Posts Tagged ‘water’

Change the World Wednesday – 20th Aug

watertapWater

Water has often been the subject on CTWW, it is a valuable commodity, one that we need to survive; without water any man, community or country has three days before they are dead. That makes it a tad more than important.

The first world take it for granted, you turn on the tap and cool clear water comes out; right?

Well, I have always subscribed to this theory, and even though I have spent the last 22 years in third world countries that has generally been true in urban areas aslo.

Until now.

MontezumaRunIn the last two months I have suffered two serious bouts of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Not funny. In fact, it’s enought to give you the shits.

Both bouts stretched over eight days, with terrible cramps and diarrhea.

The common denominator, drinking tap water from my kitchen tap. There is obviously a problem with my roof tank that I have to get seen to.

Now I am pretty ‘water conscious’. I conserve water (three-minute showers, etc), I save water (rain), I reuse water (grey water).

I drink sparkling mineral water in place of soft drinks (soda) and commercial fruit juice. I won’t have them in the house because they pure poison and one of the greatest causes of obesity. Here’s a thought, did you know that Zero Coke is more fattening that normal Coke?

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

To combat this problem, I have had to restort to buying my water.  I hate the thought of buying a comodity that should be free.

I have always been against buying water, unless it is sparkling mineral water.

But recently, with my own experience of swtiching to sparkling mineral water, I have begun to wonder that water may well be a healthier buy than soft drinks full of poison.

I am buying 20 litre carrafes that are returnable, rather than single serve or 1.5 litre bottles. So even with my current dire needs, I am looking out for what is best for the planet.

Hopefully, I can resolve this problem in short time.

This is an abomination!

This is an abomination!

I am, however, totally against water being bottled, trucked, shipped and flown from far flung places around the globe like Fiji Islands to satisfy the need for consumer sales.

“The natural artesian water from FIJI Water comes to you straight from the isolated and idyllic Fiji Islands without ever being touched by man.” – advertising blurb.

This commerce needs to be banned. It is an abomination. Especially when you know that Fijians from Viti Levu (the second largest of the Fiji Is) are denied this water for themselves. The source for this water is guarded by barbed wire and heavy security.

A note for Americans… Obama drinks it. So where is his commitment to water?

Now the good news. Since I have switched from soft drinks to sparkling mineral water, I have dropped 15kgs (30lbs +/-), two jeans sizes and added two new holes to my belt. So if you are serious about losing weight, stop drinking soda and commercial fruit juice!

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This week’s CTWW is a stinker thinker, Population.

This week, let’s open up the discussion on population as it affects the environment. Please leave a comment and/or write a post about your feelings on the topic. You might discuss if, in your opinion, our growing population is a concern. Perhaps talk about such things as the earth’s ability to support growing numbers of people, or if the number of children we have should be regulated (and if so, by whom). While religious considerations are often a factor in a person’s decision to have children, let’s keep this discussion environmental in nature. Let’s take an honest look at the environmental affects of population growth.

 can-of-wormsOh boy, does this open a can of worms.

The world’s escalating population has been among my thoughts for many years.

First of all we have to realise that our dirtball planet does not have infinte resources.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, we have adopted an attitude of dig & destroy. The more people there are on Earth the more we dig deeper and destroy more.

We have become a consumer society, the more people, the more we consume.

This is a big problem!

More than a year ago I read, link to source is long lost, that the planet has the resources to support a constant population of 500 million people.

But the population is not constant, it is ever increasingly growing, and currently stands a 7 billion.

Earth-iconNow, you do the math. That’s 14 times the population than the planet can support.

We are exhausting planetary resources like never before; and something’s got to give.

And, it won’t be the planet, it’ll be us!

So what’s the problem?

Births – no. Mother Nature designed life that way. She knows what she’s doing.

So don’t talk about controlling the number of births.

The problem is US!

We have medicine.

That’s the problem!

Not enough people are dying.

People are living longer, longer by many years than Mother Nature intended.

Australopithicus

Australopithicus

Let’s go back in history a little… okay, a lot.

Stone Age man, Neanderthals, Australopithicus. They didn’t live much past 20 years. In the ensuing years we have got religion, life became sacred, we learned how to improve our lot and have extended life to 70+ years. That’s 50 more years than we were designed to live. That’s 50 more years of using the planet’s resources. Each person is using 2½ times his allotted resources.

Ancient civilisations knew that populations had to be controlled. Think of the mass sacrifices of peoples like the Maya and Aztecs. Prehistory shows us that people who didn’t contribute to the tribe were eliminated; remote Eskimos still do this, “Oops, he fell in front of a polar bear.” For how much longer? We are running out of polar bears.

In our hankering for longevity/eternal life, we have created a problem. It’s a problem that has no solution. At least not with our current technology.

This planet is too small.

We need to get off it, and go somewhere else. But that’s not feasible. Only a few selected will ever get off this planet, if ever. The problem will still be here.

Can you imagine what the Earth’s population would be if we didn’t have natural disasters, man-made disasters, famines, epidemics and the like?

The numbers become absolutely staggering.

We would have made ourselves extinct years ago. We wouldn’t be here! The planet would have already exhausted itself.

Most of you, especially those who are afflicted by religion, will find some of these ideas unpalatable, but the truth is often a bitter pill; our social conditioning makes it so. We can’t see outside the box of our upbringing. As long as this is the case there is no solution and the problem just gets worse.

Sometime ago I posted a satirically glib comment. “Legalise all drugs and let natural selection take over.” Now that sounds terrible. We are intent on saving people. Maybe we need to think about that some more.

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to dig more holes in the planet, to mine more minerals; we’ll keep pumping hot house gases into the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels; we’ll continue to reduce the forests to create more pasture and farmland for crops; we’ll continue to pollute the waterways, we’ll continue to deplete and damage the oceans; we’ll continue to poison the land with chemicals from agriculture and fracking until there is nothing left.

I hear people shouting “become vegetarian, save the planet!” But the outcome is the same.

Then what?

WE are making US extinct, a long suffering extinction.

How long before we begin to fight our neighbours for, or to protect our food and water?

The social consquences for humanity are dire. We need to think outside the box, to put practicalities first and our fragile sensibilities on the back-burner, however distasteful that may seem.

I am just glad that I won’t be here to see it. In all probability, neither will you. But what legacy are we leaving our children and our children’s children? Will there, in fact, be a legacy?

Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box

I did say that this was a stinker.

Pandora’s Box has been opened, even though historically it was an urn, and the evils of the world are afoot.

Can we ever put them back?

Meanwhile, I will continue to do my little bit in the ever frustrating hope that the planet can be saved. I’m not doing it for me, my time is nearly over; but I have raised 13 of the next generation, and they have started with seven of the next and one of them is ripe to begin the next.

I shudder to think. Will their choices be even more difficult? While I am talking about letting people die naturally which is repugnant; will they be talking about culling?

The horrors are unimaginable.

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Nature Ramble

Another different ramble today, in fact it’s not a ramble at all, so just sit back and learn something about Africa, us and famine.

A long film, 1½ hours, but sit it out.

This documentary will change many of your preconceptions about man and the world.

I found this documentary while looking for information on Okavango Delta in Botswana one of the few inland river deltas in the world.

“The 1986 African environmental documentary of filmmaker Rick Lomba, who was tragically killed while filming the rescue operation at the Luanda Zoo in 1994. The message is as relevant today as it was at the time.”YouTube blurb

The End of Eden

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Monday Moaning

My Monday Moaning has been interrupted by the loss of things to moan about with my recent PC troubles.

So, I am going to take a slightyly different tack today and have a good moan by reblogging George Monbiot’s article about the economy and our need material possessions that will be our undoing.

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It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up

It’s the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity’s undoing

‘The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.’ Photograph: Alamy

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems. It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues miraculously vanished, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained. But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, with the accessible reserves exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the west Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable, the Ecuadorean government decided to allow oil drilling in the heart of the Yasuni national park. It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as either blackmail or fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich. Why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills, will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America.

Yasuni national park. Murray Cooper/Minden Pictures/Corbis

Yasuni national park. Murray Cooper/Minden Pictures/Corbis

The UK oil firm Soco is now hoping to penetrate Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo; one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorilla and the okapi, of chimpanzees and forest elephants. In Britain, where a possible 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil has just been identified in the south-east, the government fantasises about turning the leafy suburbs into a new Niger delta. To this end it’s changing the trespass laws to enable drilling without consent and offering lavish bribes to local people. These new reserves solve nothing. They do not end our hunger for resources; they exacerbate it.

The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious, will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble.

Some people try to solve the impossible equation with the myth of dematerialisation: the claim that as processes become more efficient and gadgets are miniaturised, we use, in aggregate, fewer materials. There is no sign that this is happening. Iron ore production has risen 180% in 10 years. The trade body Forest Industries tells us that “global paper consumption is at a record high level and it will continue to grow”. If, in the digital age, we won’t reduce even our consumption of paper, what hope is there for other commodities?

Look at the lives of the super-rich, who set the pace for global consumption. Are their yachts getting smaller? Their houses? Their artworks? Their purchase of rare woods, rare fish, rare stone? Those with the means buy ever bigger houses to store the growing stash of stuff they will not live long enough to use. By unremarked accretions, ever more of the surface of the planet is used to extract, manufacture and store things we don’t need. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that fantasies about colonising space – which tell us we can export our problems instead of solving them – have resurfaced.

As the philosopher Michael Rowan points out, the inevitabilities of compound growth mean that if last year’s predicted global growth rate for 2014 (3.1%) is sustained, even if we miraculously reduced the consumption of raw materials by 90%, we delay the inevitable by just 75 years. Efficiency solves nothing while growth continues.

The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth’s living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result, they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st century’s great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.

Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn’t worthy of mention. That’s how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.

Source: The Guardian

Opinion:

Once again, the inescapable fact, we are the authors of our own demise.

We must change the paradigm, not only change it, but halt the current in it’s tracks. Our whole thinking about the human race needs to be rethought.

The 1% that are driving this insanity have to be stopped, brought to heel. But that is an insane idea, the money-hungry meglomanics will never stop.

Seriously, there is a need for a global  ‘French Revolution.’

 

Another warning

Casanare drought raises Colombia climate fears

Colombian cattleman Daniel Cuadra: “I don’t know what the future holds, but we need to prepare ourselves because next year could be worse.”

The rotting corpses of dead cows and wild capybaras line the road that leads from Paz de Ariporo to Hato Las Taparas in the Colombian province of Casanare.

At least 20,000 animals, including wild pigs, deer, small crocodiles and tortoises have died of thirst during a catastrophic dry season in this central region.

And many fear this year’s drought is only heralding a future of increasingly harsh summers and even more severe water shortages in Colombia’s plains.

Dry as bone

“Here we have two very distinct seasons: a dry season and a rainy season,” explains Angely Rodriguez who overseas agricultural and environmental affairs in Paz de Ariporo.

“In a couple of months, it will be raining so much, all this will be like a mirror, completely flooded.”

But that will be of little consolation to farmers whose livestock has been decimated.

Ms Rodriguez says dry spells – which usually last from December to April – are nothing new for the inhabitants of Casanare, but “never before during the dry season did we have such a lack of water”.

As we drive across the yellow plains, all we seem to come across are tanker lorries.

Some are carrying water to replenish ponds, marshes and other natural drinking sources as part of efforts by the authorities to alleviate the suffering of wildlife and cattle.

Water is being delivered to some of the worst hit areas to replenish ponds, but many of the lorries carry oil

But the large majority carry oil extracted from under the soil of these plains.

Ms Rodriguez thinks the recent boom in oil exploration and extraction in the area is to blame for the water scarcity in the summer months. “We’ve seen water sources that used to last all summer run completely dry,” she tells the BBC.

“We’re aware global climate change is part of the problem. But we also need to look into the consequences of seismic exploration and how much water the oil industry is extracting,” she says, as we drive past a flock of vultures feasting on another dead cow.

‘Too simplistic’

Like Ms Rodriguez, many worry about the consequences of seismic reflection – an exploration method that uses small controlled explosions to create an image similar to a sonogram to help locate new oil deposits.

Many in Colombia fear that this method affects water sources, and dismiss oil industry studies which suggest the contrary.

Read more

Read more

Change the World Wednesday – 23rd Apr

Update

A month ago in my Monday Moaning I wrote of the plight of São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city.

They didn’t have water. The reservoirs that supply the city were down around the 30% mark.

Jaguari Dam - Responsible for 45% of Saõ Paulo's water

Jaguari Dam – Responsible for 45% of Saõ Paulo’s water – image: Diario Central

A month later and the plight has become critical, the reservoirs have fallen to 11.9% of their capacity (last night’s news).

Now literally, they don’t have water.

The water company is pleading with people to save water, substantial discounts are being offered to those who reduce their usage by 20% from their previous average, those who use more than their previous average will be fined heavily.

Don’t say, “But that can’t happen here!” Because it is happening! NOW!

In some areas of the world the water situation has become serious, it’s up to you to see it doesn’t get worse.

Back to our regular programme…

The problem with rabbit food is that one good fart and I'm hungry again

The problem with rabbit food is that one good fart and I’m hungry again

The BIG question!

Did I go vegan for a day? The answer is no… I did two days. Nothing fancy, just simple salads and a home made garlic and herb vinaigrette.

I did it this time just to show you I could, normally I don’t plan them, they just happen, and normally they are more vegetarian than vegan; I do like eggs and cheese with my salad.

In my perambulations for last week’s post, I did fine this. Grateable and meltable vegan cheese on Bunny Kitchen. Just thought I’d say.

Without this fellow and his ilk, there wouldn't be life on the planet

Without this fellow and his ilk, there wouldn’t be life on the planet

 Bees…

Yes, this week’s CTWW is about bees.

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We’ve all heard that Bee populations are declining. Since bees pollinate the majority of our food crops, worldwide, their decline is a cause for great concern. Why are they in trouble? Research points to GMO agriculture and the use of pesticides. It’s time to take action! Here’s your challenge …

This week, take action to protect honey bees. Please choose at least one action from the following list:

  • Plant at least one native, flowering plant in your yard. Avoid hybrid plants … they don’t produce enough nectar or pollen and are useless to bees and other pollinators.
  • Plant a vegetable garden.
  • Let pests live (natural pest controllers, like Lady Bugs, need them for food).
  • Keep your lawn and garden pesticide-free.
  • Eliminate chemicals in your home.
  • Provide a year-round, clean source of water for bees (rainwater collection, a small garden water feature, bird bath, etc.).
  • Leave some dead trees or plants in your yard … bees will nest in them. Or, place a bee house in your garden.
  • Buy organic food.
  • Take up beekeeping.

Well, let’s see how I stack up with that lot.

Attracts big black bees in the late afternoon. Honey bees are too small to pollinate these

Attracts big black bees in the late afternoon. Honey bees are too small to pollinate these

My most prolific flower is the passion fruit; I currently have three that I am training along the house, fence and garage, and more in the plantling stage, three in the ground and about twenty saplings in a planter as standbys.

I have a few tomatoes and garlic around, mainly I have herbs and fruit.

The gulf fritillery caterpillars must be destroyed, or they eat the passion fruit vines to death. Other than that, insects are free to roam.

My lawn is pesticide free, in fact, my lawn is lawn free… I don’t have one.

We talked about harmful chemicals a couple of weeks ago. I am experimenting with orange and vinegar air freshener so that I have one less chemical.

Aedes aegypti plays Dengue once, dengue twice you're dead

Aedes aegypti plays Dengue once you’re sick, dengue twice you’re dead

Now the water feature here is a no – no.

Standing water is used by the Aedes aegypti mosquito to produce larvae, Aedes aegypti is the source of dengue fever, which is deadly, and seriously prolific here in many city areas.

Yes, lots of dead material around here, but not enough for natural beehives.

Buy organic, when I can.

Oh, the neighbours would be up in arms if I did that. My area is urban, the houses very close together. The authorities would pounce with a heavy pounce.

Well, there’s my summary.

Make you Fink on Friday

Why You Should Never Drink Bottled Water

#1 The Beginning of the Insanity

Imagine there was a time when bottled water didn’t exist in our catalog of popular commodities. Perhaps the trend started in 1976 when the chic French sparkling water, Perrier made its introduction. There it was seductively bottled in its emerald green glass amongst the era of disco and the spectacle of excesses . . . who could resist right?!

What could be more decadent than to package, sell and consume what most consider (in the western world) a common human right easily supplied through a home faucet! It wasn’t until the 1990s when bottled H2O became an everyday common sight and a symbol of our cultural desire towards fitness and “health-consciousness”. Even today health enthusiasts claim drinking water often helps to “detox and boost the metabolism!”

There have been controversies about chemicals leeching into the water from the soft plastic material of bottles, but the FDA determined the containers “do not pose a health risk to consumers.” IBISWorld reports that the “U.S. is the largest consumer for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil”.

#2 The Bottled Water Scheme

Regular drinking water competes with itself in a bottle, but reviewing the cost difference, you’ve got to wonder why or how? As for the water piped into your home or work place, it costs less than one penny per gallon! Fairfax Water organization, (FCWA) states, “The average price of water in the U.S. is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons.”

Let’s look at your favorite 20 oz. bottled H2O, it will run you up to $3 per bottle at the corner convenience store and up to $4 at a posh restaurant or nightclub. If you buy bulk at Costo or other markets, the price averages are .31 cents per bottle, but that still remains enormously expensive when compared to tap water. Granted many don’t like tap water quality, but modern technology allows for an array of water filters.

In the mid-1990s, soda companies found that the niche market for bottled water could be huge, why not? The profits were obvious! Pepsi and Coca-Cola jumped into a race with their brands Aquafina and Dasani; they led the way to making bottled water what it is today.

Read more, starting here.

Opinion:

Clearly one of the biggest cons perpetrated on the Western World.

I live in a third world country and I still drink tap water.

Monday Moaning

One of the biggest eco-problems of today is the city.

The bigger the city the bigger the problem.

Apart from cities being so badly designed that you need a car or public transport to get around, there is a greater problem.

São Paulo in Brazil is a city of some 20 million. That number of people require two basic things water and power.

At the moment São Paulo is lacking the former, and heading for problems with the latter.

Why?

The city relies on the large catchment area of the state for water and hydroelectric power. Currently, the catchment area has a big problem, drought. The dams and reservoirs are only at a fraction of their capacity. Most down to 30% and some even down to 16% because of the lack of rain.

Where has the rain gone?

No, we are not talking global warming here, but rather the mass of concrete that is used in a city of this size. It has altered the heat rising properties, stealing the clouds from the catchment area so the rain falls over the city, creating a further problem, flooding.

There is a real probability that São Paulo will have water rationing and planned power cuts in the very near future.

The sheer size of the city is creating their own problems.

sao-paulo2

São Paulo is a huge city

We need to halt the ever expanding city. Better still, we need to dismantle the cities in favour of returning to a rural self-sufficient lifestyle.

If we don’t, we are creating more problems.

 

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