Tag Archives: water

High & Dry: Talking Groundwater

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alleyWith drought-stricken California enjoying its wettest winter in decades, it can be easy to forget that water scarcity is among the globe’s most deadly threats. This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss groundwater with Bill and Rosemarie Alley, the authors of High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Growing Dependence on Groundwater. They take us on a journey around the world and back in time to examine how humans scheme for and squander earth’s most precious resource. We talk about wildcatting for water in the 19th century, India’s water management quandary, and some of Saudi Arabia’s more imprudent water policies.

Carolyn Lochhead on the Politics of Water

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carolynlochheadAn issue that didn’t come up in Monday’s presidential debate, and unfortunately may not show up in subsequent debates either, is, “What are the candidates’ water policies?” It is one of the most vital issues for all Americans, and for the globe, and yet it is almost never mentioned on the national political debate stage. But if you look for them, you’ll find that each of the two major party candidates for president do have positions on water — well, one has actual proposals, and the other one has a set of ill-conceived opinions that could theoretically inform policy. This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from the Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Lochhead, to compare Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on water. We will discuss the preposterous supposition advanced by one candidate that the California drought is just a figment of our collective imaginations ginned up by liberals, the idea that it is wasteful to allow rivers to flow to the sea, and Clinton’s vision for collaborative stewardship. Stay tuned as we dive deep into the politics of water.

John Fleck: Colorado River Riddles

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John Fleck at Morelos Dam, at start of pulse flow, used 4/4/14 as my new twitter avatarAs the temperature and population continue to rise in the southwestern United States, water becomes scarcer than ever. How did we get here? Will the water dry up completely? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss all things Colorado River Basin with author John Fleck, who’s just released a book on the subject. We look back at the struggle over water rights in Arizona, discuss how Mexico and the U.S. are cooperating over the Colorado River Delta, and talk about the complexities of growing alfalfa in the desert.

Gemma Bulos: Turning A Drop Into A Wave

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GemmaBulosIf you’re listening to this broadcast, the chances are you can get clean drinking water right from your kitchen sink. But much of the world’s population does not have that luxury. In rural sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization estimates that only about half of the population has access to clean water, and only 23% have access to hygienic sanitation facilities. The burden of this problem falls disproportionately on women and girls who literally carry the water for their communities. Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Gemma Bulos, the Executive Director and co-founder of an organization that works to solve the problem by empowering women as technicians and community leaders who build and sustain water-access technology.  Bulos explains how the Global Women’s Water Initiative builds capacity, the connection between water access and girls’ education, and the story of how she arrived at this world-changing work.

Abrahm Lustgarten: Water Management Breakdown

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AbrahmLustgartenDiscussions about the West’s epic drought tend to focus on the need to cut back on residential and agricultural water usage. The importance of water conservation during this record dry spell notwithstanding, sound water management turns out to be about a lot more than just water use. Today on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica, who is writing a multi-part series exposing unfortunate policies and practices vis-à-vis our most precious, life-sustaining resource. Continue reading

Parched: California Drought Update

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Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif.As Californians continue to look beseechingly to the skies for signs of any kind of rainfall, the effects of this drought are indeed far-reaching. The policies that emerge from this disastrously dry year may ultimately alter what foods we eat, where we build new homes and even what sports we play. Earlier this year, we heard from the President of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, as he told us of the critical nature of this drought, even in its early stages. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks again to Dr. Gleick for an update and to get a glimpse into the future of what a permanently drier California might mean for us all.

Jonathan Trent and the OMEGA Project

Nico-Marinexplore-trentJonathanTrentWhen life gives you lemons they say to make lemonade. And what if life gives you sewage released into an enclosed bay, what can you make? Certainly not lemonade, right? Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is NASA scientist and UC Santa Cruz professor, Jonathan Trent. He has figured out how to use algae to turn wastewater pollution into biofuel. This ambitious project, called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (or OMEGA) not only places algae where it can consume waste and excrete oils for fuel, it also creates spaces for low-impact aquaculture, captures CO2, and cleans pollutants out of bays.

The technology also converts wastewater to drinking water, which, with a little lemon and sugar could even be used to make, you guessed it, lemonade. Listen now as host Alex Wise talks with Dr. Trent, an inventor, pioneer, and visionary whose OMEGA project offers hope for fuel, food, water, and a cleaner world.

Peter Gleick on the California Drought

Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif.Drought2013 was the driest year on record in California, and the state’s snowpack is at 12% of what it should be. Considering that this state alone houses an eighth of the US population, maintains over 25 million acres of farmland with a GDP larger than that of Canada, the current California drought reaches well beyond the borders of the golden state. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Peter Gleick, President and Co-founder of the Pacific Institute. They discuss the realities and implications of the current water crisis, how better agricultural policy may help lessen its impact, and look at some of the innovations that have been developed in other arid geographies.

Post-Plastic Entrepreneurs

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Can you think of two everyday materials with a worse environmental rep than Styrofoam and plastic bottles? From production through disposal, these things produce toxic gasses, are major culprits in our single-use disposable culture, and are rapidly invading our oceans and destroying marine food chains. This week’s guests on Sea Change Radio are each working on eco-friendly alternatives to these environmental villains.
First, we hear from Eben Bayer, one of the founders of Ecovative, a company that has developed a mushrom-based alternative to extruded polystyrene foam (more commonly known by its copyrighted name, Styrofoam). He tells us how Ecovative’s biologically-based material is replacing packing materials, insulation and maybe soon food storage containers that were previously the exclusive domain of polluting, non-biodegradable stuff. Next, host Alex Wise talks to Rick Eye, CEO of Blue Can Pure Water, a company offering an alternative to those ubiquitous plastic water bottles: on-the-go water in aluminum cans. He explains why it has taken so long for this much better idea to spring up, and discusses how he’s doing his part to reduce plastic waste.

Ceres Conference Preview: Lester Snow and Bennett Freeman

BennettFreemanLesterSnowThe Ceres Conference is an annual gathering where organizations as different as the Sierra Club and Shell come together to discuss ways to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. On the eve of the conference which takes place May 1st and 2nd in San Francisco this year, we thought it would be worthwhile to get a sneak peek at some of the Ceres speakers.

This week on Sea Change Radio, we hear from two Ceres speakers. First, we are joined by Lester Snow, the executive director of the California Water Foundation. He gives us an overview of some compelling water issues concerning the American West. Then, host Alex Wise speaks to Bennett Freeman of Calvert Investments, an investment company that has been on the forefront of the socially responsible investment movement since the 1980s.