Communities Get Creative in Urging Conservation by April Thompson As fresh water becomes increasingly scarce worldwide, communities are coming together to find creative solutions to conserve it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses some 300 gallons of water a day at home, nearly a third of which lands on lawns and yardscapes. Yet simple solutions like installing low-flow showerheads, turning off the tap while brushing teeth
by Randy Kambic While Gary Griggs has lived near the coast of California most of his life, visits to the coasts of 46 nations helped shape his latest book, Coasts in Crisis: A Global Challenge. The distinguished professor of Earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, writes on how coral reefs provide shelter, food and breeding grounds for about one-third of the world’s species of marine fish, as well as
Streams and Rivers Are Life Links by Avery Mack Creeks, streams and rivers flow into ponds, lakes and oceans, carrying pollution. Keeping large bodies of water clean starts with local waterways. As awareness of this need rises, some rivers in Africa, India, New Zealand and elsewhere are being protected and recognized as living entities, with rights, values and the legal status of people. While court cases brought by commercial interests are challenging such decisions, progress continues on many fronts.
Recycled Plastic Transforms into Prosthetics The emerging technology of three-dimensional (3-D) printing can benefit the world in many ways. Re:Purpose for Good, in Australia, creates robotically
Meds in Urban Streams Drive Microbial Resistance A new study published in the journal Ecosphere confirms that in urban streams, persistent pharmaceutical pollution can cause aquatic
For instance, replacing Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda grass or another non-native species with natives can deliver drought resistance and lower irrigation needs; eliminate any need for fertilizers or toxic pesticides; reduce or eliminate labor-intensive and often polluting mowing and edging; enhance the beauty of a home; and attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
The dangerous practice of fracking (hydraulic fracturing), which combines volumes of toxic chemicals and fresh water to bore for natural gas, has spread to 21 states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, as well as Colorado, Texas and California. A particularly intensive drilling area is the Marcellus Shale region, a 600-mile-long bedrock layer up to a mile below the Earth’s surface that includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Citizens in these and surrounding states are sounding alarms.
Our Precious Freshwater Supplies Are Shrinking By Linda Sechrist Virtually all water, atmospheric water vapor and soil moisture presently gracing the Earth has been perpetually recycled through billions of years of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. As all living things are composed of mostly water and thus a part of this cycle, we may be drinking the same water that a Tyrannosaurus Rex splashed in 68 million years ago, along with what was poured into Cleopatra’s bath. Perhaps this mythological sense of water’s endlessness or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration images from outer space of a blue planet nearly three-quarters covered by water makes us complacent. Yet only 2.5 percent of Earth’s water is not salt water and of sufficient quality to be consumable by humans, plants and animals.