19 August 2008

Water, Water Everywhere?
I was watching the BBC World News last night, and I noticed a story they had about drought conditions around the globe, and I must say, it was something to think about.
The driest continent on the earth is AUSTRALIA. And they have a bit of a water crisis. So do parts of the Middle East (obviously), Asia, North America, and Europe (Spain has suffering one of the worst droughts on record right now).
Here in our country, we have had the dust bowl of the 1930s, which laid waste to crops and scattered people to the four winds (a real "Grapes of Wrath" gig). Today, we still see evidence of drought all along our southwest into California. Even parts of the Midwest are not immune.
Now before you even begin to THINK it, this is NOT a tree-hugger's post. You know I'd NEVER even think of moving to San Francisco...LOL.
It's just a COMMON SENSE post, just so we are clear with this.
The whole global warming situation has got so many scratching their heads as to what to do about it.
Well, I believe the whole global warming thing is a bit overstated and overemphasized. I much prefer to think on it as a climatic change, for which the earth has gone through apparently WITHOUT human intervention eons before our species was even thinking of walking upright.
I liken it to someone taking a deep breath; you breathe in, you breathe out. And our earth does much the same, albeit over a much longer period of time.
One also has to consider the constant continental drift of the tectonic plates of the planet. Whether we choose to believe it or not, we ARE moving, even when we're seemingly standing still. And after a time, this "shift" will begin to affect climates in regions once stable.
When we think that a mere DEGREE of shift can have a lasting effect on conditions on a global scale, we must ready to adapt to it...or perish.
Meanwhile...back at the droughts...
Australia has taken to building desalination plants along her coasts to supply fresh water. A damn good idea. In America, we also are doing this on the west coast, but it doesn't come cheap. What DOES these days?
Personally, I'd like to see a system in place where flood prone areas can "redirect" their overabundance of water into areas that are NEEDING of it. And of course, a project like this is monumental not only in concept but in execution.
Still, look at the possibilities. Better yet, look at the benefits.
We'd be able to have a much better irrigation without fear of losing crops to flooding OR drought. People would not become displaced by those floods or droughts. Resources throughout the nation would not have to be stretched to their limits when a flood strikes. Places that have wildfires would have needed water to allow better saturation of the soil and foliage, which by itself goes far to prevent such fires.
This would mean a HUGE rethinking of our labor force requirements.
We would have to plan for underground pipelines, valves, reservoirs, flow regulators and the like.
The sheer engineering requirements would be staggering, but "if" it were able to be built, think of the JOBS it would create...and the subsequent prosperity for the masses BECAUSE of those jobs.
We can use WIND and SOLAR power to drive the machinery, so that's a win-win as well.
It would be like becoming a techno-agrarian culture.
And in the process, we could forget about all this ethanol crap in lieu of hydrogen-powered vehicles. And what is the sole by-product that is emitted from the tailpipe of a hydrogen-driven car?
Pure, drinkable water!
Imagine being able to reclaim your "exhaust emissions" for home use? What a novel idea!
The more you drive, the more you can drink.
But all these pipe dreams (pun intended) are just that.
No one seems to want to get the ball rolling, and if they do, they are rolling it slower than a snail.
The trouble is, all this is NOT some 24th century Star Trekkian "alternate reality". It IS possible...NOW, right this minute. But, like the saying goes: "If no one does anything, nothing gets done".
Still, it does warrant a closer look, not just for OUR nation, but for every nation on the planet.
And the last time I checked, we were still all of ONE race; the HUMAN race.
And don't we owe at least THAT much to ourselves...and to our future?

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