The study Peter refers to finding that 46 percent of the planets land area is still wilderness is extremely significant, because it comes from Conservational International, which is a heavyweight global player on environmental matters. And because they focus (mostly) on practical conservation projects rather than preaching to us about our green sin, they are going to anger the World Wildlife Fund and other alarmist groups who are always banging the drum for the green apocalypse. The fact that "only" 7 percent of this land is permanently preserved should not be taken as bad news at all; 7 percent is a HUGE amount of land. Moreover, some of the best environmental scientists think that about 80 percent of all endangered species could be perserved if we work on preserving just 20 important "hot spots" around the world, which would only require preserving a small additional percentage of wilderness area. The CI study shows that we have a lot to choose from, and more latitude than we think. This means the mass extinction crisis is effectively over.
While the news keeps getting better on the environment, look for the rhetoric from Democrats to get much worse. Polls right now show that the environment is the issue where Democrats enjoy their largest advantage over Republicans with voters. So expect Dems and their lackey environmental groups to crank up the volume full blast. Dick Morris is advising Dems to do this, and argues that Gore have won in 2000 if he had pushed the environment harder. This is more than doubtful; it is wrong. I have a piece coming out shortly from AEI that will analyze this issue, showing how the environment is not helping Democrats much, and may well have hurt them badly in some places. Ill link it when it is out.