The Price Of Progress, Elephant Population Decline, and Other News Items

This installment of an ongoing shorts news items feature considers the price of progress in lost quality of life and the decline in world elephant populations, among other stories.

| September/October 1979

The following news items were drawn from multiple sources. 

The Price of "Progress"

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warns that the Western world is getting noisier and dirtier ... agricultural land is decreasing ... wildlife species are dwindling ... and drinking water contains more chemicals than ever before.

Elephant Population Decline

A recent report to the World Wildlife Fund says that elephant populations in the world's two biggest pachyderm habitats—India and East Africa—are half as large as they were five years ago. The Asiatic beasts number between 27,000 and 40,000, while only 65,000 to 75,000 of the African species are known to exist. The trend is similar in the 30 other countries where the big mammals are found.

Newfoundland Homesteading

Newfoundland has a new settlement program under which people will be able to homestead. The province is the last area in Canada where such a thing is possible. Contact the Department of Natural Resources, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada for further information.

Vertical Casket

A patent for a "revolutionary" new casket, which allows for a vertical—as well as a horizontal—burial, was granted to VBCB, Inc. of Salem, Oregon. We can see this as another reflection of how crowded our planet has become.

Tax Racket

Common Cause points out that, in 1976, an average family of four was billed at least $2,021 in federal income taxes ... that's $2,021 more than Texas Gulf (which earned a mere $100 million that year) paid. In fact, U.S. Steel, Chase Manhattan, American Airlines, Pacific Gas & Electric, and 12 other top companies—through perfectly "legal" means—didn't pay a cent in income taxes that year!

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