In the not too distant future it is predicted that wars will be over basic natural resources such as water. In these fascinating articles we are reminded how we continue to abuse this vital resource and ignore the impact of our behaviour on its supply and quality.
“It’s less about the numbers – it’s more about the way we live’. Stephen Emmett 2013
Hear scientist Stephen Emmett, Microsoft Lab, Cambridge, discuss the critical factors in our self-destruction with other notables on this BBC Radio 4 programme. We are the drivers of climate change, water stress, land degradation, lack of biodiversity and food shortages. Despite birth rates falling globally in the last forty years there are more people alive – ten billion predicted for the turn of the century. How will we live?
Please listen to this incredible TED talk by Allan Savory. He explains how our land is turning to desert across the world and how this can be reversed and have an impact of climate change, famine, war and suffering.
A truly inspirational film.
What are we doing still using drinking-quality water to flush our toilets?
As the powerful water masters meet in Bonn, Germany this week we hope water conservation and sensible usage gets an airing on the agenda. Only 2.5% is freshwater on our planet so its a precious resource we should protect. Scaremongering of water-wars in the future is not so stupid when you study the facts. This article makes interesting reading.
Photograph – I took this shot of Lake Windermere in March 2013. Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. I am currently working on a commission from Friends of the Lake District with the theme of water pollution. http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/170623/windermere_catchment_restoration_programme_leaflet.pdf
A small collection of sculptures will be created from the salvaged debris collected on a mass dive to the Lake depths.
“We are embedded in our trash – there is no way to leap beyond it and build a utopia without garbage, to address the contradiction between the world’s limited resources and our seemingly unlimited ability to manufacture trash. Its production is rooted in survival, represented in every culture, and magnified by economic success. To purge the earth of garbage would be to destroy our own reflection.”
Quote from ‘Trash’ 2007 Alphabet City Media Inc
On Saturday I joined 270 divers on Lake Windermere for a special salvage dive to remove detritus from the lake bed. The wonderful spring day meant excellent conditions for extracting rubbish from the silt. The charity organisation ‘Friends of the Lake District’ had organised the dive to highlight the problem that waste causes to aquatic ecosystems.
It had not occurred to me before what happens to all the pharmaceuticals we ingest and then excrete – now scientists have shown that some drugs can affect the temperament of marine life. An article in Science journal has reported that the water treatment process does not extract chemicals such as those found in contraceptive pills, (known as 17-β-estradiol), and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (Prozac) nor those found in the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen. The extraction of the medicines is regarded as too costly and one that would generate a large carbon footprint. But scientists are concerned that even though the impact is not lethal it does have a marked affect on the ecosystems and should be addressed.
To read more about this fascinating subject http://www.nature.com/news/anti-anxiety-drug-found-in-rivers-makes-fish-more-aggressive-1.12434
The news that out our sea level is rising is not news but the increased speed of it is – the rise of 20 cms in 100 years is about twice the predicted amount. Whether the increase remains at that rate or increases is probably a mixture of what we decide to do and what impacts we have on the planet that are yet unknown.
If you want to find out more this article is worth reading.
West Antarctica is warming almost twice as fast as previously believed, adding to worries of a thaw that would add to sea level rise from San Francisco to Shanghai, a study showed on Sunday.
Annual average temperatures at the Byrd research station in West Antarctica had risen 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3F) since the 1950s, one of the fastest gains on the planet and three times the global average in a changing climate, it said.
The unexpectedly big increase adds to fears the ice sheet is vulnerable to thawing. West Antarctica holds enough ice to raise world sea levels by at least 3.3 metres (11 feet) if it ever all melted, a process that would take centuries.
“The western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought,” Ohio State University said in a statement of the study led by its geography professor David Bromwich.
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Please read this article in the Guardian and remind yourself just how frightening brutal and short-sighted we are in respect to our planet and all that inhabit it.
A loud wake-up call to everyone at the dawn of 2013 – but will we ever change?