前副總統呂秀蓮，今 (24) 天應邀至台南成功大學，參加台灣地球觀測學會 (TGEO) 所主辦之國際會議，並發表致詞演說。
President Hwung Hwung-Hweng(黃煌煇) of National Cheng Kung University, President Liou Yuei-An(劉說安) of TGEO, Chairman Wu Ming-Chee(吳銘志), distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman:
Good morning! I would like to thank National Cheng Kung University and Taiwan Group on Earth Observations for organizing the International Conference on Earth Observations and Societal Impacts 2013. I would like to welcome the distinguished scholars and experts coming from abroad to share your knowledge and wisdom with us. The nine issues to be discussed today including disasters, health, energy, climate, water, weather, ecosystems, agriculture, and biodiversity are important and urgent. Regretfully, the significance of these issues have been ignored for so long.
This conference unleashes the creative power of the best scholars, researchers and students and assists the entrepreneurs and the government to build a better world. By monitoring natural disasters, it helps minimize the loss of catastrophes. By promoting the idea of applying green energy, it helps reduce dangerous emissions and global warming. By developing eco-friendly technology, it helps raise the sanitation and living standards without polluting the environment. The success of today’s conference is a benefit not only for Taiwan but also for the world.
The 21st century is deemed to be a century of natural disasters. A report from German Watch indicates that between 1991 and 2010, 710 thousand people died from over 14,000 extreme climate damages globally, causing total losses equivalent to 2.3 trillion US dollars. In Asia Pacific, may I remind you that, according to UN’s report, 70% of the world’s major natural disasters have occurred in the region, and opportunities of suffering from natural disasters are 4 times more than in Africa, and 25 times more than in America and Europe!
Taiwan is a mountainous country, 70 percent covered by mountains, and located in zones where typhoons and earthquakes frequently occur. In the past half a century, we have over-built and over-developed, and landslides and mudslides are more frequent and extreme, natural and human-caused disasters more prevalent. The World Bank’s 2005 “Natural Disaster Hotspots” indicated that, 73% of Taiwan is exposed to at least 3 natural disasters. Natural disasters have deprived numerous lives and inestimable economic loss every year in Taiwan.
Moreover, we have three aging nuclear power plants plus the fourth one under construction. Taiwan is so tiny an island yet is the second most densely populated country on earth. According to The Wall Street Journal, “four Nuke Power Plants in Taiwan are all listed in the most dangerous fourteen ones on the world.” That’s why a campaign has been launching to block our fourth nuclear plant from operation. “Nuclear-Free Homeland” is the only choice for Taiwan’s sustainable development.
We humankind always boast that we are the smartest animals on earth. But don’t forget that humankind cannot survive without the earth and yet the earth can survive without humankind. In fact, according to biologists, ants are more important than humankind for the existence of the earth. Ants penetrate soil and help soil ventilate. They also help spread pollen of plants. Humankind cultivates the land but they also exploit and destroy the great nature.
The Old Testament told us that, God created Adam and Eve and let them live in the Garden of Eden. Thousands years later their offspring grow up to 7 billion but the only Garden of Eden remains the same. Humankind has no other place to live but on earth.
Don’t forget that there had been 5 Great Extinctions to destroy the earth throughout the last 500 million years. These records remind us that currently we are in the mid-term of the 6thGreat Extinction. In recent years, spices on earth have been extinguished in an incredible speed.
In recent years, I have been promoting a philosophy of “Four Balanced Interests of Value,” which I would like to share with you:
1. The value of life.
2. The standard of livelihood.
3. The quality of environment.
4. The benefit of industrial investment.
I firmly believe that there is no justification to pursue industrial benefit at the cost of people’s lives or living standard or the environment. Without life, nothing is left; without earth, no life can exist. Life prevails over everything and anything! For the better life of human kinds, we definitely need a better earth.