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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Water, water the staff of life, but are we running out of water...

Water, water the staff of life, but are we running out of water?

First published at Qassia:

"The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today...often where we find water, we find guns." Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General.

According to an Uzbek saying,"if you run out of water, you run out of life." Some experts would probably say that those words seem more prophetical than proverbial. Each year about two million people die as a result of poor sanitation and contaminated water, and 90% of the victims are children. Suffer the poor children!

"The Aral Sea in Central Asia was the fourth largest lake on the planet in 1960. By 2007 it had shrunk to 10% of its original size." - Scientific American.

"The five great lakes of the United States and Canada - Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior - are shrinking at an alarming pace." - The Globe and Mall.

At one time, Australia's Deniliquin mill processed enough grain to meet the needs of 20 million people. Now, however, the rice crop has been reduced by 98%, and the mill closed in December 2007. The cause? Six long years of drought." - The New York Times.

I acknowlege the excerpts from the above newspapers:

Draining dry the rivers and streams:

"Africa's Lake Chad, once a landmark for astronauts circling the earth, is now difficult for them to locate. Surrounded by(Cameroon), Chad, Niger, and Nigeria...the lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960's. The soaring demand for irrigation water in that area is draining dry the rivers and streams the lake depends on for its existence. As a result, Lake Chad may soon disappear entirely, its whereabouts a mystery to future generations. - Plan B 2.0 - "Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble", by Lester R. Brown.

America's Thirst for Water:

"America's thirst for bottled water seems unquenchable, reaching nearly 30 billion bottles a year," according to US News and World Report. Many consumers did not realise, however,that most bottled water is simply tap water, so "anyone who is opting for bottled over municipal(water) for health reasons is misguided," said the above magazine. What flows out of the tap in many countries is monitored to ensure uniformity to strict standards. And when compared with the 'outrageously expensive' bottled alternatives, tap water is practically free."

In my opinion the global bottled water industry is nothing more than blatant exploitation of water resources.

The standard of tap water is so high in New Zealand, it would be simply stupid and a waste of money to buy 'bottled tap water'. You just need only to run the tap until the water is nice and cool, fill a used soft drink or soda bottle, and leave it in the fridge until you go out for your daily jog or walk!

The water crisis is global. It poses health risks to billions of people around the globe. Many steps have been taken to bring water supply and water use back into balance in some areas of the world, but not in others. This global balance is a vital necessity if we are not to have an acute water shortage in certain areas.

Each country seems to have its own method of dealing with the the water crisis. In some lands where favourable winds regularly blow, windmills raise water to the surface and also serve to generate electricity. In wealthier nations, desalinisation of seawater is also viewed as a viable solution. In many places huge dams retain river water and rainwater - a measure that has proved somewhat effective, even though reservoirs in arid areas may lose about 10 percent of their water through evaporation.- "Awake" January 2009.

But are we running out of water?

Water Crisis

Watch Tower | The Green Planet blog

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The greening of Antarctica - wind farm to be constructed in Antarctica...

The greening of Antarctica - wind farm to be constructed on Ross Island...

'Antarctica New Zealand' and the New Zealand state energy company, Meridian, will embark on a joint project to construct the southernmost windfarm in the world.

The project will be part of Antarctica New Zealand's contribution to the joint logistics pool with the US Antarctic program on Ross Island.

The scheme will reportedly greatly reduce power generation diesel fuel consumption by 463,000 litres annually and will involve the construction of three large wind turbines linked to the electric grids of New Zealand's Scott Base and the US McMurdo Sound Station. There will be a reduction of greenhouse gas production by 1242 tonnes of CO2 annually - and a reduction in the carbon footprint as a consequence.

Read further here

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Florida's Giant Toad - beneficial garden critter or exotic pest...

Florida's Giant Toad - beneficial garden critter or exotic pest...

First published at Qassia:

The Giant Toad(aka marine toad or Cane Toad) is reportedly the largest of the Florida frogs and toads. When this non-native species feels threatened, it secretes a highly toxic substance from its large paratoid glands in the back of its head. This secretion will burn eyes, may inflame the skin and can kill cats and dogs if they ingest it.

It was originally released in canefields to help control rats and mice and is now commonly found in Florida yards. It breeds all year round in standing water, streams, canals and ditches.

It is known scientifically as Bufo Marinus, the Cane Toad, Giant Toad or Marine Toad and is native to an area extending from Mexico and central America to the Amazon basin.

Florida's first Giant Toad population was accidently established by a release at Miami International Airport. Others spread by a pet dealer escaped through canals to other areas.

This Giant Toad is related to the Australian Cane Toad which was also spread after being released in cane fields in Queensland in the 1930's. They are now in epidemic proportions in that state and are spreading northwards and westwards endangering small native animal life.

They too are regarded a pest on a par with wild rabbits which have created an environmental wasteland in some areas of Australia.

Contributor's Note
Will become as widespread as their Australian cousins in a few decades.

The Australian Story

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fresh water dolphins future in crisis - clean up the rivers...

Fresh water dolphins are in crisis and in danger of extinction in Asia. Clean up the polluted riverways and they may have a chance of survival.

Protecting dolphins means protecting their rivers whether it is the Mekong River in Cambodia where the irrawaddy dolphin exist or in China(which is now too late) or in other parts of Asia. The irrawaddy dolphins are not being killed intentially on the Mekong River, but because of dwindling fish stocks fisherman are having to resort to more destructive ways of bringing in the fish. Heavy boat usage of the Mekong is a problem too. There were once thousands of dolphins on this river, but only fourty have been spotted recently, with an estimation of a maximum of eighty remaining.

There are now only four species of river dolphins left worldwide: the boto in the Amazon are believed to be quite prolific, but the baij in China's Yangste(see below), and the bhulan and susu in Asia's Ganges and Indus river systems are critical.

It takes 6-8 years for a dolphin to mature, a pregnancy lasts 10-11 months and only one offspring is born at one time.

The Yangste River dolphin was one of the most endangered species until recently, but has now been declared officially extinct following an extensive survey of its natural habitat.

These freshwater mammals which could grow up to eight feet long and weigh up to a quarter of a ton, were the first large vertabrate forced to extinction through human activity in fifty years, and only the fourth time an entire evolutionary line of mammals have vanished from the face of the earth since the year 1500 AD.

Conservationists described the extinction of the Yangste River dolphins as a shocking tragedy recently, caused not by any persecution but by carelessness through a combination of factors which included unsustainable fishing and mass usage of the river by shipping. It should be an important lesson to other areas where dolphins inhabit.

In the 1950's it was claimed that the Yangste and its neighbouring water courses had a population of thousands of the baiji dolphins, but Chinese industrialisation and the wide transformation of the Yangste River had decimated the population. The Yangste River dolphin was reportedly a most remarkable dolphin that had seperated from other species 20 million years ago, but are officially declared extinct after being in crisis during 2006-2007.

The Yangste River or baiji dolphin may well be extinct, but the other freshwater dolphins in Asia and South America still have a chance of survival if conservationists and local fisherman and industrialists get together and take some action locally - cleaning up the pollution would be a great start.

So protecting dolphins means protecting their rivers!

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posted by Unknown @ 1:24 PM 0 Comments