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Save The World By First Saving Yourself

Save The World By First Saving Yourself

We each have a role to play in how the world recovers from the coming crisis

Ripped from today’s headlines:

From news reports like these, it’s understandable to think that our future looks bleak.

At this point we can only ride out the consequences as the systems we depend on collapse and then ebb away — exposing that the structure of our modern way of life is really a just an edifice built of sand.

That may be true. But not necessarily.

I’m here with some good news today. There remains a multitude of options that each of us can and should do to prepare for what lies ahead. And in so doing, we can help to avert the worst of it, as well.

But only if enough of us try. Critical mass is key here.

Yes, the world is busy collapsing around us. That’s true.

But collapse is a process, not an event. It can be ameliorated and even reversed, depending on the actions we decide to take from here.

And there’s still time left to change our fate.  Not much, mind you. But enough to matter.

The good news is that more and more people are heeding the call and taking action. The bad news is that too many still aren’t.

And the worse news is that the many entrenched powers of the status quo are working against our future best interests, as they desperately cling to old notions of advantage, wealth, and privilege.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River

‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River

In Nova Scotia, water protectors have fiercely opposed a gas company’s plans for a decade, helped by a celebrity supporter.

Dale-Poulette-final2.jpg
Can ‘water protectors’ like Dale Poulette (seen above) and his partner Rachael Greenland-Smith win a war against governments and a resource company over the future of a grand river and the people it helps to sustain? Still from There’s Something in the Water.

It is so quiet on the banks of the Shubenacadie you can almost hear the river breathe.

Standing by the Treaty Truckhouse with Rachael Greenland-Smith and Dale Poulette, the instinct is to fall silent. The landscape draws you in with elemental power — an Alex Colville painting come to life.

Blue sky above, tawny long grass below, all of it bisected by the reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. The only sound is the flapping of the Indigenous Unity flag when the wind picks up from the river.

The RCMP didn’t want any flags flying on nearby Treaty Island, but Mi’kmaq water protectors felt they had no choice. They believed that the Alton Gas company’s storage project, which would dump huge amounts of brine into the Shubenacadie, would endanger the river.

The company wants to build massive underground caverns to store natural gas. It would use river water to flush out salt deposits at a site 12 kilometres away, creating the caverns. The salty water would then be pumped back into the river over a few years.

582px version of Shubenacadie-River.jpg
The reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. Photo by Michael Harris.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘You can’t drink money’: Kootenay communities fight logging to protect their drinking water

Glade Watershed Kootenay logging Heather McIntyre Louis Bockner
Heather McIntyre and her grandson Carmi Restrick collect water samples and record the temperature of Glade Creek. This daily community monitoring program began two years ago and is an effort to provide hard evidence should the proposed logging go ahead and the community’s water is negatively affected. Photo: Louis Bockner / The Narwhal

‘You can’t drink money’: Kootenay communities fight logging to protect their drinking water

In Glade, where clear-cutting could begin any day, determined residents are pulling out all the stops in an effort to protect their local creek — even though a judge ruled they have no right to clean waterSarah Cox Jul 20, 2019  17 min read

Four years ago, on a morning hike with her husband, Heather McIntyre spotted red and white flagging tape near a creek that supplies much of the drinking and irrigation water for her village of Glade in a pastoral Kootenay valley.

The tape marked logging boundaries and roads and was stamped with “KLC,” the initials of a local timber company, Kalesnikoff Lumber Co., which planned to log in the community’s watershed on the slopes of a low-lying Selkirk Mountain in the interior rainforest.

“We kind of panicked,” said McIntyre, who lives in a yellow strawbale house amidst a patchwork of fruit and vegetable gardens, in a community named Dolina Plodorodnaya by its Doukhobor founders, meaning “fertile valley.”

Glade Watershed Kootenay River Louis Bockner

The community of Glade sits on the banks of the Kootenay River near Nelson, B.C. The Glade Creek watershed has been at the centre of an ongoing dispute between community members and two logging companies — ATCO and Kalesnikoff Lumber Co — who have been given cut permits in the drainage. Photo: Louis Bockner / The Narwhal

“Everybody in the lower part of Glade gets their water from the creek and the logging flagging was right above the creek,” McIntyre told The Narwhal. “We’re using a lot of water in summer for irrigating and then there’s our drinking water.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

State of the Globe: 13 Facts: why the next crisis is inevitable

State of the Globe: 13 Facts: why the next crisis is inevitable 

The order of the current problems laid down below is random. Hard to say which factor will be the next catalyst. Maybe all or several at the same time? Decide for yourself.

1. Unresolved political conflicts. Ask yourself: which conflicts have been finally resolved since the 2007 crisis? In the Middle East? In the Balkans? In the former Soviet Union? (in Ukraine, the proxy war of the EU against Russia?) In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya? In Sudan? There is no end to this list. The UNO, NATO, the international coalitions for the “defence of human rights” or interventions of the major powers for the defence of their own interests in a region (e.g. Russia and the USA in Syria) only bring more unrest and destabilization in the individual regions and cost the Western world pots of money. Aggressive foreign policy by the great powers and threats to geopolitics will continue to put a massive strain on the world’s economy and pose a risk to investors.

2. The most powerful countries in the world have been arming themselves for years. World military spending increased by 2.6 percent last year to around $1.82 trillion – a new high since 1988. The mainstream media, unlike in the sixties of the last century, are reluctant to talk about the new Cold War because they are fully engaged in creating the delusion of a united, peaceful humanity.

3. Since its inception, Marxism has been an ideology that has not inscribed itself as anything positive in the history of any country. Because of Marxist ideas, more than 100 million people died in Europe in the 20th century (according to the calculations of the French historian Stéphane Courtois).1)

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

Forget “Money”: What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil and Food–and a Shared National Purpose

If you want to identify tomorrow’s superpowers, overlay maps of fresh water, energy, grain/cereal surpluses and arable land.

The status quo measures wealth with “money,” but “money” is not what’s valuable. “Money” (in quotes because the global economy operates on intrinsically valueless fiat currencies being “money”) is wealth only if it can purchase what’s actually valuable.

As the world slides into an era of scarcities, what will matter more than “money” are the essentials of survival: fresh water, energy, soil and the output of those three, food. The ability to secure these resources will separate nations that fail and those that survive.

In a world of abundance, it’s assumed every essential resource can be bought on the open market. Surpluses are placed on the market and anyone with “money” can buy the surplus.

Things work differently in scarcity: “money” buys zip, zero, nada because nobody with what’s scarce can afford to give it away for “money” which can no longer secure what’s scarce.

Parachute into a desert with gold, dollars, euros, yen and yuan, and since there’s nothing to buy, all your money is worthless. Once you’re thirsting to death, you’d give all your money away for a liter of fresh water. But why would anyone who needs that liter for their on survival trade it for useless “money”?

Imagine the longevity of a regime which sold the nation’s food while its populace went hungry. Not very long once the truth comes out.

Having resources is only one component: consumption is the other half of the picture. Having 4 million barrels a day of oil (MBPD) is nice if you’re only using 3 MBPD, but if you’re consuming 8 MBPD, you still need to import 4 MBPD.

Water and soil are not tradable commodities. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mapping PFAS Crisis: New Data Reveals 19 Million Americans In 43 States Exposed To Toxic Chemicals

Mapping PFAS Crisis: New Data Reveals 19 Million Americans In 43 States Exposed To Toxic Chemicals 

Tens of millions of Americans in 43 states may have been exposed to toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS in their drinking water, according to the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University.

The report shows PFAS chemicals have exposed upwards of 19 million through contaminated groundwater. Researchers found 610 contaminated locations ranging from public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps, and firefighter training sites.

PFAS chemicals were used in thousands of industrial applications and consumer products such as apparels, carpeting, food packaging, firefighting foams, and metal plating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that the toxic chemicals are present in the blood samples of the general population. Prior studies have shown the dangerous chemicals have been linked to weakened childhood immunity, thyroid disease, cancer, and other major health issues.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has utterly failed to address PFAS with the seriousness this crisis demands, leaving local communities and states to grapple with a complex problem rooted in the failure of the federal chemical regulatory system,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG. “EPA must move swiftly to set a truly health-protective legal limit for all PFAS chemicals, requiring utilities to clean up contaminated water supplies.”

The map below locates 610 places in 43 states that have dangerously high levels of PFAS chemicals in groundwater. Data from the US Department of Defense and public water utility reports were also included in the map. This additional data shows 117 military sites, including 77 military airports, which have high levels of PFAS firefighting foam.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California’s central valley aquifers may be gone in 2030s, Ogallala 2050-2070

California’s central valley aquifers may be gone in 2030s, Ogallala 2050-2070

Preface. Clearly the human population isn’t going to reach 10 billion or more. California grows one-third of the nation’s food, the 10 high-plains states over the Ogallala about a quarter of the nations food, and exports a great deal of food other nations as well.

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December 15, 2016. Groundwater resources around the world could be depleted by 2050s.  American Geophysical Union.

Human consumption could deplete groundwater in parts of India, southern Europe and the U.S. in the coming decades, according to new research presented here today.

In the U.S., aquifers in California’s Central Valley, Tulare Basin and southern San Joaquin Valley, could be depleted within the 2030s.

Aquifers in the southern High Plains, which supply groundwater to parts of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, could reach their limits between the 2050s and 2070s, according to the new research.

New modeling of the world’s groundwater levels finds aquifers—the soil or porous rocks that hold groundwater—in the Upper Ganges Basin area of India, southern Spain and Italy could be depleted between 2040 and 2060.By 2050, as many as 1.8 billion people could live in areas where groundwater levels are fully or nearly depleted because of excessive pumping of groundwater for drinking and agriculture, according to Inge de Graaf, a hydrologist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.

“While many aquifers remain productive, economically exploitable groundwater is already unattainable or will become so in the near future, especially in intensively irrigated areas in the drier regions of the world,” said de Graaf, who will present the results of her new research today at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Knowing the limits of groundwater resources is imperative, as billions of gallons of groundwater are used daily for agriculture and drinking water worldwide, said de Graaf.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Using 140-Year-Old Loophole To Soak Up California’s Scarce Water Supply

Saudi Arabia Using 140-Year-Old Loophole To Soak Up California’s Scarce Water Supply

Saudi Arabia is exploiting a farming loophole in California which allows a tiny, poverty-stricken desert town to use as much water as it needs for agriculture, for free – circumventing harsh water restrictions imposed in the Saudi Kingdom, reports The Guardian.

In particular, the Saudis are after alfalfa to feed their cows – setting up shop in Blythe, California – home to roughly 21,000 people (6,000 of whom live in prison) about four hours east of Los Angeles. Fondomonte Farms is a subsidiary of Saudi-based Almarai, one of the largest food production companies in the world. Every month, Fondomonte ships boat-loads of alfalfa to a massive port stationed on the Red Sea, just outside Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City. 

The state of the Colorado river can be traced, in part, to a water claim approved by the federal government all the way back in the 1800s when a British gold rush-era prospector named Thomas Blythe first laid eyes on the desert expanse adjacent to the rushing Colorado river and submitted a water claim application to the federal government.

That 1877 water claim, now owned by the Palo Verde Irrigation District, ensures that Blythe has “unquantified water rights for beneficial use”; in other words, as much water as those living and farming within the district could possibly need in this water-scarce region, and for free.

With the Saudi Arabian landscape there being mostly desert and alfalfa being a water-intensive crop, growing it there has always been expensive and draining on scarce water resources, to the point that the Saudi government finally outlawed the practice in 2016. In the wake of the ban, Almarai decided to purchase land wherever it is cheap and has favorable water conditions to produce enough feed for its 93,000 cows. –The Guardian

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Still Toxic After All These Years

Grist / EuToch / Getty Images / Alison Cassidy

Still Toxic After All These Years

Nearly a quarter-century after winning millions from PG&E, the ‘Erin Brockovich’ town continues its fight for clean water.

It was a sweltering, 117-degree July day in Hinkley, California. The surface of the 13-mile highway east to Barstow had become an asphalt skillet, and the town’s lone recreational feature, a children’s playscape, stood shining and unused like a monument to the lofty melting point of low-density polyethylene. Residents here appreciate the dry, desert landscape — that’s why many moved to Hinkley in the first place — but on days like this everyone takes refuge indoors, curtains drawn against the view of empty lots where neighbors’ houses once stood. Along the empty roads, thousands of pipe stubs — groundwater monitoring wells installed by Pacific Gas and Electric — began to look like air vents to some underground bunker where most everyone in town had retreated.

Despite the oppressive weather, a small group of residents had gathered at the community center for a workshop on bioremediation, basically how to remove chemical contamination from their land and water. These workshops are a regular occurrence here and broach topics like isotope analysis, well testing techniques, and the best ways to navigate the political machinations between oversight organizations. Hinkley-dwellers’ interest in these subjects is more based on survival than scientific curiosity; they want to make sure no one can pull the wool over their eyes again.

Hinkley is still best known as the “Erin Brockovich town.” In 1996 a group of residents famously won a massive direct-action arbitration against Pacific Gas and Electric with the help of Brockovich, a savvy single mom and Los Angeles legal clerk.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal

After two decades of drought, Lake Mead, which is impounded by Hoover Dam, is just 40 percent full. A “bathtub ring” visible along the edges of the lake show how far its water levels have dropped.
After two decades of drought, Lake Mead in Nevada is just 40 percent full. TED WOOD

CRISIS ON THE COLORADO: PART II

On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal

With the Southwest locked in a 19-year drought and climate change making the region increasingly drier, water managers and users along the Colorado River are facing a troubling question: Are we in a new, more arid era when there will never be enough water? Second in a series.

In the basement of the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, the fragrant smell of pine hangs in the air as researchers comb through the stacks of tree slabs to find a round, 2-inch-thick piece of Douglas fir.

They point out an anomaly in the slab — an unusually wide set of rings that represent the years 1905 to 1922. Those rings mean it was a pluvial period — precipitation was well above average — and so the trees grew far more than other years.

“In 1905, the gates opened and it was very wet and stayed very wet until the 1920s,” said David Meko, a hydrologist at the lab who studies past climate and stream flow based on tree rings. “It guided their planning and how much water they thought was available.”

The planning was that of the states that share the water of the Colorado River. Worried that a burgeoning California would take most of the water before it was fairly divvied up, representatives from the other Colorado River Basin states, presided over by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, came together in 1922 to develop an equitable apportionment. They looked at flow measurements and figured that the river contained an average of 15 million acre-feet. They divided the Colorado River states into two divisions – the upper basin and the lower basin, with the dividing line in northern Arizona near the Utah border.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Science magazine on Peak Sand 2017 and 2018

Science magazine on Peak Sand 2017 and 2018

[ Sand is essential to make concrete, glass, silicon for computer chips, and many other products (longer list in Peak Sand), so no wonder top journal “Science” has had two articles on this topic.

Sand mining also ruins ecosystems, lessens biodiversity, impairs water and food security, makes storm surges and tsunamis more destructive, ruins drinking water with salty water, and salinization of cultivated land reduces and even prevents land from being farmed.

In India, illegally mining sand has become very lucrative and the “Sand Mafia” in India has become one of the most powerful and violent organized crime groups. They’ve killed hundreds of people so far in “sand wars”.  As a consequence of sand mining, death stalks people in other ways; standing-water pools created by extraction have increased the prevalence of malaria and other diseases.

These two articles have been shortened.

Larson, C. 2018. Asia’s hunger for sand takes toll on ecology. Science 359: 964-965.

Across Asia, rampant extraction of sand for construction is eroding coastlines and scouring waterways.

Already, scientists have linked poorly regulated and often illegal sand removal to declines in seagrasses in Indonesia and in species such as the Ganges River dolphin and terrapins in India and Malaysia. In eastern China’s Poyang Lake, dredging boats are sucking up tens of millions of tons of sand a year, altering the hydrology of the country’s largest freshwater lake, a way station for migratory birds.

Used to make concrete and glass, sand is an essential ingredient of nearly every modern highway, airport, dam, windowpane, and solar panel. Although desert sand is plentiful, its wind-tumbled particles are too smooth—and therefore not cohesive enough—for construction material. Instead, builders prize sand from quarries, coastlines, and riverbeds.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

More vegetables, less meat for all our sakes

More vegetables, less meat for all our sakes

Spanish market: Vegetable-rich diets make for a healthier planet. Image: By ja ma on Unsplash

Researchers are clear: the healthy diet for a healthy planet is more vegetables, less meat. What matters is the food that’s served, and the way it’s produced too.

LONDON, 17 January, 2019 − An international panel of health scientists and climate researchers has prescribed a new diet for the planet: more vegetables, less meat, fresh fruit, wholegrains and pulses, give up sugar, waste less and keep counting the calories.

And if 200 nations accept the diagnosis and follow doctor’s orders, tomorrow’s farmers may be able to feed 10 billion people comfortably by 2050, help contain climate change, and prevent 11 million premature deaths per year.

A commission sponsored by one of the oldest and most distinguished medical journals in the world today provides what it calls the first scientific targets for a healthy diet, from a sustainable food production system, that operates within what its authors term “planetary boundaries.”

The commission is the result of three years’ consultation by 37 experts from 16 countries, among them experts in health, nutrition, environmental sustainability, economics and political governance.

Goal within reach

It addresses the twin problems of global food supply: altogether 3 billion people are either under-nourished, or approaching clinical obesity because they are too well-nourished.

And global food production in its present form is helping to drive global warming and climate change, trigger accelerating biodiversity loss, pollute the rivers, lakes and coasts with ever greater levels of nitrogen and phosphorus run-off, and make unsustainable use of both land and fresh water.

“The food we eat and how we produce it determines the health of people and the planet, and we are currently getting this seriously wrong,” said Tim Lang, a food scientist at the City University of London, and one of the authors.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Salt-free drinkable water comes at a cost

Salt-free drinkable water comes at a cost

A desalination plant in Spain. Image: By Andrés Nieto Porras from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, via Wikimedia Commons

Two thirds of the world worries about water for at least a month annually. One successful source of salt-free drinkable water leaves a bitter aftertaste.

LONDON, 15 January, 2019 – Around the arid world, some 16,000 desalination plants are now purifying seawater and brackish aquifers, producing 95 million cubic metres of fresh, salt-free drinkable water daily. This is almost half the daily flow over Niagara Falls.

But there is a potentially-polluting price to pay: for every litre of fresh water, the same desalination plants produce around 1.5 litres of toxic brine. That adds up to enough in the course of a year to cover the whole of the US state of Florida to a depth of more than 30 cms.

A new study urges nations to explore better solutions – and new ways to exploit the minerals in the wastewater and support efforts to advance the declared UN sustainable development goal of reliable, safe water on tap for everybody in the world.

A second study confirms that the sustainable development goal of clean water and sanitation for everybody by 2030 is likely to cost around $1 trillion a year – and up to 8% more if the advances are matched by efforts to contain climate changeand limit global warming to the agreed UN target of well below 2°C above historic levels by 2100.

“Reject brine has been used for aquaculture, with increases in fish biomass of 300%”

Four out of ten of the world’s people face severe water scarcity. More than six out of ten experience at least one month a year in conditions of water scarcity. There are now desalination technologies at work in 177 countries: two thirds of them in nations with high incomes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Warning: A ‘Shrinking Window’ of Usable Groundwater

“We found that the average depth of water resources across the country was about half of what people had previously estimated,” says Jennifer McIntosh, a distinguished scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona.

McIntosh and her colleagues — who published a new study about these aquifers in November in Environmental Research Letters — took a different approach to assessing groundwater than other research, which has used satellites to measure changes in groundwater storage. For example, a 2015 study looked at 37 major aquifers across the world and found some were being depleted faster than they were being replenished, including in California’s agriculturally intensive Central Valley.

McIntosh says those previous studies revealed a lot about how we’re depleting water resources from the top down through extraction, such as pumping for agriculture and water supplies, especially in places like California.

But McIntosh and three other researchers wanted to look at groundwater from a different perspective: They examined how we’re using water resources from the bottom up.

The study may help close the gap about what we know and don’t know regarding how much water is available deep underground, as well as its quality.

It also rings some alarm bells.

A Different Approach

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Lakes run dry from too much water extraction and climate change

Source: Hannah Osborne. Feb 8, 2016. Bolivia’s vanishing Lake Poopó: ESA images show fully evaporated lake from space. International Business Times.

Preface.  It’s bad enough that aquifers are being depleted that won’t recharge until after the next ice age, or in some places like California, never, because greedy farmers suck all the water up and the caverns below collapse and will never fill up with water again.

But equally problematic are lakes and rivers drying up, essential for agriculture, fisheries, drinking, and industrial water supplies.

Ah the poor grandchildren, what a bleak future, with little time left to do anything, if that’s even possible given human nature…

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report

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Kate Ravilious. 4 March 2016. Many of world’s lakes are vanishing and some may be gone forever. NewScientist.

Bolivia’s second largest lake has vanished into thin air. In December, Lake Poopó became a dry salt pan and its largest lake – Lake Titicaca – is heading towards trouble, too. The combination of silting up and irrigation withdrawal from the Desaguadero River, which feeds Poopó, together with climate change and the extra warmth from current El Niño, were enough to finish this lake off.

Recent research and new data suggest that lakes in other parts of the world may also be on their way out.

“Considering the size of the lake – 2700 square kilometers (1042 square miles) – this is quite an astounding event, with slim prospects of recovery,” says Dirk Hoffmann from the Bolivia Mountain Institute. “This event should serve as a real warning. Eventually, we can expect Lake Titicaca to go the same way.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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