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Wave of jellyfish shuts down Swedish nuke reactor ("nature brings down a behemoth; not the last time")

Wave of jellyfish shuts down Swedish nuke reactor ("nature brings down a behemoth; not the last time") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
It wasn't a tsunami but it had the same effect: A huge cluster of jellyfish forced one of the world's largest nuclear reactors to shut down -- a phenomenon that marine biologists say could become more common.

Operators of the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden had to scramble reactor number three on Sunday after tons of jellyfish clogged the pipes that bring in cool water to the plant's turbines.

Jellyfish are not a new problem for nuclear power plants. Last year the California-based Diablo Canyon facility had to shut its reactor two after gobs of sea salp -- a gelatinous, jellyfish-like organism -- clogged intake pipes. In 2005, the first unit at Oskarshamn was temporarily turned off due to a sudden jellyfish influx.

Nuclear power plants need a constant flow of water to cool their reactor and turbine systems, which is why many such plants are built near large bodies of water.

Marine biologists, meanwhile, say they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns occur in the future.


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Great Barrier Reef needs $10bn for chance of survival, scientists say ("this reef's future is bleak")

Great Barrier Reef needs $10bn for chance of survival, scientists say ("this reef's future is bleak") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

This election is Australia’s last chance to save the reef, which requires $1bn a year for 10 years to reduce water pollution to give it a chance to survive climate change, report warns

The government needs to commit to $1bn a year for 10 years to reduce water pollution, which would give the reef a chance to survive the impacts of climate change, according to the paper published in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 

“This is the last chance,” said the lead author, Jon Brodie from James Cook University. “The current spending is totally inadequate ... You either do it properly or you give up on the reef. It’s that bad.”

Climate change is dramatically impacting the reef, with warm water causing 93% of coral reefs to bleach this year. It is the worst bleaching event ever seen in the Great Barrier Reef. Mass bleaching events were never seen before 1998. 

The reef’s ability to recover from bleaching is hampered by water pollution, caused largely by nearby land-clearing, as well as fertiliser and pesticide run-off from farming. Fishing also damages the reef’s resilience by disrupting the ecosystems that support healthy coral. 

Brodie and his colleague Richard Pearson analysed all the current management plans, evaluated their impacts and developed an estimate of what would be needed to give the reef a fighting chance against already locked-in climate change. The required measures would cost $10bn over 10 years. Brodie said that would get water quality to a point where the reef was in the best shape possible to fight the impact of climate change.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is the last chance for Australia. They either do it properly or they give up on the reef. It’s that bad!

"Some of the required measures could be controversial, including buybacks of some sugarcane farms that are too polluting. But Brodie said many of those farms were not particularly profitable and many farmers would be happy to sell the land.
"The $10bn needed by 2025 amounted to $1bn a year. But since the reef was estimated to generate up to $20bn a year for the Australian economy, that amounted to just 5% of its economic value for a limited time."
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Taiwanese chemical spill thought to cause mass fish die-off in Vietnam ("chemical warfare at sea")

Taiwanese chemical spill thought to cause mass fish die-off in Vietnam ("chemical warfare at sea") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The incident is shaping up as a classic conflict between industrialization and the environment, a catastrophe for tens of thousands of fishermen and their families, and a test of the management skills and political acumen of Vietnam’s new leaders.

Vietnam has bet its future on its ability to attract — and learn from — foreign investors. It has a young workforce, low wage rates and a streamlined approval process for investment. Foreign capital has surged into VN in the last few years, much of it bearing the prestigious marques of multinational corporations.

Now a devastating fish kill along the nation’s central coast has Vietnam’s government tied up in knots and its citizens muttering that the regime has been far too ready to drop environmental protection standards.

Circumstantial evidence points to a massive release of toxic chemicals at Vung Ang, a bay on Vietnam’s north central coast, on April 4. Prevailing currents carried the poisons south-southeast along the heavily indented coastline for approximately 200 kilometers.

When Vietnam’s national media picked up the story circa April 24, units of Vietnam’s Fisheries Agency had already counted some 70 tons of dead fish washed up on the beaches of four provinces. Subsequently there were also reports of the collateral decimation of fish-eating seabird colonies.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is a classic case of industrialization killing the environment. Vietnam wanted quick progress, but they are paying a high environmental price.

"The blow to the economy of the four provinces has been considerable: in particular, thousands of fishermen idled, the markets emptied of seafood, and a sharp fall-off in tourist visitors."
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Florida Reefs Are Dissolving Much Sooner Than Expected ("more bad news for helpless sea life")

Florida Reefs Are Dissolving Much Sooner Than Expected ("more bad news for helpless sea life") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Ocean acidification is causing reefs in Florida to dissolve decades ahead of previous predictions.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this fast. 

Some of the reefs around the Florida Keys are dissolving. They may have crossed a tipping point due to increasing ocean acidification, raising the alarm that climate change impacts in the ocean are continuing to happen at a much quicker pace than scientists previously suspected.

Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are making seas more acidic. That makes it harder for coral to build up their skeletons. 

Scientists expected that the rising tide of acidic waters would cross a tipping point and start dissolving reefs by mid-century. But some of Florida’s reefs appear to be getting a head start, according to research published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles on Monday. 

Scientists sampled seven sites across the 300-mile stretch of reefs stretching from Miami south to Key West. The findings show that the northern stretches of the reefs and their limestone bases are already dissolving. 

“Those reefs are starting to waste away,” Chris Landon, a researcher at the University of Miami who helped lead research, said. “Each year there will be a little less limestone than the year before.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
The climate problem extends to the oceans, where we can do very little. Ocean acidification is not only bleaching corals, they are being dissolved! What now?

"Scientists have started looking at what coral beat the heat in hopes of creating super corals that can survive in our warming oceans. But Langdon’s research shows that their efforts could be for naught because ocean acidification could eat away at the building blocks those corals will need to flourish (or at least survive)."
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UN Predicts 40 Percent Water Shortfall by 2030 | Inter Press Service ("can be cause of future wars")

UN Predicts 40 Percent Water Shortfall by 2030 | Inter Press Service ("can be cause of future wars") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Ten presidents and prime ministers from around the world will work together to resolve the growing global water crisis amid warnings that the world may face a 40 percent shortfall in water availability by 2030. 
The figures continue to be staggering: despite improvements, at least 663 million still do not have access to safe drinking water. 
And projecting into the future, the United Nations says an estimated 1.8 billion people – out of a total world population of over 7 billion – will live in countries or regions with water scarcities. 
The crisis has been aggravated by several factors, including climate change (triggering droughts) and military conflicts (where water is being used as a weapon of war in several war zones, including Iraq, Yemen and Syria).
At a UN panel discussion last week, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson of Sweden said water lies at the nexus between sustainable development and climate action.
Referring to the two extremes in weather patterns– droughts on the one hand and floods on the other – Eliasson said one of his colleagues who visited Pakistan after a huge flood, remarked: “Too much water and not a drop to drink.”
Bert Guevara's insight:
The prospects are alarming, considering that water is a matter of survival. Yet, I do not see the sense of urgency in our country. We are not storing, reusing, recycling nor conserving water.
Droughts are now raising the level of unrest in the countryside.

"Currently, nearly two billion people worldwide are estimated to be drinking water which may be faecally contaminated....
“As we address water, sanitation and hygiene, we must also take into account climate change. Droughts, floods, and extreme weather conditions all have an effect on the availability and the safety of water,” said Wijesekera.
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There’s a Hopeful Message Hidden in These Dead Reefs ("assisted evolution is possible to save corals")

There’s a Hopeful Message Hidden in These Dead Reefs ("assisted evolution is possible to save corals") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Coral that survived a massive bleaching event could hold a climate change adaptation secret.

Once vibrant reefs, some of the most pristine on the planet, were almost completely dead. Brownish red algae was draped across them like a funeral shroud. Hot water brought on by one of the strongest El Niños on record — layered on top of climate change-driven warming — was simply too much for the reefs to take. There were exceptions, though — tiny pieces of baby coral that are beating the odds. And those exceptions could give scientists insight into how to make sure climate change doesn’t completely destroy reefs around the world.

After months of being cooked by extremely warm water, around 80 percent of the coral was already dead and another 15 percent was in the process of bleaching by April, according to Baum. Rather than writing a eulogy, the researchers found a sliver of hope in that 5 percent that survived. Well, a nubbin of hope actually. “There were these little nubbins of color,” Cobb said. “My eye was drawn to them and my hopes and heart were drawn to them.”

“This was a threshold crossing event very few individuals made it through,” Cobb said. “We’re really interested in understanding who is coming back and how well are they able to thrive and and what the role of these resilient little miracle corals is. This is basically adaptation on speed.” In addition to Cobb’s nubbins, Baum and her group also found survivors on some of the 200 dives they did. On the surface, there’s not necessarily an obvious rhyme or reason for why certain coral species survived let alone individual colonies.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Positive human intervention may be a good alternative in rescuing the coral population. If man-made climate change accelerated acidification, then man-made "assisted evolution" may do some good. 
Wasn't man created to manage creation?

"The findings could help scientists create super corals that are adapted to future warmer waters. It’s a process called assisted evolution, and it’s highly controversial in the marine conservation field where protected areas are viewed as the gold standard for keeping ocean species safe from the ravages of climate change, fishing and other human actions. But after witnessing what happened at Christmas Island, Baum thinks it could be essential if we want coral in our future."
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Study: Science-based regulations needed to protect region’s coral reefs - News ("smart conservation")

Study: Science-based regulations needed to protect region’s coral reefs - News ("smart conservation") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
An international team, led by University of Queensland (UQ) researchers, has found that tighter fishery regulations are needed to preserve corals of the Caribbean. 
Researcher Dr Yves-Marie Bozec, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said herbivorous parrotfish were needed because they eat seaweed, which can smother coral and prevent corals from recovering. 
“While several countries in the Caribbean have taken the bold step of banning the fishing of parrotfish (including Belize, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos Islands), parrotfish fisheries remain in much of the region,” Dr Bozec said. 
The research team analysed the effects of fishing on parrotfish and combined this with an analysis of the role of parrotfish on coral reefs. 
“We conclude that unregulated fisheries will seriously reduce the resilience of coral reefs,” Dr Bozec said. “However, implementation of size limits and catch limits to less than 10 per cent of the fishable stock provide a far better outlook for reefs, while also allowing the fishery to persist.” 
Study co-author Professor Peter Mumby from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences said a number of countries wanted to modify their fisheries to reduce impacts on reefs. “What we’ve done is identify fisheries’ policies that might help achieve this,” Professor Mumby said.
“Ultimately, the more we do to maintain healthy coral reefs, the more likely it is that fishers’ livelihoods will be sustained into the future,” Professor Mumby said. 
“We already know that failure to maintain coral habitats will lead to at least a threefold reduction in future fish catches,” he added. 
Bert Guevara's insight:
"A new study has shown that Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing mounting pressure from global warming, local pollution and over-fishing of herbivorous fish and that fresh science-based fishery regulations are needed if coral reefs are to have a future in the face of climate change."
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NOAA declares third ever global coral bleaching event ("severe bleaching is often lethal")

NOAA declares third ever global coral bleaching event ("severe bleaching is often lethal") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

NOAA declares third ever global coral bleaching event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. Waters are warming in the Caribbean, threatening coral in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NOAA scientists said. Coral bleaching began in the Florida Keys and South Florida in August, but now scientists expect bleaching conditions there to diminish.

“The coral bleaching and disease, brought on by climate change and coupled with events like the current El Niño, are the largest and most pervasive threats to coral reefs around the world,” said Mark Eakin, NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch coordinator. “As a result, we are losing huge areas of coral across the U.S., as well as internationally. What really has us concerned is this event has been going on for more than a year and our preliminary model projections indicate it’s likely to last well into 2016.” While corals can recover from mild bleaching, severe or long-term bleaching is often lethal. After corals die, reefs quickly degrade and the structures corals build erode. This provides less shoreline protection from storms and fewer habitats for fish and other marine life, including ecologically and economically important species.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"Coral can recover from mild bleaching, but severe bleaching is often lethal."

“To solve the long-term, global problem, however, we need to better understand how to reduce the unnatural carbon dioxide levels that are the major driver of the warming.”
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Tourism in Puerto Princesa affected by water shortage ("progress faster than what island can carry")

Residents of Puerto Princesa will have limited water supply starting next week, after city officials implemented a water rationing schedule. - The Worl
Bert Guevara's insight:
The carrying capacity of nature provides a limit to human activity. In this case, water supply directly affects tourism. 
It was fortunate that the citizens of Puerto Princessa are one of the most eco-conscious communities of the country. Inspite of all the tree planting and water conservation programs, the city is still hit by lack of water.
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The global coal industry is using as much water as a billion people each year ("the other bad side")

The global coal industry is using as much water as a billion people each year ("the other bad side") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A new report reveals just how much water is being used up by the global coal industry each year, and it's an alarming amount.

We already know that coal-fired power plants are bad for the planet, but that’s usually because we are just thinking about the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide emissions they contribute to our atmosphere. A new Greenpeace report entitled The Great Water Grab sheds light on another terrifying aspect of the coal industry – its astronomical water consumption. The report suggests that the global coal industry uses the same amount of water that would serve one billion people each year. Because coal plants are often situated in water-scarce areas of the world, this adds up to a devastating misuse of Earth’s precious resources.

The Greenpeace report evaluated the water usage of 8,359 existing coal plants as well as 2,668 planned plants around the world. Most of the water consumed by the coal industry is used as a coolant during energy production, but some water is also used when coal is extracted from the ground—usually to keep coal dust from escaping. The new report, published this week, says as many as 44 percent of the coal-fired power plants are located in regions where water supplies are already threatened, pitting people against industry in a fight for survival.

In a head-shaking realization, the report found that one-quarter of the planned power plants are in places struggling with accelerated groundwater depletion, further increasing the risks for sinkholes. Of particular interest to Greenpeace is the coal industry’s growth in China, where more than 200 new plants are planned, despite the nation’s recent commitments to slashing carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. The report claims coal plants in the northern part of the country are contributing to a worsening drought, to the point that even the plants themselves are not able to continue operating at full capacity. Yet, the government has not shut them down.

Bert Guevara's insight:
"A new Greenpeace report entitled The Great Water Grab sheds light on another terrifying aspect of the coal industry – its astronomical water consumption. The report suggests that the global coal industry uses the same amount of water that would serve one billion people each year. Because coal plants are often situated in water-scarce areas of the world, this adds up to a devastating misuse of Earth’s precious resources."
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See Where Access to Clean Water Is Getting Better—and Worse ("much was done but still many deprived")

See Where Access to Clean Water Is Getting Better—and Worse ("much was done but still many deprived") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Nearly 2.6 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water in the last 25 years. That still leaves about 663 million without sanitary water.

In 1990, as part of the Millennium Development Goals, the UN set a target to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. The world hit this goal in 2010, and as of 2015, some 90 percent of the world’s people now have access to “improved” water—water from sources such as pipes or wells that are protected from contamination, primarily fecal matter.

Rural Areas Have Had Greatest Gains 

The sharp decline in the number of people without access to safe drinking water masks an important divide. In urban areas, the population without access has remained relatively flat, while in rural areas, access has improved.

But Urban Access Is Still Greater 

Even though access has grown across rural communities, much remains to be done. Eight out of ten people without access to clean water live in rural areas. In fact, 84 percent of people in rural areas have safe drinking water, compared with 96 percent in urban areas.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The access to clean water has reached 2.6B people in the last 25 years. But before we start congratulating ourselves, there are still 663M without sanitary water. 
Many of those who are enjoying the water are misusing it or making it so unclean for the use of the next generation.
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Matthew Taylor's curator insight, March 24, 11:24 AM
Doing humanitarian aid in developing countries has always been a goal of mine in the next 5 years. 
 
This article indentifies areas in the world which have an economic water scarcity. Economic water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in water infrastructure or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand of water in areas where the population cannot afford to use an adequate source of water.
 
Access to clean water is a necessity which I believe all individuals of a society should have access to. When a society has access to these necessities they can more forward in their economic progression to focus on more commercial practices helping to improve their society as a whole. Hence improving health and safety within a society.
 
This article helped me identify which areas in the world need support to access clean water.
 
 
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Ocean Acidification Is Slowing Coral Reef Growth ("not too much due to overfishing and pollution")

Ocean Acidification Is Slowing Coral Reef Growth ("not too much due to overfishing and pollution") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
This is bad news for coral, because as oceans get more and more acidic, coral could begin to dissolve faster than it can be rebuilt.

Scientists already knew that corals’ growth rates have slowed in recent years — Ken Caldeira, one of the scientists who led Wednesday’s study, also led previous research which found that corals were growing 40 percent slower in 2008 and 2009 than they had in 1975 and 1976. But until Wednesday’s study, it wasn’t clear how much of that slowdown in growth could be attributed to ocean acidification, and how much was due to factors such as pollution and overfishing. Wednesday’s study, which is also the first to show coral growth under pre-industrial conditions in a natural ecosystem — rather than in a lab or aquarium — provides evidence that acidifying water is what’s to blame for this slowdown in growth.

That’s bad news for coral, because as oceans get more and more acidic, coral could begin to dissolve faster than it can be rebuilt, Caldeira, senior scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Science, told ThinkProgress.

“The reef is constantly growing, but at the same time there are parrotfish chewing on it, and different organisms which balance the growth and loss of the coral reef,” he said. “The projections are that as you go into the future, if you continue current emissions trends, the amount of growth [the reefs] put in each day won’t be able to keep up with dissolution of the reefs, and reefs will start losing mass and eventually disappear.”


Bert Guevara's insight:

What is really destroying our corals? Is it pollution? Is it over fishing? NO, it's ACIDIFICATION!

 

"... that corals were growing 40 percent slower in 2008 and 2009 than they had in 1975 and 1976. But until Wednesday’s study, it wasn’t clear how much of that slowdown in growth could be attributed to ocean acidification, and how much was due to factors such as pollution and overfishing. Wednesday’s study, which is also the first to show coral growth under pre-industrial conditions in a natural ecosystem — rather than in a lab or aquarium — provides evidence that acidifying water is what’s to blame for this slowdown in growth."

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Why We're Not Prepared for The Coming Decades of Sea Level Rise ("leaders look away from inevitable")

Why We're Not Prepared for The Coming Decades of Sea Level Rise ("leaders look away from inevitable") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Sea levels rose faster in the 1900s than any of the previous 27 centuries and will continue to rise at record rates

Average sea levels around the world rose by 5.5 inches (14 cm) in the 20th century. That’s substantially higher than the maximum 2.8 inches (7 cm) that would have been expected without warming from manmade climate change.

The research adds to growing evidence that communities around the world are vastly unprepared to defend against the effects of sea level rise in the coming decades. Rising sea levels erode coasts and place coastal cities in danger. Even areas that may seem safe will be vulnerable to floods that could inundate entire cities and contaminate freshwater supplies.

Despite warnings from Strauss and others, researchers say that cuts could still save coastal cities and habitats across the globe. Sea levels will rise by a much 4.3 feet (1.3 m) by 2100 if humans continue to emit at current rates. That figure could be reduced to as low as 0.8 feet (0.24 m) if humans peak and then reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Achieving such reductions won’t be an easy feat. Countries from around the world agreed in Paris last December to try to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 3.6°F (2°C) by 2100. Even if that goal is achieved—some are rightfully skeptical—sea levels are still expected to rise far beyond 0.8 ft (0.24 m). That could erase low-lying island countries like Kiribati and affect coastal cities on the Atlantic coast of the United States.

“If we cut carbon emissions aggressively, we can save a lot of cities in the United States and globally,” says Strauss, who serves as vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central. “But, even if we do our best, there are some places we probably won’t be able to protect.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Communities living near the sea, like most coastal Philippine towns, are feeling the threat of sea level rise. The sad news is, there is little they can do because the solution requires a global effort.


"Countries from around the world agreed in Paris last December to try to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 3.6°F (2°C) by 2100. Even if that goal is achieved—some are rightfully skeptical—sea levels are still expected to rise far beyond 0.8 ft (0.24 m). That could erase low-lying island countries like Kiribati and affect coastal cities on the Atlantic coast of the United States."

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Overfishing causing global catches to fall 3x faster than estimated ("lack of respect for oceans")

Overfishing causing global catches to fall 3x faster than estimated ("lack of respect for oceans") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Landmark new study that includes small-scale, subsistence and illegal fishing shows a strong decline in catches as more fisheries are exhausted

Global fish catches are falling three times faster than official UN figures suggest, according to a landmark new study, with overfishing to blame.

Seafood is the critical source of protein for more than 2.5 billion people, but over-exploitation is cutting the catch by more than 1m tonnes a year.

The official catch data, provided by nations to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), rarely includes small-scale, sport or illegal fishing and does not count fish discarded at sea. To provide a better estimate, more than 400 researchers around the world spent a decade finding other data to fill in the gaps.

The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, show the annual catches between 1950 and 2010 were much bigger than thought, but that the decline after the peak year of 1996 was much faster than official figures.

The FAO data indicated a catch of 86m tonnes in 1996, then a decline of 0.4m tonnes per year. In contrast, the new research estimates the peak catch was 130m tonnes, but declined at 1.2m tonnes per year afterwards.

“Our results differ very strongly from those of the FAO,” said Prof Daniel Pauly, at the University of British Columbia in Canada and who led the work. “Our results indicate that the decline is very strong and is not due to countries fishing less. It is due to countries having fished too much and having exhausted one fishery after another.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our oceans are not unlimited sources of fish. If we don't respect sea-life, it may be gone sooner than we think.


"Global fish catches rose from the 1950s to 1996 as fishing fleets expanded and discovered new fish stocks to exploit. But after 1996, few undiscovered fisheries were left and catches started to decline. “It was never really sustainable,” said Pauly. The decline since 1996 has largely been in fish caught by industrial fleets and to a lesser extent a cut in the number of unwanted fish discarded at sea."

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Oceans won’t have enough oxygen in as little as 15 years ("marine eco-system balance makes less O2")

Oceans won’t have enough oxygen in as little as 15 years ("marine eco-system balance makes less O2") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Fish in the Pacific could struggle for survival.

While ocean deoxygenation is well established, a new study led by Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, finds that climate change-driven oxygen loss is already detectable in certain swaths of ocean and will likely be “widespread” by 2030 or 2040.

Ultimately, Long told The Huffington Post, oxygen-deprived oceans may have “significant impacts on marine ecosystems” and leave some areas of ocean all but uninhabitable for certain species. 

While some ocean critters, like dolphins and whales, get their oxygen by surfacing, many, including fish and crabs, rely on oxygen that either enters the water from the atmosphere or is released by phytoplankton via photosynthesis. 

But as the ocean surface warms, it absorbs less oxygen. And to make matters worse, oxygen in warmer water, which is less dense, has a tough time circulating to deeper waters. 

For their study, published in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Long and his team used simulations to predict ocean deoxygenation through 2100. 

“Since oxygen concentrations in the ocean naturally vary depending on variations in winds and temperature at the surface, it’s been challenging to attribute any deoxygenation to climate change,” Long said in a statement. “This new study tells us when we can expect the impact from climate change to overwhelm the natural variability.”

And we don’t have long.

Bert Guevara's insight:
What have we done to our oceans? It is now losing its oxygen supply - deoxygenation! The ocean eco-system imbalance is causing this. Is man responsible for this? YES!

"It should come as no surprise that human activity is causing the world’s oceans to warm, rise, and acidify.
"But an equally troubling impact of climate change is that it is beginning to rob the oceans of oxygen."
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'A silent catastrophe': Chilean fishermen protest failure to mitigate toxic 'red tide'

'A silent catastrophe': Chilean fishermen protest failure to mitigate toxic 'red tide' | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Thousands of fishermen are protesting the government’s failure to mitigate effects of a poisonous ‘red tide’ agal bloom scientists call largest in history

Thousands of Chilean fishermen have blocked roads with barricades in the region of Los Lagos, saying government efforts to mitigate the economic effects of a harmful algal bloom have been insufficient. 

For the last four weeks, the southern-central region of Los Lagos has been plagued by what scientists say is the biggest “red tide” in its history. 

The red tide – an algal bloom that turns the sea water red – is a common, naturally recurring phenomenon in southern Chile, though the extent of the current outbreak is unprecedented. 

Scientists point to an unusually strong El Niño weather pattern this year as a key factor. 

It makes the mussels, hake, and other fish that residents pull from the ocean essentially poisonous, heaping economic pressure on a region with tens of thousands of artisanal fishermen.

Artisanal fishing unions have blamed the size of the red tide on pollution by Chile’s farmed salmon industry, which is active in the Los Lagos region. 

However, Chile’s Sernapesca fisheries body as well as many scientists have rejected that explanation, pointing to natural factors such as the cyclical El Niño weather pattern, which warms part of the Pacific Ocean and has also caused heavy rain and flooding elsewhere in the region.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When biodiversity is disturbed, all forms of destruction breaks loose! Together with El Niño, this Red Tide phenomenon became the largest in history.
This can also happen in the Philippines as we have both El Nino and red tide occurring naturally.

"Scientists point to an unusually strong El Niño weather pattern this year as a key factor. It makes the mussels, hake, and other fish that residents pull from the ocean essentially poisonous, heaping economic pressure on a region with tens of thousands of artisanal fishermen."
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Crude oil is flooding Texas rivers ("this man-made water pollution in a flooded state is alarming")

Crude oil is flooding Texas rivers ("this man-made water pollution in a flooded state is alarming") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Texas' floods have a nasty side effect: chemicals and crude oil in the water.

Dramatic, deadly flooding is the new normal for parts of Texas and Louisiana this past year. This weekend, a single flash flood killed six people. But the damage often doesn’t end when the skies are finally clear. In Texas — a state dotted with oil wells — extreme flooding can also mean contaminated water. 

According to El Paso Times, chemicals and oil from overfilled wells and fracking sites have flushed into majors rivers. Texas officials have reportedly taken dozens of images of waterways polluted with crude oil and fracking chemicals, which show the “sheens and plumes spreading from tipped tanks and flooded production sites.” Affected waterways include the Sabine River on the Texas-Louisiana border, which flooded in March, and the Trinity, Red, and Colorado rivers, which flooded last year. 

“That’s a potential disaster,” Dr. Walter Tsou, a physician and past president of the American Public Health Association, told the El Paso Times. “I’m sure it will get into the groundwater and streams and creeks.” 

Fracking, of course, is the inherently toxic and increasingly common industry practice of injecting massive amounts of water laced with cocktail of chemicals into the earth to fracture underground shales with deposits of oil or natural gas. Crude oil spills are never pretty, least of all when they destroy habitats.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When regular flooding happens in a state polluted by crude oil and fracking chemicals, then the residents are in big trouble! The next bad news will come from their groundwater.

"According to El Paso Times, chemicals and oil from overfilled wells and fracking sites have flushed into majors rivers. Texas officials have reportedly taken dozens of images of waterways polluted with crude oil and fracking chemicals, which show the “sheens and plumes spreading from tipped tanks and flooded production sites.”
“That’s a potential disaster,” Dr. Walter Tsou, a physician and past president of the American Public Health Association, told the El Paso Times. “I’m sure it will get into the groundwater and streams and creeks.”
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Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Has Dropped 97% ("give this fish a break before they are all gone")

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Has Dropped 97% ("give this fish a break before they are all gone") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The latest scientific assessment paints a likely bleak future for the Pacific bluefin tuna.

The latest scientific assessment paints a likely bleak future for the Pacific bluefin tuna, a sushi lovers’ favorite whose population has dropped by more than 97% from its historic levels. 

A draft summary of a report by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean seen by The Associated Press shows the current population of bluefin tuna is estimated at 2.6% of its “unfished” size. A previous assessment put the population at an already dire 4.2%. 

Overfishing has continued despite calls to reduce catches to allow the species to recover. In some areas, bluefin tuna is harvested at triple the levels considered to be sustainable. 

“The situation is really as bad as it appears,” said Amanda Nickson, director for Global Tuna Conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Limits imposed after the previous estimates actually allowed some countries to up their catches, she said.

“If those managers again fail to act in a conservation-minded way this time, it may be time for other actions, such as an international trade ban or complete fishing moratorium,” Nickson said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Can our chefs start crossing out tuna dishes from their menu?
Recent reports from Gen. Santos City, the Philippines' tuna capital, reveal that short-term fishing bans resulted in a modest recovery of the tuna population.

"An earlier estimate put the 2014 population of the bluefin at 26,000 tons. The most recent reduced that estimate by 9,000 tons, to 17,000 tons. 
"If the population of Pacific bluefins drops much further, it may no longer be economically feasible to fish for them. 
"At that point, “Pacific bluefin would be considered commercially extinct,” Nickson said."
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The Business Case for Science-Based Water Targets ("everyone knows problem but solutions disunited")

The Business Case for Science-Based Water Targets ("everyone knows problem but solutions disunited") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A World Resources Institute analyst points out that while companies and governments have found consistency in how they approach carbon emissions and climate change, a standardized approach toward water stewardship is lacking.

It has become even more obvious that water scarcity poses one of the largest overall risks to the planet, and therefore, to businesses worldwide. Despite successes in boosting water access to more people across the globe, the United Nations made water and sanitation one of its foremost sustainability goals. The U.N. estimates that by 2050, when 9 billion people are expected to live on Earth, one in four citizens will be affected by chronic water shortages. The World Economic Forum identified water crises as the world’s largest economic risks over the next decade. Furthermore, Ceres, an NGO that advocates for sustainability leadership within the private sector, has long pushed for more proactive water stewardship, from more action at the corporate board level to pushing insurance companies to take water scarcity more seriously. More companies are paying attention to water-related challenges, but the road ahead is still a very long one. But as Paul Reig of the World Resources Institute (WRI) points out, while companies and governments have found consistency in how they approach carbon emissions and climate change, a standardized approach toward economic risks related to water is seriously lacking. According to Reig, three main challenges stand in the way of businesses tackling challenges related to water scarcity. First, a one-size-fits-all approach toward water stewardship is not tenable as water risks vary greatly depending on location. Reig reminds us that in the case of emissions, the impact of greenhouse gases is the same everywhere. But with water, the risks and solutions are far more complex. Water is a local source, not one that is global. What is the source of water across a company’s value chain? Where is that water discharged? Are there ways in which water use can not only be more optimized, but even reused so that companies score an economic benefit?

Bert Guevara's insight:
"First, a one-size-fits-all approach toward water stewardship is not tenable as water risks vary greatly depending on location. Reig reminds us that in the case of emissions, the impact of greenhouse gases is the same everywhere. But with water, the risks and solutions are far more complex. Water is a local source, not one that is global. What is the source of water across a company’s value chain? Where is that water discharged? Are there ways in which water use can not only be more optimized, but even reused so that companies score an economic benefit?"
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36 per cent of coral reefs on death watch due to global warming, El Nino ("we can only watch death")

36 per cent of coral reefs on death watch due to global warming, El Nino ("we can only watch death") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

While dramatic images of unprecedented total bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are stunning the world, thousands of miles to the east conditions are somehow even worse.

The coral on the sea floor around the Pacific island of Kiritimati looked like a boneyard in November — stark, white and lifeless. But there was still some hope. This month, color returned with fuzzy reds and browns — but that's not good news. Algae has overtaken the lifeless coral on what had been some of the most pristine coral reefs on the planet, said University of Victoria coral reef scientist Julia Baum after dozens of dives in the past week. Maybe 5 percent will survive, she estimated.

"What it really looks like is a ghost town," Baum said. "It's as if the buildings are standing but no one's home." Kiritimati is where El Nino, along with global warming, has done the most damage to corals in the past two years, experts said. While dramatic images of unprecedented total bleaching on Australia's Great Barrier Reef are stunning the world, thousands of miles to the east conditions are somehow even worse. "This El Nino has its most powerful grip right at this spot," said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb in a telephone interview from the island 2,000 miles south of Hawaii.

About 36 per cent of the world's coral reefs — 72 per cent of the U.S. reefs — are in such warm water they are under official death watch, and that could rise to up to 60 per cent of the world's coral by July, said Mark Eakin, the coral reef watch coordinator for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Eakin said Kiritimati was the worst he's seen, with American Samoa a close second.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Coral reefs are important for fishing; nearly half a billion people rely on coral reef marine life for food, Eakin said. 
"Coral reefs cover only one-tenth of one per cent of the sea floor but are home to 25 per cent of all marine species..."

"It's the heat that's killing the coral. In December, temperatures at Kiritimati peaked at 88.5 degrees (31.4 degrees Celsius) and have been about 5 to 7 degrees warmer than normal. That's the kind of temperature spike that can be the difference between life and death for coral, Eakin said. 
"Water temperatures around the island are nearly a degree Fahrenheit warmer than the last big El Nino, in 1997-98, and the damage is far worse, likely an assist from man-made warming on top of the natural transitory warming from El Nino, Cobb said."
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Antarctic loss could double expected sea level rise by 2100, scientists say ("future not good")

Antarctic loss could double expected sea level rise by 2100, scientists say ("future not good") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

If carbon emissions continue unabated, expanding oceans and massive ice melt would threaten global coastal communities, according to new projections.

Sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, according to new research published Wednesday. The main reason? Antarctica. Scientists behind a new study published in the journal Nature used sophisticated computer models to decipher a longstanding riddle about how the massive, mostly uninhabited continent surrendered so much ice during previous warm periods on Earth. They found that similar conditions in the future could lead to monumental and irreversible increases in sea levels. If high levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, they concluded, oceans could rise by close to two meters in total (more than six feet) by the end of the century. The melting of ice on Antarctica alone could cause seas to rise more than 15 meters (49 feet) by 2500. The startling findings paint a far grimmer picture than current consensus predictions, which have suggested that seas could rise by just under a meter at most by the year 2100. Those estimates relied on the notion that expanding ocean waters and the melting of relatively small glaciers would fuel the majority of sea level rise, rather than the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Most people are still downplaying the dangers of sea level rise. Recently however, the forecasted rise has doubled because of the polar melting. Check out this article to find out.

“People should not look at this as a futuristic scenario of things that may or may not happen. They should look at it as the tragic story we are following right now,” said Eric Rignot, an expert on Antarctica’s ice sheet and an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in Wednesday’s study. “We are not there yet … [But] with the current rate of emissions, we are heading that way.”
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Great Barrier Reef: aerial survey reveals extent of coral bleaching ("the tragedy slowly happening")

Great Barrier Reef: aerial survey reveals extent of coral bleaching ("the tragedy slowly happening") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

James Cook University professor Terry Hughes says he flew over 600km of reef and more than 60% was bleached

An aerial survey is revealing the worst bleaching ever seen on northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, as the scientist leading the survey live-tweets the devastation and pleads for the world to take action on climate change. Last week Terry Hughes, a professor at James Cook University and convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, told Guardian Australia he planned to hire a charter plane and map the bleaching to see how bad it was. They would start from Cairns and fly north, he said. “We’ll expand that initial aerial survey to crisscross the whole northern region and map it all out.” Now, using both planes and helicopters, Hughes has found what he says is the worst bleaching in the region he has ever seen. On Tuesday, Hughes said he surveyed 600km of reef and found that more than 60% of it had been bleached.

That was just two days after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority raised the threat level of coral bleaching to the highest possible alert, “level 3” , indicating “severe regional bleaching” in the northernmost quarter of the 344,400 sq km marine park. On Wednesday Hughes upgraded to a helicopter and continued the survey.

Over the following days, Hughes tweeted photographs of reef after reef, all appearing stark white. On day three, he said only four of 400 reefs he saw were not bleached and that, while there had been bleaching in 1998 and 2002, this event was the worst.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Quietly and unnoticed, the ocean tragedy of coral bleaching is getting worse. Its impact on man is yet to be felt. By that time, it may be too late.

"Bleaching occurs when coral gets stressed, usually by heat, and it expels the colourful algae that live inside it, giving it its brilliant colour and providing it with most of the energy it needs. If it stays bleached for long enough, the corals die and the reefs risk being colonised by other organisms such as seaweed. 
"This bleaching event is linked to the current El Niño, which raises temperatures in the region, on top of climate change-induced warming."
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World Water Day 2016 ("what has happened to the world's water supply after 24 yrs of water advocacy?")

World Water Day 2016 ("what has happened to the world's water supply after 24 yrs of water advocacy?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

World Water Day 2016

The 24th World Water Day, which occurs on Tuesday with events held all over the world, will be celebrated by the Obama administration with a “White House Water Summit” in Washington, D.C. The administration’s conference theme is innovation, technology, and collaboration to build “a sustainable and secure water future.” 

Such language is a departure for senior leaders of the United States in evaluating the condition of the nation’s water. For almost all of its 240-year history, with only episodic interference from nature (the 1930s Dust Bowl), and one big intervention from man (the clean water campaigns of the 1960s and 1970s), the United States has been a place that largely took its water supply and quality for granted. Until very recently, when asked ‘Where does your water come from?’,’ most Americans replied, ‘The tap.’ 

How quickly things can change in a new century of rapid ecological and economic transformation that has put water supply and quality at the forefront of public priorities across the United States and around the world.

There is nothing like a four-year drought in America’s largest state, a two-year drought in its second largest state, the poisoning of hundreds of children exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint, and the poison algae that shuts public water systems and now blankets Lake Erie each summer to convince President Obama and his aides to pay attention. 

And there is ‘s nothing like water shortages in São Paulo, Brazil, a deep two-year drought that is crippling South Africa’s grain harvest, a Syrian civil water touched off by a four-year drought, and a Himalayan flood in India that killed an estimated 30,000 people and laid waste to big hydropower dams to attract the concern of global leaders.

Bert Guevara's insight:
More than just reminding ourselves of the value of water, there is an equal urgency to develop policies and technologies to enhance our water supply and improve water use.
Are we aware of the long term condition of our water resources?

"Coming soon for the United Nations and other important international institutions is the next great chapter in understanding water’s role in global affairs — the relationship between water and the international financial sector. Three of the world’s crucial economic sectors — agriculture, energy, and mining — are reeling due to changing hydrological cycles. 
"Those changes — more powerful and frequent floods, deeper and more frequent droughts — are factors in stranding valuable assets. Adequate supplies of water, and vulnerability to droughts and floods, areis starting to influence investment decisions surrounding trillions of dollars in play in global financial markets."
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Sea-level rises: why flooding is the next big business risk ("waterworld scenario is not far away")

Sea-level rises: why flooding is the next big business risk ("waterworld scenario is not far away") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A new market of insurers, risk analysts and designers are emerging to help businesses and homeowners prepare for rising sea levels

According to recent research, the world’s oceans rose by 14cm last century. If we’re lucky, that number will merely double during the course of this century. If we’re not, an almost tenfold increase could be in store. The potential economic damage is frightening. A study from Liverpool University found that floods in the UK in 2007 cost affected companies an average of £100,000 each. Those numbers will only rise. According to researchers in Germany, economic losses double for every 11cm increase in sea levels.

One company turning such projections to its advantage is Florida-based Coastal Risk Consulting. Founded by retired public-interest environmental lawyer Albert Slap, this specialist consultancy uses sophisticated surveying technology known as LIDAR to map the likelihood of highly localised sea level flood risks. For $99, homeowners in US coastal towns simply upload their zip code and get a 30-year “vulnerability assessment” report sent to their desktop. Coastal Risk Consulting says it has requests for around 1,000 such assessments per month and is looking at expanding outside North America. “We’re not going to just abandon trillions of dollars of coastal assets. The doom-and-gloom people who say we should run for the hills – that’s not going to happen either,” says Slap. “So we need to adapt. But to do that we need better information and that’s what technology can bring us.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
Insurers are doing serious assessment of losses from sea level rise and flooding. It's time to update the economic textbooks.

"Much depends on time frames, says Trevor Maynard, head of exposure management and reinsurance at Lloyd’s of London. Progressive adaptation steps, such as the use of flood-resilient building materials or locating key assets on higher ground, could actually bring risks down to below current levels. 
"Yet if global action on climate change fails and extreme sea-level rises occur as predicted, then the impacts would be of a greater magnitude. “We wouldn’t be talking about insurability at that point,” Maynard concedes. “We’d be talking about relocation.”
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Global Water Shortage Risk Is Worse Than Scientists Thought ("growing population = less per capita")

Global Water Shortage Risk Is Worse Than Scientists Thought ("growing population = less per capita") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
About two-thirds of the world's population faces water scarcity for at least one month during the year.

About 66 percent, which is 4 billion people, of the world's population lives without sufficient access to fresh water for at least one month of the year, according to a new paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances. 

Previous studies calculated a lower number, estimating that between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people lived with moderate to severe water scarcity for at least a month out of the year.

Scientists, led by Dr. Arjen Hoekstra of the Netherlands' University of Twente, used a computer model that is both more precise and comprehensive than previous studies have used to analyze how widespread water scarcity is across the globe. Their model considers multiple variables including: climate records, population density, irrigation and industry. 

“Up to now, this type of research concentrated solely on the scarcity of water on an annual basis, and had only been carried out in the largest river basins,” Hoekstrasaid in a statement. “That paints a more rosy and misleading picture, because water scarcity occurs during the dry period of the year.”

“The fact that the scarcity of water is being regarded as a global problem is confirmed by our research," Hoekstra added. "For some time now, the World Economic Forum has placed the world water crisis in the top three of global problems, alongside climate change and terrorism.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Time to raise the alert level? Wasteful use of water still prevalent.

 

"About 66 percent, which is 4 billion people, of the world's population lives without sufficient access to fresh water for at least one month of the year, according to a new paper published Friday in the journal Science Advances. 

"Previous studies calculated a lower number, estimating that between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people lived with moderate to severe water scarcity for at least a month out of the year."

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Flint isn't alone: America has a coast-to-coast toxic crisis ("what happens to victims after blunder")

Flint isn't alone: America has a coast-to-coast toxic crisis ("what happens to victims after blunder") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
There's a grim broader history of lead poisoning in the United States.

The price tag for replacing the lead pipes that contaminated its drinking water, thanks to the corrosive toxins found in the Flint River, is now estimated at up to $1.5 billion. No one knows where that money will come from or when it will arrive. In the meantime, the cost to the children of Flint has been and will be incalculable.  As little as a few specks of lead in the water children drink or in flakes of paint that come off the walls of old houses and are ingested can change the course of a life. The amount of lead dust that covers a thumbnail is enough to send a child into a coma or into convulsions leading to death. It takes less than a tenth of that amount to cause IQ loss, hearing loss, or behavioral problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the government agency responsible for tracking and protecting the nation’s health, says simply, “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”

President Obama would have good reason to worry if his kids lived in Flint. But the city’s children are hardly the only ones threatened by this public health crisis. There’s a lead crisis for children in Baltimore, Md.; Herculaneum, Miss.; Sebring, Ohio; and even the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.; and that’s just to begin a list. State reports suggest, for instance, that “18 cities in Pennsylvania and 11 in New Jersey may have an even higher share of children with dangerously elevated levels of lead than does Flint.” Today, scientists agree that there is no safe level of lead for children and at least half of American children have some of this neurotoxin in their blood. The CDC is especially concerned about the more than 500,000 American children who have substantial amounts of lead in their bodies. Over the past century, an untold number have had their IQs reduced, their school performances limited, their behaviors altered, and their neurological developmentundermined. From coast to coast, from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt, children have been and continue to be imperiled by a century of industrial production, commercial gluttony, and abandonment by the local, state, and federal governments that should have protected them. Unlike in Flint, the “crisis” seldom comes to public attention.

Bert Guevara's insight:

If America can't clean up its "dirty" act, how much more for poorer nations like the Philippines? As richer nations transfer their polluted industries to poor countries, in the guise of foreign investments, will they clean up long after they have taken home their profits?


"The president should be worried about Flint’s children and local, state, and federal authorities need to fix the pipes, sewers, and water supply of the city. Technically, this is a feasible, if expensive, proposition. It’s already clear, however, that thepolitical will is just not there even for this one community."

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