It may seem a long way by any scale from an African village or a Jordanian refugee camp to the ocean. The distance can be measured geographically, of course, but it can also be measured economically and socially by separation between our understanding of the problem and its solution.
All are the creation of Xavier Cortada, artist in residence at Florida International University, whose work is inspired by
The present drought in California is a highly visible realization of our lack of water awareness and its destructive undermining of the financial structure and social organization we have built. If we fail in California, how can we succeed anywhere else?
To solve the freshwater problem that is now evident around the globe, we must first understand how much water is actually available, how much we use, to what purpose, using what system, in what condition, and with what realistic capacity given rapid climate change and its visible and continuing catastrophic effect.
As we consider water as the new paradigm, we probably should begin not at the top of the user pyramid, but at the bottom, with a better calculation of our own water footprint, a measure of the amount used to produce each of the goods and services we use, directly and indirectly.
Your businesses have clout. I encourage you to be bolder -- use your clout to push decision-makers and build coalitions that result in win-win strategies that strengthen both business and environmental outcomes.
As we continue to work toward a fuller understanding of the presence of water, what we may not know so well is called "virtual water" -- the water that is used to produce almost everything we incorporate into our daily routines but is not listed on the label or calculated into the price.
If you accept that the principles on which American environmental law was based in the 1970s has been compromised and excepted subsequently to dilute protections, regulations, and enforcement to an unacceptable circumstance, then we have but one tactic to fall back on.
Under President Obama's Clean Power Plan, we can cut power-plant carbon pollution 26 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, when compared with 2005 levels. We can do even better than that, but what matters most is that we get started now.
Southeast Alaska Business Says It Will Begin Exporting Water in Bulk to Parched California This Summer
Decades ago, Gov. Wally Hickel was ridiculed for his idea of an ocean pipeline carrying fresh Alaska water to parched California. Now entrepreneurs are hoping that they can make good on his general concept by selling clear water from Southeast Alaska's rainforest to users in the dry south.
Why and how did my water source run dry? What could I do about it? Would I too need to import water? Melt snow? Go without? Move away? Like São Paulo, I considered myself "water-rich" with a seemingly inexhaustible supply. Suddenly, it was not so. What to do?