Clean water is a vital concern as many parts of the world struggle with its availability. Kenya is a prime example of a country on the edge. Kenya’s people have long struggled with lack of availability of fresh water creating hazardous health conditions. According to the World Bank, the country’s population is well over 43 million people. The country is one of the
Despite decades of efforts that have dramatically improved access to clean water in India, more than 140 million people there still drink water contaminated by bacteria, chemicals, and other pollutants. Many of those Indians live in remote villages where it is not economically feasible to build infrastructure to filter water.
Indian scientists have developed a filter system they say can provide clean water to rural families for less than $2.50 per year and help reduce incidences of diarrhea that cause tens of thousands of deaths in the developing world annually.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
A conference of 500 of the world’s leading water scientists issued a stark declaration at the end of a four-day meeting in Germany, warning that within two generations a majority of the people on the planet will face problems obtaining ample supplies of clean water.
At the meeting, “Water in the Anthropocene,” the
Water is always precious. Increased natural gas production is happening ion the US. But natural gas wells have problems: Large volumes of deep water, often heavily laden with salts and minerals, flow out along with the gas. That so-called produced water must be disposed of, or cleaned. Once cleaned it has beneficial reuse in often arid regions.
Timberland is emerging as a leading model of a socially responsible company as it demonstrates what it is doing to help provide a better quality of life for the children whose parents work in its factories. One of the impacts of supply chains like Timberland’s is that children are separated from their parents for long stretches of time and distance. Besides the
There are so many smart new social innovation technologies coming out to create renewable fuels and power supplies. The latest discovery is that sewage plants are being used to not only treat waste but to also generate electricity. This knowhow is devised by Prof Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer specializing in water systems at Pennsylvania State
According to the nonprofit organization Imagine H2O, the struggle for clean water is the challenge of our time. More than a billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, they point out, and even in the United States, pollution, scarcity, and a crumbling system of pipes and plants threaten the water supply.
They warn us that availability of clean water and sanitation will be the dominant issue of the coming decades, touching everything from human health, to biodiversity, to economics.
So, now that we know what some water-related problems are, where can we look for some water-related solutions? Interestingly, in a place where there hardly is any water: Israel.
Sixty percent of Israel is desert, and the remaining 40 percent is semi-arid land. So, it’s not surprising that an Israeli clean technology company called HydroSpin has made water its bailiwick.
Specifically, HydroSpin is interested in “Smart Water” technologies: those devices that monitor the movement of water and the quality of water as it travels through a network of distribution pipes.
Powering those Smart Water technologies so that they can record and transmit data has historically been a bit of a challenge: How do you power a device that’s stuffed inside a pipe? Especially if it’s a pipe in the middle of nowhere, like the desert?
Here, HydroSpin has made a clever innovation: the company has developed a unique generator that produces micro-energy from the flow of water inside distribution pipes. The HydroSpin generator creates enough power to support low-energy devices throughout the water network, such as sensors, probes and transmission devices.
As a result, the deployment of sensors and measuring devices is no longer limited to locations that have accessibility to electricity: monitoring devices can be positioned anywhere on the water network.
Additionally, data received from monitoring needn’t be limited by the amount of energy available through batteries. Data can be transmitted continuously, giving customers visibility into their network and sensors 24/7.
This type of visibility is a key requirement for developing a “smart grid” that identifies leaks, conserves resources, and otherwise guides water flow more intelligently.
Taking a clever idea and making it a reality—as HydroSpin has done—is at the heart of entrepreneurship, which is why Imagine H20 holds an annual Water Entrepreneurs Showcase highlighting the most promising early-stage water innovations.
This year, the showcase and awards ceremony is being hosted at the Autodesk Gallery at in San Francisco. The event will provide an opportunity to raise a glass—water or otherwise—to some innovative companies that are helping to tackle one of the biggest sustainability challenges of our time. To register for the event and learn more visit Imagine H2O.
Director Michael Nash has traveled the world collecting evidence demonstrating the human face of climate change from Tuvalu to the Pentagon, addressing the grim reality of the challenges we face. Whether man made or natural climatic shifts are causing the most recent temperature shifts, extreme climatic events and a rise in sea levels are visibly affecting people across the world, today.
In fact we have witnessed the strain of merely 300,000 climate refugees from Hurricane Katrina in the United States first hand; one can only imagine how 50 million climate refugees would strain governments across the country. Not yet an officially recognized status by the UN, it is estimated that there will be 50 million climate refugees by 2011. Due to increased flooding, storm events, drought and desertification, civilizations are again engaging in nomadic type movements for survival.
The documentary focuses on underdeveloped and third world countries where climate change serves as a threat multiplier for their already stressed populations. South Pacific countries are already looking to purchase land to migrate their populations to higher ground. It is estimated that Tuvalu will be the first country to disappear from the map. The conflict in Darfur, labeled by most as an ethnic battle, may actually be our first major climate conflict as water scarcity in the region adds to the fight for resources after the drying of Lake Chad.
What will happen when Asian rivers, serving as the primary clean water source, fed by disappearing Himalayan glaciers begin to dry. Food scarcity from drought, flooding, freezing or salt water intrusion will drive food prices up. Displaced residents, again primarily third world residents, may not be accepted by many nations. Who will take them in? Depletion of water, arable land, non-renewable energy sources will all lead to more conflict. Who will fight?
Climate Refugees is truly a must see for both new and old to the environmental movement, or maybe better phrased a movement to save human race. Climate Refugees serves as a resounding call to press for attention by world leaders and as soul food and inspiration for those fighting the good fight to keep advancing the mission of the sustainability.
Not yet commercially available, if you are interested in viewing Climate Refugees, look for a screening near you on their website. Over the next two weeks (Jan 20-Feb 2) US Green Building Council Chapters, led by the Emerging Professional committees, are participating in a nationwide screening effort with over 20 locations. Miami and New York City were the first locations and kicked-off at packed theaters in both cities.
Last week I took part in an American tradition: visiting the Wisconsin State Fair. The Wisconsin State Fair and state fairs throughout the country are a cherished summertime experience for rural America – a place where old friends and old traditions go hand-in-hand with the latest innovations. In a solar powered building, I sampled my first cheese curds. I visited Senator Herb
Ten countries worldwide, including five African nations, are at “extreme risk” because of limited access to clean, fresh water, according to a new global water security index. And the effects of climate change and population growth will exacerbate the stress on these water supplies, potentially threatening stability in many regions, according to the analysis by Maplecroft , a UK-based consulting group. Among the nations most at risk are Somalia, Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, and Iraq. Other nations at extreme risk — including Pakistan, Egypt, and
In the slums of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, about 1 million poor people pay up to 30 times more for water of dubious quality brought to them in old tanker trucks than middle-class citizens pay for clean and safe water provided by the local public water utility via standard household connections.
Some may be shocked by these disturbing disparities in the developing world, but a lack of access to safe, affordable and clean water is also an issue in California, particularly in the Central Valley and along the Central Coast. In these communities, more than 90 percent of drinking water is sucked from contaminated groundwater sources. All told, more than 150,000 California residents lack safe water for drinking, bathing and washing dishes; even more have water service disconnected because they cannot afford to pay their bill.
It sits in the middle of a harsh, barren desert, sweltering in searing heat. It has no clean water, its sea is polluted and there is no topsoil, just a covering of sand. It is also the biggest per capita consumer of fuel, massively reliant on cars, power-hungry desalination and air-conditioning. And with all this, can the United Arab Emirate state of Abu Dhabi really succeed in building a new “green city” in the Middle East?
If you can believe visionary people like architect Gerard Evenden (his words above), from the British architectural firm Foster & Partners, yes it can. Billions of dollars are riding on the assumption