Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sustainability Update: Rainwater Saves Lives; Maybe Even Your Own Some Day

See The Eleventh Hour and Spread the Message to Your Friends and Colleagues

The world is facing a looming water crisis and actions must be taken now to better manage this scarce resource, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said...
"The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today," Ban told a session of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. ...
According to the UN chief, population growth will make the problem of water scarcity worse, so will climate change.
"As the global economy grows, so will its thirst. Many more conflicts lie just over the horizon," he warned.
Water scarcity is a problem for all countries, poor or rich, he said, calling for innovative and global approaches to tackle the problem.
UN statistics show that about 1.2 billion people, or 20 percent of the world population, now live in water stressed areas with the figure expected to reach 3 billion by 2025.
Xinhua, 1-25-08

Sustainability Update: Rainwater Saves Lives; Maybe Even Your Own Some Day

By Richard Power

Even without the drastic climate changes that global warming has triggered, we were due for a global water crisis, simply because we have not come to grips with our delusional concepts of what "growth" and "development" mean, or faced the wastefulness of our diet, or dealt with the recklessness in our lack of population control.

But with the climate crisis factored in, water has become perhaps our greatest single sustainability issue.

Malteser International is the relief agency of the the Sovereign Order of Malta. The group has already built two thousand rainwater harvesting tanks for families in Sri Lanka.

Rainwater can save lives - this is the conclusion of the British water engineer Suzanna Lipscombe. She is working in Sri Lanka, where Malteser International especially engages for clean drinking water. Many regions of the country are not yet connected to the public water supply and the wells are often miles away from the villages. That is why Malteser International, together with the affected families, is building rainwater harvesting tanks. "The rainwater is collected on the roofs and then - through a filter - runs into a tank," Suzanna Lipscombe explains. ...
With its Lent Campaign, Malteser International calls for putting aside one Euro a day during Lent season. This way, 40 Euros can be saved up until Easter. With these 40 Euros, the or-ganisation can procure the cement for the construction of one five cubic meters water tank for one family.
Malteser International, 2-20-08

Contributing to this worthy project (one tank costs 40 euros) is a powerful, life-affirming action.

And while you are at it, you should build one of your own somewhere within your own sphere of influence.

Rainwater can save lives; maybe even your own someday.

Water and sanitation engineer Suzanna Lipscome reports from Sri Lanka on a weekly bases, for her most recent report click here

To participate in the Lent Campaign (i.e., one Euro for every day of the forty days of Lent), transfer 40 Euros to the following account:

Donation Account 120 120 120
Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, Wörthstr. 15 - 17, D-50668 Köln
Sort Code : 370 205 00
IBAN : DE49 3702 0500 0001 0258 01
Reference : "Malteser International Lent Campaign 2008"

Here are excerpts from three recent global water crisis stories, with links to the full texts:

The past is no longer a reliable base on which to plan the future of water management. So says a new perspectives piece written by a prominent group of hydrologists and climatologists, published in Science magazine, that calls for fundamental changes to the science behind water planning and policy. ...
Global spending on water infrastructure is currently more than $500 billion per year. Until now, managers at municipal water boards, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and other federal, state and local agencies have operated on the premise that historical patterns could be counted on to continue. The assumption was that variability from year to year occurred within stationary, unchanging patterns.
But human-induced changes to Earth's climate have begun to shift the averages and the extremes for rainfall, snowfall, evaporation and stream flows, the authors write. These are crucial factors when planning for floods or droughts, choosing the size of water reservoirs or deciding how much water to allocate for residential, industrial and agricultural uses.
Terra Daily, 2-11-08

We are on the verge of a water crisis. As world economy and population continue to grow, we are becoming a much thirstier world. It is important to realize just how much water we need to make every aspect of our economy work. Every liter of petrol requires up to 2.5 liters of water to produce it. On average, crops grown for their bioenergy need at least 1,000 liters of water to make one liter of biofuel. It takes about 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton T-shirt, up to 4,000 liters of water to produce a kilo of wheat and up to 16,000 liters to produce a kilo of beef. The statistics are equally surprising for hundreds of other consumer products that we all take for granted like milk, juice, coffee, fruit, pizza, detergents, carpets, paint, electrical appliances, cosmetics and so on. On average wealthier people “consume” upward of 3,000 liters of water every day. Even to produce the much more basic things our economy needs like cement, steel, chemicals, mining or power generation takes literally tons of water. ...
The International Water Management Institute has 500 scientists who examine the water we use for agriculture. Their report took 5 years. They found that we would not have enough water to supply global demand for food over the next few decades unless urgent and substantial reforms in water and agriculture are undertaken.
Climate change will make this situation happen more quickly and to a worse degree. The latest IPCC report says that if global average temperature rises by 3°C, hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to increased water stress.

Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum), Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé), Arab News, 2-11-08

Businesses are doing too little to tackle a looming water crisis, Ban Ki-Moon warned the World Economic Forum .. describing their response to a UN water sustainability initiative as “a drop in the bucket”. ... A handful of corporate leaders called for more engagement from governments and business, after Mr Ban complained that only a fraction of the 1,000 companies represented in Davos had joined the UN’s CEO Water Mandate, launched six months ago.
Ignoring investment in carbon reduction because of fears about an adverse short-term economic impact would risk much greater damage to economies in the future ...
“Our goal is to get net zero water usage. We want to have a closed system where we’re not parasites on the earth,” Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo, told the FT. Such progress would happen only if companies appointed an individual to take responsibility for their sustainable water policies, she said.
Financial Times, 1-25-08


Sustainability Update 11-17-07: The Distance from Southern California to the Azawak Valley? Near & Getting Nearer with Every Drop of Water.

Sustainability Update 8-14-07: Water, Water

Sustainability Update 7-29-07: Geopolitics & Sustainability have Taken Over Your Future -- Whether You Choose to Acknowledge It or Not

GS(3) Thunderbolt 7-19-07: In Darfur and Japan -- The Earth is Singing A Promise & A Warning, But Who is Listening?

Hard Rain Journal 4-19-07: Sustainability Update -- Simple Truths

Hard Rain Journal 1-13-07: UN Millennium Goals and Sustainability Update -- Does Burkina-Faso Offer a Glimpse into Our Urban Future?

Hard Rain Journal 11-10-06: Sustainability and Climate Change Update -- Water, Its Unhealthiness and Its Increasing Scarcity, Demands Urgent Attention

Hard Rain Journal 9-29-06: Sustainability Update -- Freedom to Flourish and Water to Survive, Both are Vanishing...What Will You Do?

Hard Rain Journal 9-18-06: Update on Sustainability -- There is Peril Ahead, Whether Water is Privatized, Militarized or Simply Ignored for Too Long

Hard Rain Journal 8-18-06: Water, Water Nowhere, & Only A Few Drops to Sell --- An Update on the Water Aspect of the Global Sustainability Crisis

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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