Tag Archives: environment

Desalination a big part of Texas’ water future – Houston Chronicle

Desalination a big part of Texas’ water future – Houston Chronicle.

Desalination a big part of Texas’ water future

Published 06:35 p.m., Monday, November 14, 2011

EL PASO – For El Paso and a growing number of Texas cities, the question isn’t whether they have enough water, but what price people are willing to pay to make it drinkable.

Aquifers beneath the Chihuahua desert are filled with brackish groundwater, belying the seared landscape above. Salty water rushes down rivers. And the Gulf of Mexico offers a virtually unlimited supply.

For centuries, Texans had cheaper ways to quench their thirst. But population growth – up 20 percent over the past decade, to 25 million people, and predicted to almost double by 2060 – is driving up demand, just as the supply is shrinking. The latest draft of the state water plan predicts existing supplies will fall by 10 percent in the next 50 years.

But Texas has more than 2.7 billion acre-feet of brackish groundwater, enough to meet current demands for more than 176 years.

For many cities, the cost of desalination – up to four times that of other water treatments, sometimes even more for seawater desalination – is no longer a deal-breaker.

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Read the full story here: The Houston Chronicle

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Life After Land – NYTimes.com

Life After Land – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Contributor

Life After Land

RISING sea levels could threaten the existence of small island states such as Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives. If the international community cannot or will not slow global warming, the least it can do is help those states prepare for life after land by recognizing a new category of state — the deterritorialized state.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling – NYTimes.com

On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Contributor

On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling

Yaren, Nauru

I FORGIVE you if you have never heard of my country.

At just 8 square miles, about a third of the size of Manhattan, and located in the southern Pacific Ocean, Nauru appears as merely a pinpoint on most maps — if it is not missing entirely in a vast expanse of blue.

But make no mistake; we are a sovereign nation, with our own language, customs and history dating back 3,000 years. Nauru is worth a quick Internet search, I assure you, for not only will you discover a fascinating country that is often overlooked, you will find an indispensible cautionary tale about life in a place with hard ecological limits.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Too Much Life on Earth? – NYTimes.com

Too Much Life on Earth? – NYTimes.com.

I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor

Too Much Life on Earth?

The specter of overpopulation was raised once more in 2008 by the decline in global food stocks and rapid deterioration of the environment. The figures are frightening — 218,000 more mouths to feed each day, 80 million more each year, a global population now close to 7 billion.

But overpopulation is as much a question of culture as statistics, and has worried humanity for a long time. In the 4th century B.C., when the world had a population of less than 200 million, Plato and Aristotle recommended strict control of birth rates by the state. The populationists have long been at loggerheads with those who favor birth rate control. Populationists claim overpopulation is an illusion; Malthusians warn of dire consequences.

For a long time no reliable statistics were available, and the debate was primarily philosophical, religious or political. Now there is plenty of data but the positions are still largely ideological or religious. The debate touches on fundamental questions regarding life and its value, hence the passion that it raises.

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Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Can the Planet Support 10 Billion People? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Can the Planet Support 10 Billion People? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Introduction

A United Nations report released on Tuesday projects that world population, instead of stabilizing at above 9 billion by 2050, will keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by 2100.

The population of Africa, for instance, could more than triple, rising to 3.6 billion by century’s end. Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, could see its population increase from 162 million today to 730 million by 2100. Accelerating rates of growth are already evident: world population is expected to pass 7 billion in October, only a dozen years after reaching 6 billion.

How will the world accommodate this growth? What have we learned from history about how countries adapt to feed and house ever more people?

Read the complete debate here: NYT, Room for Debate

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The Age of Anthropocene: Should We Worry? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

The Age of Anthropocene: Should We Worry? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Introduction

Schoolchildren are taught that we are still in the Holocene, the epoch in Earth’s history that began roughly 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. But some scientists say that it’s high time to enter the Anthropocene, or the Age of Man.

Last week, our colleague Andrew C. Revkin of Dot Earth reported on a conference at the Geological Society of London exploring the evidence for the Anthropocene, meaning that the human species has become a “globally potent biogeophysical force, capable of leaving a durable imprint in the geological record.”

Are we really in our own geologic era? If we are, how does that change our view of the world?

Read the complete debate here: NYT, Room for Debate

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biodegradable coffins

From the New York Times Magazine:

This July, when Jorgi Wu was laid to rest in central California, she became the first American to be buried in an Ecopod — a 100 percent biodegradable coffin made of recycled paper. The seedpod-shaped coffin is designed to be planted in the ground, dissolve and replenish the earth with its nutrient-rich contents. Who needs embalming, cement vaults or herbicide-based lawn care?”

I’m wondering, though, if this woman was completely biodegradable herself!

 

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alarm-ocracy

“When the international global warming alarm-ocracy gathers for its annual convention on the balmy island of Bali next week, is there any chance that the delegates will look up at the big yellow ball in the sky and ask, ‘Could it be the Sun, stupid?'”

For the complete article, see Fox News

Not exactly my view on the subject of global warming and climate change, but worth reading.

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from toilet to tap

To Your Health in California

According to an article in the NYT, Californians will soon be recycled sewage. On Friday, Nov. 30, the Orange County Water District will start purifying sewer water to increase drinking water supplies, a process that is called “from toilet to tap” by its oppenents.

So, all that remains to say is: “Cheers and to your health!”

On this subject, check out also the Slate Magazine

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