Water today is undervalued, misused and misallocated. Too many of us take it for granted – we turn on the tap and it flows. But did you know only 4% of Earth’s water is freshwater and only 0.5% of that is safe for human consumption? As shocks of drought and deluge unleash their devastation, water has forced itself to center stage. It demands that we change fundamentally; it asks that we value it profoundly.
Most buildings today use a lot of energy — to keep the lights on, cool the air, heat water, and power personal devices. Even installing solar systems will not significantly counter the heavy energy load.
There are, however, some buildings that strike a balance; or even tip the scales the other way! These are called zero energy buildings.
Read the full story from Treehugger.
Chopsticks have a long and storied history, dating back to 2100 BC when Da Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty, was trying to reach a flood zone. In his haste, he didn’t want to wait for his food to cool down, and adapted two twigs to help him eat his food quickly. With the popularization of Asian food all over the world, chopsticks — especially the disposable kind — are now being used all over the world.
But throwaway chopsticks are an unmitigated environmental disaster. In China alone, 80 billion chopsticks are thrown away each year, requiring hundreds of acres of forest to be cut down every day just to keep up with the demand. In response, the Bring Your Own Chopsticks (BYOC) movement is gaining ground in places like Japan, China and Taiwan (most notably, in Korea metal chopsticks are used — a good idea).
But what to do still with all those discarded chopsticks? Vancouver, Canada’s Chopvalue has a great idea: cleaning them up and turning them into home accessories and furniture.
“Business as usual will lead to a 40 percent gap in supply demand of water by 2030,” said Emilio Tenuta, vice president of corporate sustainability at Ecolab. However, despite water conservation projects, since 2011, corporate water use has declined only by 10 percent.
According to Tenuta, if the world is to address the pressing issue of water quality scarcity, “we’re going to have to create partnerships that accelerate change and reinvent the way we work.”
Success and resilience in a water quality constrained world will require ingenuity and collaboration to go beyond conservation to reuse, recycling and stewardship. One of these partnerships includes Ecolab, a global services provider; software solutions provider Microsoft; and Trucost, a natural capital accounting expert.
Together, they are aiming to be part of the solution by improving water risk analysis in the next-generation Water Risk Monetizer tool, which they launched in March. Collaboration helps leverage perspective and expertise to be part of the solution, said Tenuta: “Water conservation alone is delaying the inevitable.”
Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?
This is the sixth episode of Climate Lab, a six-part series produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox. Hosted by Emmy-nominated conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back. Featuring conversations with experts, scientists, thought leaders and activists, the series takes what can seem like an overwhelming problem and breaks it down into manageable parts: from clean energy to food waste, religion to smartphones. Sanjayan is an alum of UC Santa Cruz and a Visiting Researcher at UCLA. Taking action on global warming doesn’t stop here.