Saturday, September 20, 2014

Investing and Conserving Will Safeguard Our Future

Advancements in weather and economic modeling are documenting the cost of man-made carbon dioxide and other pollutants.  The White House is concerned of the financial concerns of climate change. The White House Budget Chief, Shaun Donovan, comments below;

…global economic output could suffer by about 0.90 percent in the United States that would amount to whacking of gross domestic product by $150 billion a year.  And as the Great Recession demonstrated, “even small reductions in real GDP can dramatically reduce federal revenue, drive our deficits and impact the government’s ability to serve the public,”…1

Conserving certainly can lessen our nearly $18 trillion national debt.  Also we can invest in new economic development program to combat this human environmental crisis.

According to the American Geophysical Union, 80 percent of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1700’s has occurred in the 20th and 21st centuries. Also the Pew Center on Global Climate Change cited that the 1990s were the hottest decade in the last 150 years.

In 2006, Winds of Change, Eugene Linden charts how public and scientific opinion diverged from 1988 to 2005. Scientific community view has gone from indifference to alarm with a general consensus while the public view has been indifferent except for a brief alarm in the late 1980’s. In a Pew Research poll in 2006 only 41 percent said this was due to human activity. In a University of California 2005 study Dr. Naomi Oreske did a random sampling of 928 peer-reviewed journal articles on global warming revealed that 100 percent agreed with the view that humans affect climate change.

Now various economist estimate costs to contain present emissions, the Pew Center for Global Climate Change determined the benefits to prevent the doubling of greenhouse gaseous between $55 billion and $140 billion dollars and that US greenhouse gas emission increased 12 percent between 1990 and 2001. In 2006, the Stern Review on the Economic Effects of Climate Change estimates stabilizing these emission would cost about half a trillion dollars.

Recent scientific studies document that climate change is increasing due what is called positive tipping points accelerating arctic ice loss and other warming effects. Increased conservation directly translates in increasing our national security.

In my life, science has documented how this earth has rapidly increased in temperature while human population has doubled in size. I have witnessed many forms of human ecological destruction. New advancements of weather modeling now estimate how much humans contribute to increased droughts, wildfires and other climate disasters. The debate is over.  Humans are impacting our weather.  Enacting conservation measure and enacting some form of carbon tax are viable remedies. We can no longer afford to speculate since the present facts dictate that we act.

1         Lory Montgomery, Washington Post, 9/20/14, pg. A14, “Climate Change is New Focus of White House Financial Fears”.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Saving Water

When the well runs dry, we know the worth of water.  Ben Franklin

California’s mega-drought serves as a reminder how precious our water resources are.  Many Americans are unaware what ground water is.  The stuff that creates life below the subsurface like the water that is stored in a potted plant.  Today we are depleting out of the ground H20 that has enormous impact on future reserves since to water is limited and requires time to recharge. 

Throughout the world, clean water is becoming the most precious resource.  Half of the world’s population -- or three billion people -- live without access to safe drinking water.  With an estimated 2 billion additional people to be born in the next 30 years, good water will be even scarcer.  Here and worldwide, record droughts and water shortages are forcing us to reexamine water use.

Four trillion gallons of water fall daily in America, much of which runs off or is evaporated.  Overall the U.S. withdraws 339 billion gallons of ground and surface water each day.  Each day we use 137 billions of gallons of water for irrigation and 131 billion gallons to generate energy.  Industry consumes another 25 billion gallons a day.  So 45 percent of American’s freshwater goes to industrial use, 42 percent goes to agriculture, and the remaining 13 percent goes to domestic use.

Forty-seven percent of the U.S. population depends on ground water for its drinking water. In the U.S. each day, about 76.4 billion gallons of ground water are used for household water, irrigation, and industrial and other uses.  Ground water is an important source of surface water. Its contribution to the overall flow of rivers and streams in the U.S. may be as large as 50 percent.  It is also a major source of water for lakes and wetlands. Ground water is tapped through wells placed in water-bearing rocks and materials beneath earth’s surface. Precipitation and other sources replenish the ground water supply, but increasing periods of drought have led to a situation in which the rate of pumping exceeds that of replenishment.  Nearly 15.9 million water wells serve U.S. households, cities, business, and agriculture. Twenty-three million Americans rely on this private drinking water supply. 

Ironically only 1% of the world’s water is drinkable and that must meet our ever-expanding human needs.  At home we drink 1% while 99% of this clean water may be lost in many wasteful ways.  Most household water goes to lawns, showers, toilets, etc.  In our life time, we will experience a drastic shift in how we use water.

Our public water systems produce more than 180 gallons per day per person, more than seven times the per capita average in the rest of the world and nearly triple Europe's level. By comparison, the World Health Organization says good health require a total daily supply of about 8 gallons of water per person.  An average person can survive months without food, but only days without water.  We flush an average of 27 gallons of drinking water per person per day down our toilets, 17 gallons per day through our laundry and 14 gallons per day in our showers.  Watering lawns also uses up a tremendous amount of this valuable drinking source.

Simply installing a more efficient showerhead and faucet aerators saves about 7800 gallons of water per year in an average household. In addition, by reducing demand for hot water, a low-flow showerhead can save 376 pounds of climate changing carbon dioxide each year, while faucet aerators can save 83 pounds per year.  These items can be found at the local hardware store.  Faucet aerators cost less than $5 a piece and high-efficiency showerheads go for under $20.  Switching to landscaping dominated by bushes and shrubs, instead of grass, can reduce lawn watering by 80 percent.

To appreciate the value of water, all you have to do is realize the role it plays in our bodies. One-half to two-thirds of the human body contains water.  An average adult contains roughly 40 quarts of water and loses several quarts of water per day through normal elimination, sweating and breathing. 

Life itself depends on how we protect, preserve and conserve this precious resource.  Our future prosperity relies on how we champion water quality improvements.  All Americans have a right to affordable fresh water.  Without clean water life itself is in jeopardy.