oceans and atmosphere are our common global heritage, but how do we ensure they are used responsibly? THE WORLD & I examines the environmental and political issues and explores the impact of sea and sky on the human imagination.

The global commons has traditionally been defined as "those parts of the planet that fall outside national jurisdictions." Identified as such are the oceans, the atmosphere, outer space, and Antarctica. These areas are owned by no single nation and have been viewed as "the common heritage of humankind." That is, they are available for use by anyone as long as that use does not adversely affect the potential use by others. But no one has the responsibility or authority to police the actions of others. Thus, global commons face the management problems that commons face at all levels, from local to national to regional: Because they belong to no single nation, they run the risk of not being protected by any nation. The risk of ruining the commons runs high if no one is concerned about the long-term sustainability of the commons. ...

The Global Challenge
Circulating freely around the planet, the atmosphere and oceans are shared resources whose resiliency is being tested by ever-growing human demands. ...

The Developed versus the Developing
Environmental problems require international cooperation for solutions. ...

Boundaries of Interest
Do the benefits of international commerce outweigh the costs? ...

Keys to Global Climate
How do the oceans and the atmosphere govern our climate, now and in the future? ...

Reading the Sea and Sky
Literature opens to us both the sublime terrors of primal spaces and the human drive to master them. ...

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