Not a drop to drink

This is the second in the blog sequence on water and as I mentioned in the prior blog, Atlanta is on the list of endangered cities.

We do need to be careful where we build and how we use water, but once again the news media fails to truly present the whole story. In the west, there are huge water users that have effectively drained the rivers … because they acquired the rights to this water at no or little cost way back when no one seemed to care or thought about it. Now, this is coming home to roost.  Water is a society’s most disruptive source for life … we can’t go very far or very long without safe drinking water.

Read the full story here.

Notice that it indicated Miami’s problem is in part due to global warming because saltwater is intruding into fresh water aquifers. Well, is it rising sea levels or land subsidence?  Yes, in any event, the saltwater intrusion is a problem, but studying the cause can point to who should change or fix something.

Read this from Research Gate.

So, when you get to the bottom line of this issue, the same abusers whose effluents are the cause of the red tides are associated with the disturbance to the Everglades ecosystem.

And, you get to the same bottom line problem: people who have been doing the wrong things for years and profiting from it are loath to own up … they just point fingers at the others and hope they can get to the back of the line when fixes need to be paid for.

Water water everywhere?

We have all been watching the severe and significant water situation in the Western states, but this one in Upstate New York that made it to the Wall Street Journal caught my eye.   Here is a link to the local newspaper that offers some interesting insights.

The question we should all consider is “who has the rights” to what water we do have and what should everyone pay for access to this water.  Sure, you can dig your own well, but most will not, so water is a public service and therefore should be regulated.  But even when you have the right, do you have the right to use whatever you want or say you need?

Power companies in Europe reversed this years ago when customers built new buildings and needed electricity.  The local power company sized the transformers to limit the power the building could use and thereby forced customers to consider energy efficiency and load management (thermal storage) in their designs.  That certainly is one way to limit situations.

But, water availability can be highly variable because it is often a direct result of the local weather.  Here in Atlanta, we have had periods of drought.  And, sure enough, during one of them an unwitting person released too much water from our water supply (Lake Lanier) to manage downstream water levels for navigation.  Nobody was terribly inconvenienced.  Yes, lawn watering was controlled.  But, everyone had plenty of water to drink and perform daily functions.

But, the key question remains: do you have the right to use as much as you say you need?  Making string cheese for sale to others around the country seems a bit beyond local need.  Shouldn’t the plant using that much water have been required to seek a permit to do this?  Where are we going in the future if we are not careful.

I certainly don’t want to have my life disrupted just because Kraft Cheese can sell more string cheese!  Do you??

Outlawing Beach Umbrellas

There are times when I really wonder why those we elect to represent us in the political process can waste so much time bickering and failing to reach useful compromise.  I have stopped watching the news all together.

Today, I was scanning some of the online information channels and ran across this: some politicians attempting to ban beach umbrellas because … on some rare occasions … they break loose and could hurt someone else on the beach.  Take a look for yourself.

If this is the key to beach safety, well then, perhaps they have a point.  More people get hurt other ways, but I don’t see people banning glass bottles from coolers and backpacks, testing swimmers before they get into the water about ability to swim … or inspecting people on the beach to be sure they have applied enough sunscreen correctly and in the right areas.

Our nation has many issues requiring thought, dialogue, and decisions.  This fails my test for importance as a top issue.

Digital Impersonation

I have always enjoyed comedians who could impersonate someone.  And, some personalities are easier to impersonate than others because of accents, facial movements, gestures, and speech patterns.  If you close your eyes during their performances, you might even say they sound just like the person they are impersonating.  Of course, once you open your eyes you can see it is a stunt.

OK, fasten your seat belts, here we go again.  This time it is about someone creating an audio or even a video of you or I saying something we never said, nor even had permission to use our image.  Today’s artificial intelligence coupled with our digital authoring capabilities can now produce “clones” of you and me.

Read about it for yourself in the USA Today. 

Creepy on many levels, but the authors point to ways things like this can be deeply effective with today’s social media.  And, as with all too much about today’s digital world, the laws to protect us from these kinds of nefarious activities are woefully lagging.

Work less to save the planet

Now, here is an idea that you certainly can appreciate.  Work less!  Check it out for yourself. Read the Fast Company article.

Now, the cynics will quickly criticize the logic here that these individuals are now at home, probably online, and their home’s energy use is rising when they don’t go to work.  The geeks will declare that the efficiency of the HVAC in commercial buildings is more efficient than typical homes, so why would you ever suggest that people are saving money by working at home?  Yes, the commuting costs will be reduced and the costs associated with dry cleaning your clothes for a work environment is lower.  But … I find articles like this so telling about our media outlets and their perspective on how to fix he planet.

And, it is just so easy to dismiss all this.  But, let me offer a slightly different perspective. We now have more “top of mind” awareness on the part of the average American … so … USE IT!

We have thought customers didn’t care about energy … that has now changed … they seem interested again. Plus, if customers see you as an agent of change on this agenda it has also been shown that your company image goes up.

So, put aside the criticisms and take advantage of it.