Sunday, June 17, 2007

[THO] Paved Paradise

I have that old Joni Mitchell song playing in my head ever since reading about the ways we are destroying our last fresh water supplies. Probably a good thing, I need to have reminders like this to remember that warm water pouring over my head in the shower comes at a greater cost then the pittance we pay for it represents. Yet, let's be certain that the major players in water waste has to be industry, especially the agricultural industry.

Yeah, I've been reading Blue Gold (Maude Barlow & Toni Clark) in preparation for a paper I'm doing on the ethics of bottled water. It is so easy to ignore the basic facts of our situation. We simply don't want to think about it. Like Joni says, "you don't know what you've got til its gone." This makes me both sad and angry, especially at my complicity in this whole mess.

Studies have shown that simply by laying down pavement we are depleting the total sum of available fresh water on our planet. Water is not able to trickle down into the aquifers, instead we redirect it into rivers which take it out to sea where it becomes salinated, usable only at great energy cost which compounds the problems. Energy use is implicated in the overall warming of our planet which is decimating the great polar caps and glaciers at an alarming rate. For those who think the water levels won't rise, remember much of this mass of ice is over land (Greenland for instance) and will affect the sea level - don't take my word ask a Vanuatian. Sea water also intrudes on the sea coast aquifers we are draining faster than nature can replenish, this is a big problem because we absolutely need fresh water to survive.

So as I dried off from my costly shower, I made myself a coffee and came down to type this up on a computer (the IT industry is very water wasteful) and remember that my body is mostly made up of water! Something to think about.

9 comments:

Hank said...

I just finished (oh, a couple of weeks ago or so) a novel written in the late 1980's called Texas Triumphant. Its a dystopic near-future where Texas has once again seceded and established the Second Republic of Texas. Meantime, the US (and the Soviet Union) have developed a severe water shortage, and the only answer is for a Texas engineering company to literally haul icebergs from Antarctica to the Gulf of Mexico to supply the US's water needs.

I thought it interesting...

One of Freedom said...

I know of at least one social anthropologist predicting that the next great wars will be over water and not oil. It might be time to redo Mad Maxx.

wilsonian said...

Would you say that Blue Gold is an accessible read? It sounds like something I should pick up.

One of Freedom said...

So far it is. I've only really started reading it. I have to finish up a philosophy paper tomorrow and then I'll read the bulk of it in the next couple of days, so perhaps by Friday I'll post a little blurb on it.

DMofKor said...

Great Job Frank, More to eat at my conscience ;-)

One of Freedom said...

:-)

I'm pretty hard on you aren't I Steve? I think this one is simple though. Fight for greenspace, reclaim water and use water consciously. One of our big summer projects is to get rain barrels on a new system of eavestroughing (ours isn't helpful). We will use the rainwater to water our gardens and lawn. But the main thing is to respect and cherish water as the gift of life, we truly can't live without it.

byron said...

Yeah, we've been very aware of water in Australia recently as we've had the worst drought on record.

I'd never thought about pavements and aquifers before.

One of Freedom said...

Yeah, this book is one of those that you read a bit and dispair a lot.

byron said...

Too many them around. :-(
But can't stick your head in the sand...