You pride yourselves on your creativity, by which you set yourselves above the rest of creation. Yet you alone of all creatures destroy more than you create.
What impact have humans had on the environment, and what legacy are we leaving for future generations?
This child was born with severe mental retardation and birth defects from being exposed to pesticides before he was born.
Doctors say Juan Carlos Picado, 23, was severely affected by toxic pesticides used on banana plantations in Nicaraugua before he was born. He cannot walk, talk, feed or bathe himself, and his days are spent propped up in a chair. (Photo by Oswaldo Rivas, via San Francisco Chronicle)
These fish died when their habitat was contaminated by pesticide runoff.
Over 400 pelicans died in Apopka, Florida, as a result of DDT infiltration of the environment. Some of the pelicans literally fell from the sky and died after suffering exposure to DDT.
Scientists estimate some 60,000 people die each year in the United States alone from the effects of smog.In 1991, a London smog episode was linked to 160 deaths in just four days.
Each year diesel engines in the United States alone spew out 246,000 tons of soot containing over 40 different possible, probable or known carcinogens, and 2.2 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, causing 125,000 cases of lung cancer, plus other potentially deadly respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Heavy equipment is used to move soil in the pit at the Zortman gold mine near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. The area, known as Spirit Mountain, was once the most sacred site of the Gros Ventre tribe, who long ago made it the burial ground of spiritual leaders and a place for sun dances. It was the best place to find deer, bighorn sheep, herbs and natural medicines. It was also the most dependable source of pure water for the reservation.
But no more - over a 20 year period, more than 200 million tons of waste ore and rock were torn from the mountain in the largest cyanide-leach mine in the world. The pristine water of Spirit Mountain is now heavily contaminated, as it was tainted with cyanide and heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and cadmium.
Satellite images of roads and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest surrounding the Rondonia Development Project in Western Brazil in the 1970's. Dense vegetation appears in red. The same region 20 years later. Much of the cleared land is now abandoned or under-used grazing land due to soil exhaustion.