Bruce Lee used to say: ‘Be like water’. But would you want be like water in the times of climate change?
(#Challengeyoplanet is a series of informative posts on climate change that aim to raise awareness among young people. Read more about the project and the other posts here. )
When we talk about climate change, we mention coal, nuclear power, waste, urbanisation and globalisation, yet we forget to mention something equally important.
For living on a planet that is 70% covered in water, we surely don’t care about the impacts that our living standards have had on our oceans.
It doesn’t matter that we need fresh water to live and that is not widely available on the planet like salt water; we pollute because again, we fall under the human egoistic assumption that things on Earth are at our own disposition for an infinite period of time and that if they will finish, we will figure it out somehow, like Tom Cruise in another one of those extraterrestrial apocalyptic movies where he’s the American hero, not the Scientologist lunatic he is.
Hate to break it to you, but there is no way that us, or Tom Cruise, will be able to get out of this big mess; unless we start caring about what is going on to our generous supply of water.
It’s hard to care about the ocean because some people can’t bring themselves to care about their own neighbours, let alone to something so vast and far (from most people) from us. I mean, some people have never even seen the ocean once in their lives; how are they supposed to know what it looks like and how important it is, if they have never had a physical connection to it?
But just because we can’t see it, or hug it all; like trees, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need your help.
So here’s your little guide on why we talk about the ocean today and how greenhouse emissions are endangering the future of our water supply and our cities.
THE WORLD IS THIRSTY
WHAT CAUSES IT
- Around 748 million people today still do not have access to an improved source of drinking water, and water demand for manufacturing is expected to increase by 400 per cent between 2000 and 2050 globally.
- By 2050, global water demand is projected to increase by 55%, mainly due to growing demands from manufacturing, thermal electricity generation and domestic use.
- Groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimated 20% of the world’s aquifers currently over-exploited.
- By 2050, agriculture will need to produce 60% more food globally, and 100% more in developing countries
- Global water demand for the manufacturing industry is expected to increase by 400% from 2000 to 2050, leading all other sectors, with the bulk of this increase occurring in emerging economies and developing countries
- Currently only 5% of the Africa’s potential water resources are developed and average per capita storage is 200 m3(compared to 6,000 m3in north america)
- Only 5%of Africa’s cultivated land is irrigated and less than 10% of hydropower potential is utilized for electricity generation.
- By 2030, the world is projected to face a 40% global water deficit under the business-as- usual (bau) scenario (2030 WrG, 2009).
- The world’s population is growing by about 80 million people per year (usCb, 2012). it is predicted to reach 9.1 billion by 2050, with 2.4 billion people living in sub-saharan africa, the region with the most heterogeneously distributed water resources (undesa, 2013a).
- Groundwater supplies are diminishing, with an estimated 20% of the world’s aquifers being over-exploited (Gleeson et al., 2012), leading to serious consequences such as land subsidence and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas (usGs, 2013).
- Almost 80% of diseases in so called “developing” countries are associated with water, causing some three million early deaths. For example, 5,000 children die every day from diarrhoea, or one every 17 seconds.
Do you still think that what water scarcity isn’t a problem?
Ok, now let me show you where all this is taking us to.
WHERE IS THIS ALL TAKING US TO
The ocean absorbs more than 95% of the heat trapped by human-produced greenhouse gases.
WHAT ABOUT ICE?
WHAT THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO THEN?
- Don’t waste water. You don’t need to do the laundry every single day, nor to use the shower for one hour.
- Don’t throw any toxic, or harmful waste down the drain.
- Use environmental friendly household cleaning products
- Don’t throw MAKE UP WIPES OR TAMPONS DOWN THE DRAIN. Don’t be lazy, come on.
- If you can afford it, install water filters to keep the water clean.
- Eat a plant-based diet, or at least avoid huge fish consumption as not only it is deeply affected by the pollution in the ocean, but also because many species are disappearing because of our greedy mouths.
- Buy less bottled water, to reduce the amount of plastic that you consume.
- Don’t litter near water sources.
- Don’t use fertilisers or pesticides on lawns or gardens.
- Use less power and plastic, by preserving our forests and also by not being responsible for the all the plastic that is floating in the ocean.
- Use rain water, whenever you can.
- SPEAK UP! Talk to people and call them out when they are littering and contributing to this huge mess.
- Research how your favourite brands make your favourite products and you will discover an inconvenient truth about how much water is wasted in making the most stupid and cheapest products that are thrown away after a month of barely using them.
PICTURE TAKEN BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.
KEEPING UP WITH THE #COP21 -2nd/3rd December
As I have specified before, I am also going to keep you updated on the conference in a short and easy to understand way, as life is already boring as it is. If you are not sure about what is going on in Paris other than terrorist attacks and pain-au-chocolat, this article will answer all of your questions. (Click here)
- India will ban trucks and buses more than 15 years old to decrease record pollution levels. India has 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities and air pollution is responsible for 600,000 premature deaths each year. Only the Hindu Festival of lights made air pollution in Dehli reach 40 times the limit recommended by the WHO. [x]
- China and two groups of developing countries have called out the US, UK and Germany and other “rich” countries for not taking responsibility of their historical emissions and that a small group of rich countries have been avoiding to negotiate financing, by talking a lot and “wasting time”, without taking any significant responsibility. The world’s least developed countries said that there could be no final agreement in Paris, without the rich countries taking full responsibilities. I think we can all clap on that. [x]
- India announced the investment in renewable energy, but also the decision to commit to use coal to raise people from poverty. Don’t know how that’s going to work, Narendra Modi, but we’ll see.
- Anonymous hacked the private logins of 1,415 officials at the UN climate talks in Paris to attack back after the arrest of protesters on the climate march in Paris.
- Leading atmosphere scientist James Hansen told the UN that they are basically doing it all wrong once again, by talking about doing stuff that would take substantial years to see the benefits of, and patting each other on the back for the great speeches. Hansen has called out rich countries for their historical emissions that have put the world into this mess, and he believes that the solution is to impose a huge price on carbon, as it would only take the major players to impose it. It is realistically impossible to expect every single country to reduce emissions on its own. Elon Musk, tech billionaire agrees with Hansen by talking about the effect of a carbon price at the UN.
- Uruguay has shamed everyone by showing that its electricity is 95% powered by renewables, without getting any government subsidies, or higher consumer costs. Mendez – its climate change ministers – aims to hit a 88% cut in carbon emissions by 2017 and it attributes its climate policy success by clear-decision making, a supportive regulatory environment and a strong partnership between the public and the private sector. But above all to a stable economy, helpful natural conditions and strong public companies that can work with private ones. Well done Uruguay. (x)
- Europe aims to recycle 65% of their municipal rubbish and 75% of their product packaging by 2030, with the intention to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4% within 15 years.
- China announced to reduce emissions in the power sector by 60% by 2020, after the scary level of air pollution reached in Beijing this week. Less coal and more renewable energies will allow China to play a key role in improving climate change. (x)
And that’s all for today, folks!
Follow me on Twitter (@challengeyoasss) for more live updates.