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James L Bradley Oct - 2008
Global Warming, or more appropriately “climate change” is the semi-hot topic today, a topic that is following fairly close behind the headlines of bombings, gun regulations and uncontrolled immigration, that leaps from our computer monitors when we boot up to check the news. Not so newsworthy is another crisis facing mankind, the shortage of water, where if you live in a highly populated area where our largest agent of water is rain or lack of, you and your kind are forced to import your agriculture needs and daily dependence of H 2O. At sometime or the other most of us have read or watched a short sound bite that has told us that the amount of water in the world is limited and that the human race and the other species that share this Blue Marble cannot expect an infinite supply. Albeit that waters covers over 70+% of the earth’s surface, most of it is too salty for consumption and the growing of crops. Of that 70% only 2.5% is not salty and of that 2.5%. 66% is frozen up in the icecaps and glaciers of the world. Of what is left, about 20% is located in remote areas, and much of the rest arrives at the wrong time and place, falling from the skies in great amounts as monsoons and causing devastating floods. In other words, humans have available for our consumption less than 0.3% of all of the Earth’s water, and unfortunately over the next two or three decades our demand has been estimated to increase by 40%. In 1998 a report was generated that examined our world supply and consumption of the resource, where they estimated that over 430 million people lived in countries considered “water stressed” and project that by 2050 this number would increase at least three times. Swedish hydrologist ‘Malin Falkenmark’ estimated conservatively that 26 gallons per person per day is the
rough minimum required for their basic needs and that five to twenty times that amount if necessary to meet the demands of agriculture. Today (10-2009), based on the population world clock the United States needs approximately 8.00 billion gallons per day, and the world needs is sucking up 176.6 billion gallons a day – this number includes the USA number. A value that equates to 23.527 cubic feet, this is a per-day usage estimate for human consumption, pick a number between 5 and 20 for growing crops. If we take the number generated above just for the United States we find the total yearly demand human consumption at over 390 billion cubic feet of water, or about 1300 cubic feet per person, which classes the USA as only experiencing intermittent or localized water shortage. Although the numbers tell us that the USA is not really in a stress relationship with water, these are only averages based on our population and its growth, they do not indicate for example whether fresh water in any region is available at the time when it really needs it when the crops are growing or in the large population centers, are like places in the Pacific Northwest where average rainfall is much higher than let’s say Southern California or the middle of Kansas. Headlines on all Global Warming sites scream that the world is in for a “water crisis” as the temperature increases, tactics that are backed with a science that is lacking, think about it, albeit the weather patterns would change with a 0.01°F change any increase in worldwide temperature especially higher will do what? You got, increase the evaporation factor of our oceans and what will this do? You got it again, form clouds that will have water in them, which as you and I know what goes up must come down, and in this case fresh water will fall in copious amounts from the heavens. You know I’ve always believed that prior to the deluge mentioned in the Old Testament that the earth was cloud covered, or at least where the historians were living in the Middle East. Why, for one reason the people mentioned in the Old Testament lived some pretty long lives, whereas the thick cloud cover shielded them from the sun’s harmful rays, another? They seemed to have no wars fought over food and the last being when the water were receding they saw their first rainbow, which you and I understand a rainbow needs some sunlight to form. One of the problems we have today is the value placed on living near what? Water, whether it is a lakeside residence or one next to the ocean, where we find 40% of the world’s population, and most of that water is saline, we like water. Some areas of the world living next to the sea are or will be subject to rising waters, solution they’re going to have to relocate – whether it is in their cards or not, the climate is changing. Has it changed before, you betcha if not why have members of our civilization found so many under-water cities?
As you see, only an extremely small percentage of our water is readily usable fresh water, whereas the approximately 1.4 billion cubic meters of water on Earth, most is saline, frozen as ice, or running loose locked underground, which leaves us with only 0.3% available to us as fresh water. It is estimated that today we are already using over 50% of what we have available, and most of that is disproportionally located across regions supporting a low population, an example being the Amazon River that contains about 15% of the Earth’s fresh water but supplies less than 1% of its population – for this reason of having our H2O so unevenly distributed across the Earth, the average water availability for people from different regions vary widely. In the Pacific Northwest, (British Columbia and Southeast Alaska) an average of 180,000 cubic meters a year is available while regions in Africa and the Middle East exist on 200-300 cubic meters a year. In addition our quality of water is threatened by human waste, industrial waste, heavy metals, and agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. Today it is estimated that deaths caused by human waste number around 6,000 per day, most of which are children under the age of five. Note that China and India have the most polluted toxic rivers in the world, whereas in the USA tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals that are released into their environment every year are NOT even monitored. Result, the long-term trends for most contaminants, and their effect on humans is not measured. It is written that over 70% of the global fresh water supply is absorbed by agriculture, which is noted as being the most inefficient user. It has been estimated that only 38% of that water ever reaches the plants in the fields and consider this that only 7% of the world’s crop lands is irrigated, and that this land produces 33% of the world’s food. Where estimated predictions maintain that irrigated land will have to increase in area by some 20-30% during the next 25years in order to meet the growing food demand – an increase that represents 14% more water being used by the developing world. Example today in China it takes 1000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of wheat! Solution? Improve our farming practices by reducing the demand for our scarce resource water, as mentioned only 38% of the water used in irrigation ever reaches the plant, I know you’ve see the huge racks of sprayers on wheels moving across a field spraying copious amounts of water on plants where over 60% is just blowing in the wind and evaporating into the atmosphere – 40 years ago we thought it was correct, today the greater percentage of our population now sees the waste. The guy in the street really needs to understand the melting of the ice is not as critical as running out of water, yet because of the Global Warming advocates attention has shifted from not enough water to ice melting and rising the level of the sea by maybe 2 inches in 50/100 years, is
there something wrong with this picture? There is in some parts of the world a big push to change from incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs to conserve on power and to not increase the temperature of a room and yet in that same structure you would find a dripping faucet, maybe a funky bathroom fixture that runs at a slow drip 24/7 yet what do you find in your local grocery store? You got it, big sales campaigns to buy fluorescent light bulbs and maybe at the checkout stand you can purchase a few carbon credits. I haven’t seen the same push for faucet washers or toilet bowl mechanisms. As for Climate Change, as I have mentioned time and time again, our climate will change it is a fact of life and has happened numerous times in our planets life in the cosmos, most all of it happened before man built his first fire or drove his SUV’s down the ribbons of highways crisscrossing our land. Guess what, it is happening again, and my belief is that when it happens it will be an un-welcomed change by a few and a welcomed change to just as many. Because of the change, wealth will shift, borders will be crossed and wars will once again be a fact of life. The landscape of life will change and man will be helpless in stopping it, carbon credits or no carbon credits it will happen. The Blue Marble itself will survive! Humanity, it will survive albeit maybe in reduced numbers it will survive. The choice between life and no life actually is a narrow decision, whether or not you’re ready for the change is a matter of personal preference, albeit during times of strife the personal preference margin only gets smaller. Wars will happen over water rights and will spread across the regions of the world where water is scarce, regions today that have no water will again have water and there will be regions today that have no water that will never have any water – an example is the Gobi Desert in China were archeologists are finding perfectly preserved dinosaurs below the surface of the Desert, that have been there for over 75 million years. If the desert had any appreciable amount of water during that time the bones would be long gone. Warming temperatures will increase the cycle of oceans evaporating and the formation of clouds, a changing jet stream will happen whereas the flow of air across our globe will shift, and then we might see increased rainfall in the Sahara and forests spring up, which will only assist in shifting the brown sand into fertile land once again. Archeology has proven that when the Pyramids were constructed along with the Sphinx the climate was much different in that part of the world than today, lush green forests and copious amount of rain, and by the way they didn’t have coal fired power plants nor SUVs hauling the blocks of stone from the quarries to the building site.
I mention again, there have been some benefits of the Global Warming advocates running around telling us the “sky is falling”, benefits that see changes in the way humanity looks at the pollutants they are spewing into our atmosphere. Whereas whether they increase of decrease the amount of carbon dioxide could be important, but man has to be a little conceited to believe he is the only species changing our climate because of CO2 production. But our attention to this condition has raised our awareness of the clear- cutting of the rainforests, promoted a reduced dependence on fossil fuels and in general our overall life has been made a bit better as we have become more conscious of our wasteful living, especially if you life in a country in the “Western” world that has always demanded more and more from its environment, which is now changing. The sky maybe falling, but it not because of man’s effort to increase its weight by adding more CO2, it is because the water in the lower atmosphere is diminishing and just maybe it’s going through another cycle of change…think about it before you run out and purchase a carbon credit to justify you going shopping in your SUV.
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