This is a good video…please, take a few minutes to watch it. The future of our species depends on people rising up against the greed and short-sightedness that has been destroying the only planet that can sustain us.
Using graphene to filter and desalinate saltwater
As the global population increases and water supplies become less predictable due to global warming, finding sources of clean drinking water becomes even more critical. Just ask residents of Cape Town, which expects to run out of water around April 12nd! The obvious solution is to desalinate ocean water, but that’s a very energy-intensive process. Well, researchers in Australia found a way to use a graphene film to act as a filter; its structure allows water molecules to pass through but blocks larger contaminant particles. Most membrane filters get clogged up quickly, but this one keeps working even as it gets coated in contaminants. It’s nowhere near a commercial product yet, but is a promising solution to a growing global concern.
(more at FastCompany)
Too Many People, Too Little Water (peak water)
The news of droughts in the West this year has surely escaped none living in the US…and with global warming forecast to increase severity of droughts, and population continuing to grow, we need to take a long, hard look at water usage in this country. The title of the video below, ‘The Drying of America: Too Many People, Too Little Water’ sums it up extremely well. So what can the average citizen do? Well, you can start with reducing household water consumption – replace lawns with xeriscaping and take shorter showers to begin with. That will be a great start…though water consumption of food production will need to be improved, as well as energy production. For example, powering a 60W incandescent lightbulb for a year requires 3,000-6,300 gallons of water (source). Things like fracking put additional strains on an already short water supply. So in summary…things are looking bleak, and you can expect this issue to only get worse in coming years. Don’t be an idiot and plant a new grass lawn!
Good news for whales
The International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic is not for scientific purposes, and has revoked all permits previously given for that. Japan has stated that they will abide by the ruling, though I remain skeptical that this means the whaling ships will not return to the southern seas next winter. But, it’s a great step in increasing protection for whales worldwide. Thanks, Australia, for standing up to Japan’s illegal actions and helping to bring this case to court! Also thanks to Sea Shepherd for minimizing Japan’s effectiveness in whaling while this court case dragged out.
Is our civilization doomed?
A new study by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center argues that a combination of socio-economic stratification (haves vs. have-nots) and resource consumption are likely to lead to the collapse of our civilization. Other studies (like this and this) have come to the same conclusion, putting the timeline in the 15 year range. Can we avoid this? The SESYNC‘s study states that,
Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.
Given how our current society is doing the exact opposite, forgive me if I’m a bit pessimistic…
You can read more about this latest study here.