Tag: water


cross posted from The Dream Antilles with a special h/t to Mishima for including it in Thursday’s DD Times



Salicornia, believe it or not, is a plant that can grow in inhospitable, desert soils and can be watered with, of all things, ocean salt water.  Never heard of this?  Neither have I.  I’ve sat on the beach and wondered what it would take to remove the salt from sea water to grow things in sand, but I never thought about reversing the process,  leaving the salt in the water and finding something that would grow in it.  In today’s LA Times I found an “ah hah” moment.

Please join me below.

Pebble Mine: The biggest environmental threat in Alaska

Everyone has heard about ANWR.*  It is so well known that I do not have spell out the acronym. Ever heard of the Pebble Mine Project?  Probably not. The major environmental organizations have done an extremely poor job of publicizing this disaster in the making. Pebble Mine is worse than anything the oil thugs want to do in ANWR and it is in the permitting stage, making it a critical issue in terms of time and public awareness. Please join me for an introduction to the proposed Pebble Mine Project.


*Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

New Bush Rule Promotes Killing Streams & Lakes

Last week, new Bushie rules were approved to authorize using streams, wetlands and waterways as waste dump sites as long as man-made streams are “created” to replace the streams killed by the waste.  This is a faith-based rule:  Even the government admits there is no evidence that people have the godly powers to create functional ecological stream systems.  That faith is based on the greed of appeasing special corporate interests that don’t want to spend money on responsible waste disposal methods.  

This rule is not limited to mining waste, but the destruction of streams and watersheds is prevalent in Appalachia.  MTR mining has already destroyed 1,208 miles of streams in just 10 years, but greedy profiteers have since added another 535 miles.  

US Water Grid Collapsing

While bloggers spend in incessant amount of time politicing this and politicing that, the country is crumbling before our very eyes. The backbone of any nation-state is its infrastructure. While other countries have made huge advancements in their transportation and energy grid, our basic utilities are falling back to pre-industrial standards.

We all know about the bridge collapses, the zeitgeist of last summer. When that was no longer a great political football to kick around, it was largely forgotten. And of course, in true American fashion, nothing was done, except some well-lit photo ops of elected leaders pretending to give a damn.

What is more striking though, is not how our energy policy is archaic, but that our most basic need of all is about to fall into utter disrepair. We can go on forever without our horseless carriages, but we can’t live a few days without water.

Yes, water. Our entire national water grid is cracked, weathered and falling apart. All across the country the nation’s cities have aging delivery systems that are in need of desperate repairs. Most of these pipes and tunnels were built in the 1800s and have long passed even the most generous of life spans.

And we have done nothing, or saved up money, to correct this issue.

Again, we are taking about water. Not some frill or excess of the American Dream. Basic drinking water.

Glaciers Retreat at Record Rate Imperiling World Water Supplies

The world’s glaciers are losing mass at record rates according to the United Nations. Preliminary calculations just completed for 2006 show that the rate of glacial melting increased from the previous record rate in 2003. Glaciers have not retreated this rapidly since prehistoric time over 5000 years ago.

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By FishOutofWater

Water supplies and agriculture, especially in China, India and Pakistan are threatened by the rapid loss of mountain glaciers. Water supplies in California and the western U.S. are diminishing as glaciers and winter snowpack decline.

Note: x-posted in Orange.

I have generally lurked here rather than post here because environmental writing doesn’t seem to be a primary focus here. However, many of my former readers are now here so I thought it might be a good time to make a first post here. Environmental matters aren’t discussed enough on the political blogs, in my opinion. The planet has been taken for granted by people for far too long. We can not escape the environmental consequences of our choices.

The glacial retreat story was covered extensively in the European press and virtually ignored in the U.S. One reason Americans are so ignorant is the lack of media coverage of environmental matters. Blogs also tend to have less discussion of the environment here. I hope this blog is interested in environmental discussions.


Water and Energy Demands are on a Collision Course

Water is essential for life.

Houptoun Falls

But, America and much of the rest of the world is running short of clean, freshwater.

Polluted Water for the Troops in Iraq? Thanks KBR!

KBR Inc. may have supplied U.S. troops fighting in Iraq with tainted water according to a Pentagon inspector general’s report that was released today: Audit of Potable and Nonpotable Water in Iraq (PDF). KBR is a private contractor that, at the time they were supplying American bases in Iraq with polluted water, was owned by Halliburton.

According to the AP, Water makes U.S. troops in Iraq sick.

Soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.

“I don’t swim in your toilet, so don’t pee in my…”

On January 12, 2008, I posted a piece titled Smarter Parts: Improving Efficient Energy Use and Demand? that touched upon an experimental program sponsored out of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The essence of the program was to create a home energy system that could respond to changing prices and peak demand loads by dialing back energy consumption. The system would be accessible via the internet so homeowners could make changes in absentia. An update to the story included another article indicating that in 2009, California regulators may have direct access to homeowner thermostats via radio-controlled devices in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages — a plan cooked up by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

I opened a discussion thread for the piece in a few places, including several Delphi forums. In one thread,1 some energy and water efficiency ideas came up. One in particular spawned the short poll that you’re about to see. Please read on, and take the poll; results will be published at the end of next week and included in another piece that I will cross-post in all areas where this appears.

Water Shortage Shuts Down TVA Nuke Plant

I posted this yesterday at Daily Kos – under a different title “Nuclear is Not the Answer”.  The pro- nuke shills immediately descended upon the diary and I’m only now coming up for breath.  Maybe some folks here will read it for what it’s about – our current (and future) shortage of cool water is a major problem for nuclear plants.

Here’s the diary:

Nuclear power is not the answer to global climate change. Other than the safety issues connected to nuclear waste, which are pretty well-publicized, there is a major problem with thermal load, which is not so well known.

Nuclear plants need cool water for cooling.  Hotter water temperatures in the Tennessee River this summer caused TVA to suspend operations at their Browns Ferry Plant.  Browns Ferry is downstream from 3 other TVA nukes which had already heated up the river to a point to prohibit further heating.

France and Germany have had the same problem – in the 2003 heat wave.  The rivers on which their nuclear plants were built were heating up beyond their environmental agenies’ standards for aquatic life. A choice had to be made between nuclear power and the health of their rivers and aquatic life. 

As folks who read the great diary this weekend on Atlanta’s water shortage must recognize, with climate change and rising temps, the cool water necessary for nuke plants will be a scarcity

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