It all began, Confucius tells us, when a Chinese empress accidentally dropped a silkworm moth cocoon into her cup of tea in 2640 BC and discovered that a fine fibre could be unreeled from it. And China monopolized the trade in silk by keeping its method of production – from caterpillars fed on mulberry leaves – a secret from the rest of the world. Anyone caught smuggling eggs, worms or cocoons faced the death penalty, and the crucial knowledge only reached Europe in around 550 AD. Silk from mulberry trees still dominates the market, but many other species of silkworm are gathered from forests. In Madagascar, for example, the Malagasy silkworm feeds on the primary tapia forests (Uapaca bojeri) of the Amoron’I Mani highland region; only 50,000 hectares remain, however, and even this is under threat from logging, bush fires and invading pine trees.
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Healthy people in a healthy environment
Good health and well-being require a clean and harmonious environment where physical, psycho - logical, social and aesthetic factors are all given their due importance. These factors are affected by actions and choices which can secure considerable health benefits. The environment is thus not only important for its own sake, but as a resource for better living conditions and well-being.
- What we’ve agreed: the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Millennium Development Goals
- Green savings
- What young people want
- Water – the key to life
- The air we breathe
- Safer, quieter towns and cities of the future – reclaiming the streets
- Active, healthy lifestyles
- Making energy sustainable
- On the safe side
- Listen to our voices – the Bandung Declaration
Have your say!
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