Thursday, August 03, 2006

water mainly

where we get our nasty water from - our local resources have become degraded, subject to 'diffuse pollution', over time

Struggling with ill-health and looking forward to being doped-up as from this morning, am still managing to keep up with a few things thanks to friends.

Last night attended a conversation-talk from the Californian climatologist and current Adelaide thinker-in-residence Stephen Schneider. I've written elsewhere on global warming and my tentative conclusions - but I can't find the stuff to link to. Anyway, I'm generally of the view that of course global warming is happening, and it's very likely that humans are contributing to it, though the extent of the human contribution is very difficult to determine, and the possibility of a natural cycle occurring can't be ruled out, especially given our limited historical data.

It's also fair to say that the global warming sceptics have rather more of a crusading, ideological tone to their arguments than the advocates, as for example, this anti-Schneider site. The evidence, in any case, is against them.

In any case, there are other reasons for energy-conservation and developing alternative, cleaner and greener energy resources. Reducing our own massive ecological footprint is inherently positive and improves the conditions for a greater diversity of species. Still, it would be worthwhile to know what we probably will never know, to any great degree of accuracy - whether, or how much we, as a species, are contributing to the hurricanes and other climatic conditions that have caused so much human suffering of late.

Water is another environmental issue much in the news. The failure of Toowoomba City Council's attempt to reuse waste water as its regular drinking or potable water supply has been something of a disappointment to those concerned about our current squandering of a scarce resource. I intend to bone up on this issue so that I can write some pieces informing myself and others on what looms as possibly the most important global issue for the 21st century. The June-July Cosmos magazine has an article on water as resource in Australia for starters. My initial feeling is that the negativity about the uses of recycled waste water isn't very soundly based (the yuk factor), and that it will be overcome over time, especially as reservoirs continue to fall, and no valid alternative is likely to present itself.

Partly related: I heard an interview with a dentist this morning on the subject of water and tooth decay. It seems that Australia has plummeted from having the best teeth in the developed world to having the second-worst. The drinking of bottled water and the avoidance of tap water is at least partly to blame. Certainly I won't be buying spring water ever again.



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