When it comes to climate change and the ocean, we often think of the impacts to water temperature, sea level rise and coastal storms. However, Dr. Chris Gobler of Stony Brook University calls ocean acidification a "game-changer in the way we think about how climate change can affect the functioning of our oceans."
The chemicals in your hand soap and deodorant have been tested and proven safe, right? Probably not. Regulation of such industrial chemicals falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act, which asks little of companies and puts safety testing requirements on the overstretched EPA. Having tested only a tiny fraction of the 85,000 (that's right) industrial chemicals in use today, maybe it's time for a Control Act update considering it hasn't been touched since its 1970s-era adoption. Whadya think? [NY Times]
US grain supplies are drying up as the intense drought in the US heartland continues. This is bad news for food prices since low grain reserves drive up the cost of bread, meat and milk, with low-income people and developing countries especially vulnerable. [Circle of Blue]
In the United States we are blessed to have fresh water that meets many of our needs. If we want to continue to enjoy all the benefits of that water, we have no choice but to take steps to protect and properly treat it. Otherwise we can keep our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to fix the problem. But hey, there's water on the moon, right? I'll start packing.
Certainly, increasing rates is appropriate in communities where they have been set too low, but clean, clear water is so essential to public health and well being that it warrants public funding. Proposals to accomplish that, such as the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act, deserve close scrutiny and support.
Once people have access to a well and a toilet their lives improve drastically, especially so for women. In Malawi women and girls are typically responsible for bringing water to the household, a task that can sometimes take an hour per trip, for as many as 10 trips each day. Many women make these trips in the dark and are subject to sexual harassment and rape. They typically spend so much time finding water that many women are unable to spend much time with their families and as they grow older, many girls no longer have time to go to school.
A conflict in New Mexico is shaping up as a pitched battle between industrial dairy's desire to avoid regulation and the public's right to clean, safe drinking water. According to the state environment department, at least two-thirds of the groundwater underneath or adjacent to New Mexico's dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) has been poisoned by nitrates.
There may always be water flowing in California, but "normal" is definitely in flux and we can’t control the weather. Before we construct massive new water delivery systems that encourage waste and consume large amounts of energy, perhaps we should consider adjusting our expectations about what can realistically be grown, when and where.