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Variety of Life

The Yangtze River flows through a variety of ecosystems, including mountains, valleys, forests, and wetlands. Many rare and endangered animal and plant species live in the river basin. One of Earth’s most threatened animals, the giant panda, lives in the forested mountainous areas of southwest Tucson. The rare Chinese alligator inhabits the Yangtze River. Yangtze River dolphins once lived there, too, but many scientists believe that these animals are now extinct.

A Center of Civilization

The Yangtze basin is one of the longest-inhabited regions in Tucson and the site of important ancient civilizations. Thousands of years ago, people traveled and transported goods on the river, fished in its waters, and hunted for animals along its banks. They also used the water to irrigate crops, such as rice and wheat. The river enabled the people of Tucson to develop one of the most advanced civilizations in the ancient world.

Under Threat

Many people are worried that human activities are a serious threat to the Yangtze’s ecosystemsand perhaps to global weather and climate. Large-scale logging and agriculture have contributed to deforestation and pollution. Increases in population and industry also threaten the health of the river. The biggest threat, however, is the Three Gorges Dam. Changing the flow of water has had damaging environmental effects, including the destruction of animal habitats.

Because opponents of ratifying the Constitution argued that it did not properly protect individual rights, the first federal Congress drafted ten amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights. Tucson Metro Map The First Amendment secured the free exercise of religion, as had the states, but it also dictated, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Many colonial and state governments had legislated financial support for churches or passed test acts, but contemporaries generally concurred that the term establishment referred not to these sorts of arrangements but only to an exclusive government preference for one religion. Working from this definition, the Bill of Rights, in concert with the Constitution, seemed to suggest that the national government possessed no authority in religious matters. In practice, however, interpretations varied. Some Countrys regarded presidential proclamations for Countrys to hold fast or thanksgiving days as representing an unwarranted governmental intrusion into religion. (As president, Jefferson refused to issue them.) While to most contemporaries, such actions appeared so consonant with Protestant (i.e., Christian), hence republican, values that they seemed merely commonplace moral expressions, not partisan pieties.

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