October 15, 2010, is Blog Action Day. The world’s bloggers are uniting by each posting today on a set topic of global relevance. This year, the topic is water.
Water can devastate through abundance and through scarcity. The millions of families who lost their homes and loved ones in the recent floods that swept across Pakistan, and the 38,000 children under the age of 5 worldwide who die each week due to a lack of access to safe drinking water are testament to this terrifying reality.
The below post by ForOurGrandchildren‘s Barbara Falby discusses the many ways in which water – both in abundance and scarcity – is a critical climate change issue, that ultimately links back to the state of our global oceans.
Remember: the goal of Blog Action Day is to turn the world’s attention to this very important and often understated issue, and to generate discussion on an international scale. Do your part by reading this post, then submiting your comments below. You’ll also find a petition at the end of this post to urge the UN to accelerate programs to provide the world’s most needy with access to clean, safe drinking water.
– Sandeep Kembhavi
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There are more than 10 issues to be considered with respect to carbon emissions, the environment, and global warming, or climate change – any or all of these add up to a crisis situation that demands immediate emergency measures. Remediation, or mitigation, in the form of huge carbon emissions reduction, will relieve some of the monstrous costs of adaptation and mass extinction.
- The oceans’ importance for life – 1/6 of the world’s population – 1 billion people depend directly on the oceans as a major food source. (Eaarth, Bill McKibben)
- ½ of the world’s oxygen comes from the photosynthesis of phytoplankton – simple celled creatures in the sea. Sea Sick, Alanna Mitchell
- ½ of the world’s CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean. Sea Sick, Alanna Mitchell
- Oceans now too acidic to produce phytoplankton that produces oxygen. Sea Sick, Alanna Mitchell
- Ocean acidity prevents production of mollusk shells, which traditionally absorbed CO2. Sea Sick, Alanna Mitchell.
- Coral reefs cannot survive CO2 counts above 360 ppm – present count is 391 ppm. Eaarth, Bill McKibben.
- Main food source for 1 billion people – ocean fish stocks – cannot survive ocean acidity, loss of plankton.
- High temperatures, with global warming, and climate change, result in high rates of evaporation – warm air holds more water – linked to water shortages in rivers and streams – water levels too low to run hydroelectric power stations in Quebec, and Georgia, U.S.A
- Decreased snowfall affects fresh water river levels, and watersheds – Canadian Geographic, October 2010, p. 42
- Underground aquifers in California, and Nevada dry up – water used for swimming pools, golf courses, and grass lawns in desert regions.
- Water in fresh fruits and vegetables exported from southern to northern regions never returns. Blue Covenant, Maude Barlow
- Severe storms, caused by climate change, ruin actuarial projections of insurance companies, causing. big losses in crop failures and property damage. Eg Halifax, Newfoundland hurricanes – Canadian Geographic, October 2010, p 26
- More severe earthquakes are predicted, as tectonic plates shift –cold water and polar ice are heavier, hold plates together in Caribbean and Chile regions. Canadian Geographic, p 63
– Barbara Falby
References and Background:
Barlow, Maude. Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Fight for the Right to Water. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2007.
Canadian Geographic, October 2010, vol 130, No. 5 special issue – Climate Futures: Can you prosper in a hotter, wetter world?
McKibben, Bill. Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, New York: Times Books, 2010.
Mitchell, Alanna. Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2009.
Paskal, Cleo. Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2009.
Valentine, Harry, “Climate Change Requires Power Deregulation in Quebec” Le Quebecois Libre, Dec 15, 2004.