It Starts with a Glass of Water
A Glass of Water
A Glass of Water
It starts with a glass of water. Can you pour water into your glass from your tap and trust the water enough to drink it? If this is not the case then there is a problem everyone should be able to appreciate.
Mystics such as Nostradamus claimed you could see the future in a bowl of water. Why then can't you see the future in a glass of water? We all need a good supply of drinking water.
Fracking may create problems in underground supplies of fresh water for farms. It may ruin recreational land as well as put fresh drinking water for your average human in danger.
In parts of the USA they got fracking wrong so why wouldn't they get it wrong in Australia and parts of the USA?
Check out the web site CSG Illawarra for for information on what is being done to keep Coal Seam Gas Mining away from the south coast area of New South Wales, Australia.
The main question raised by CSG Illawara is: Should our drinking water catchment be mined for coal seam gas?
Today in New South Wales, Australia people are paying a lot more for their drinking water than they did a decade ago. What's more, the quality of the water may not always be counted on. In some parts of Asia fresh drinking water without impurities is still a luxury.
Pour yourself a glass of water from the tap in your kitchen into a glass and examine the contents of the glass. Is the water in your glass crystal clear? If not, why not?
Rain over the long term is still unpredictable. To have enough fresh drinking water on hand for long periods when it doesn't rain in essential to our survival. In Autumn 2015 the east coast of New South Wales coped a great deal of rain. But how much of this great downpour was stored for future use?
Deserts throughout the world are growing rather than shrinking. In parts of the USA and Australia there is a rising salt problem that can turn fresh water into salty water. Salty water is no good for cattle and can kill plants that hold the soil together.
For some idea on how bad soil erosion can get check out Ken Burns' documentary Dust Bowl. It covers what happened in the USA during the depression years and also in the 1950s when the government was trying to make thing right.
There is some evidence that the seas and oceans are becoming more salty and acidic and this will affect life everywhere.
Air pollution in mainland China's major city was so bad in December 2015 that for some days the city was in shut down. Factories had to come to a halt and children could not go to school. Also motorized vehicles could not be driven until the air cleared.
Droughts in the past have destroyed great civilizations. This happened in Ancient Egypt. A drought that lasted for over ten years resulted in the collapse of a great empire.
We cannot survive without fresh water and yet there is more salty, undrinkable water on our planet than the fresh kind. Taking this into account, we should be very careful how we treat our fresh water.
In the 19th Century Londoners, in Spring and Summer, died in their thousands from polluted drinking water. Disease would spread from unsafe water outlets.
The only clue to what was happening was the stink from the Thames. It got so bad that there were times when parliament had to be cancelled for the day. A bigger, better sewage system coupled with new knowledge concerning how disease can spread made London, in the end, a model city when it came to clean, usable water.
During the 2nd World War the British knew that severe damage to Germany's water supplies would hamper Germany's ability to continue to wage war. Hence an elite squadron of bombers known as the Dam Busters was formed.
In the 1970s there was the threat of not only heavy air pollution in Japan but also industrial contaminants entering the food supply. One such contaminant that affected a small fishing village was mercury.
There was a time when it would have been dangerous to eat fish caught in Sydney harbor, NSW, Australia because of industrial contaminants such as mercury entering the water. Thanks to a clean up this is no longer the case.
Coal seam gas mining has been a disaster in some places in the USA. The people of the south coast of New South Wales view coal seam mining as a real threat to their way of life. If not handled right, coal seam mining can pollute fresh drinking water supplies and there are no real guarantees that it will be done right.
A glass of water may be a strange place to begin a spot of writing about the fate of our planet but it does bare thinking about.
There are mystics that believe they don't need a crystal ball in which to see the future. Some say a bowl of clear liquid is enough.
It is said that Nostradamus could see the future in a bowl of water. I say your average glass of drinkable or supposedly drinkable water is more than adequate for such a task.
When I was in college in country NSW, Australia in the 1980s we thought it astonishing that students from Europe would prefer to buy expensive bottles of imported water rather than simply get a glass of water costing virtually nothing from the nearest tap.
Back then in the 1980s what came out of most faucets in New South Wales was, indeed, good drinking water. Buy bottled water? Whatever for? It was a crazy idea. Yet I had been to the USA in the mid 1970s and bottled water was selling well there. So what was going on?
By the late 1990s, and an incident with a local dam's water not being good to drink for a while, New South Wales finally caught up with the rest of the world in the mania for filters on taps for protection and in the purchasing of bottled water. We began importing it as well as bottling our own. Now Australian children think nothing of buying bottled water.
What does all this mean? Well there was a time in which we could trust our water supply. The reluctance to build new dams and other catchments plus a growing population meant in the end that neither the government nor the water supplied on tap could be trusted.
Migrants flowing into the country but without appropriate increases in local infrastructure to handle the flow has done great harm to my country as is has to other countries in their past. The answer? Governments must take responsibility for the pristine nature of our drinking and bathing water and must be seen to be accountable.
You want more migrants coming to my land? Fine. Then you make sure the infrastructure is there for them and for me. This only makes sense. We should all feel free to fill up a glass from a tap and not have to worry about the infrastructure letting us down. We should not need to worry about hazards in the water to the extent where the bottled variety is seen as being a much safer bet.
A decade ago, Australia suffered through one of our worst droughts in our history. It put the Murray-Darling river system in danger. As it turned out too much water was being channeled away and this was killing the river system.
The country is drying up and has been doing so for some time. It comes in cycles. There are still good years where there's plenty of rain. There are even years when it floods in some parts of NSW and Queensland.
Even so, when drought hits it hits hard and seems to last longer. Can we continue to bring in people from overseas the way we always have since I was a boy or must the flow slow down, even stop for a while? These are serious questions.
At great expense a desalination plant was created for the Sydney area. The people living in NSW are still paying for it with massive water bills. Was this fair?
The government was in panic mode at the time. There weren't enough dams with enough fresh water to continue to cope with population increases if the drought was to continue. Was the plant a wise choice? Probably in the long run. It would not have been necessary, however, if not for the continuing artificial increases in population.
At present Australia has an abundance of water in most places where there are large populations thanks to good amounts of rain. It is, however, a cyclic thing.
Before long the weather pattern will swing the other way and we will once more be in drought. If global warming has any truth to it, the cycles are getting larger and so the next cycle of drought promises to be bigger than the previous one had been.
So you don't live in Australia but elsewhere? How is the water that comes out of your tap? Do you have a preference for bottled or filtered water where you live? Is it a case of safety from what might be lurking in the water? How has this situation come about and is there something that can still be done about it?
And so from a glass of water we can indeed tell the past, the present and the future. Go fill up a glass of water from your own tap right now, look into it and check out what it has to tell you. Who knows? You may be surprised by the results.
A glass of pure, pristine water! It is becoming so precious a commodity on this planet of ours. Way back in the '80s I would have never guessed this would happen. It says something about the future if we do not mend our ways. A world in which,for example, someone would not dare to fill up a canteen from a mountain stream would be a very sad world indeed.
This is all about the environment and what we have done to it and what we might do to improve things.
I don't believe it is too late to turn things around and put our civilization onto a better more sustainable footing. Baby steps are being made with cars and with electricity everywhere. If we sit on our hands, however, our children's children are going to hate us for doing so and with good reason.
I am filling up a glass right now and contemplating my own future.
Meanwhile water supplies are being threatened by coal seam gas mining in Australia and elsewhere in the world.
Also land previously zoned for agriculture in NSW, Australia is now being threatened by coal mining.
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