29 July 2016

This Week in Water

I apologize for the break in #ThisWeekInWater posting. I've dived in the Pacific and swam miles in the Atlantic, splashed through Appalachian mountain creeks and run through Georgia torrents in the interim—all the while trying to keep hydrated in the heat. Also, we married off a son at a beach wedding who is, even as I write this, on a honeymoon boat to the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Meanwhile, the world's water issues have not resolved themselves. So for the next few posts we'll be playing a bit of catch-up (if that's even possible).

Climate change—that is to say, global heating—is causing oxygen loss in vast areas of the Pacific, and some fear all life in the ocean may suffocate in the coming decades. This is a real thing.

"A key paper about the threats of climate change to World Heritage sites intentionally left off any mention of the Great Barrier Reef after the Australian government raised an objection..." to UNESCO

Sea level rise has already swallowed five islands in the Pacific's Solomon Islands. Scientists link the destructive rise to human-caused global warming.

Melting permafrost is further exacerbating global heating.

Unsustainable fishing is threatening to cause the extinction of some of the Philippines' largest fish.

Nearly a million gallons of molasses from a sugarcane processing plant spilled into a river in El Salvador, threatening wildlife and humans downstream as well.

Water levels in Lake Mead reached record lows, and despite a relatively wet winter, drought conditions in much of Southern California remain unimproved.

Malaysia's dams and reservoirs have been drying up causing severe shortages.

The World Bank reports that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could cost some regions of the world upwards of 6% of their GDP by 2050, spurring migration and sparking conflict: "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy."

That should be enough to keep you busy (if not paralyzed with depression) for now.