The Indus River in the Indian Himalaya. 215 million people in the basin are directly or indirectly dependent on the river.
I’m pleased to share news that beginning this week I’ll be guest blogging for Weather Underground, where I’ll be posting a series on the global water crisis. Weather Underground is the first internet weather service, committed to delivering the most reliable, accurate weather information possible. I’ll also be starting a “water challenge” in the upcoming weeks, co-hosted by Weather Underground, to raise awareness of water usage and to help us all lower our personal water usage—it can be done! Stay tuned.
Taking On Water: Easing the Global Water Crisis
It seems I was destined to become a Water Keeper. As a child, I spent untold hours perched on the granite outcrops of New England’s coastline, absorbing the nuances of the sea: the way the color of the water shifts toward gray with an oncoming storm; how flotsam gathers on eddy seams; the repetition in wave forms from the largest surges to the tiniest of ripples. I imagined myself a mermaid. The sea compelled me: my education was filled with logarithmic equations describing the arc of a beach form and first order kinetics equations explaining microbial transformations of chemicals in water. Fittingly, I was born an Aquarian, and my nature shows all the characteristics—fiercely independent, individualistic, artistically and scientifically oriented. I’ve chosen to follow my passion, working as a scientist, policy expert, educator and writer on all things water. Read more….
Luminosity I. 14″ x 18″ Acrylic on Panel.
This is the first in an ongoing series of river rock-inspired pieces. Stay tuned!
Taking on Water has been profiled in a Women’s Adventure Magazine story by Chris Kassar entitled Mothering Nature: Women Fighting for Our Planet.
“When it comes to the environment, scary statistics rule the day. Rather than getting overwhelmed or disheartened by pervasive doomsday predictions, many women have decided to persevere and dedicate their lives to fighting for our planet. In the spirit of those who came before them-—Rachel Carson, Mardy Murie, Rosalie Edge, and the like—-these unsung heroes have chosen to tackle the most challenging issues of our time. By using their voices and smarts, these wild women of today are raising a ruckus, creating change, and altering the way we view our relationship with Mother Nature”….Read More.
It’s All in the Flow: Water Quality Starts with Water Quantity.
by Wendy Pabich
What’s a river without water? Water is to a river like blood is to our veins. Water transports sustenance — nutrients, energy and oxygen — and flushes out toxins. Sufficient flow keeps water temperatures low. Natural flow regimes shape rivers by transporting and depositing sediments, and in the process create riffles, glides and pools — the stuff of fish habitat. Fish, both freshwater and marine, have adapted to these seasonal and daily rhythms. Flooding can be important for breeding, and native fish are adapted to survive periodic dry spells. Marine nursery grounds have been shown to be dependent upon river flows and the carbon and nutrients they deliver…Full story.
How fun that Taking on Water was mentioned by Patrick James in his post, The Beauty of Wasting Less Food And Water, a food entry in Very Short List, “a delightful e-mail that shares cultural gems from a different curator every day”!
by Claire Thompson, Grist.org
“We need to talk about our national drinking problem. With more than half the country still devastated by drought, and all the experts saying we’d better get used to it, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss water conservation. Problem is, we’re not too great at it: While much of the world lacks this most precious resource on a daily basis, we only need locate the nearest tap to quench our thirst — and some of us still shell out cash to drink from a plastic bottle instead. How can we start to see water like the urgent issue it is?
In her book Taking on Water, Wendy Pabich explains the “diamond-water paradox”: “Although water is more useful than diamonds — in fact, it is essential to life — diamonds command a significantly higher price in the market.” She then quotes Adam Smith: “The things which have the greatest value in use frequently have little or no value in exchange; on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange frequently have little or no value in use.””….
To read the complete story, visit Grist.
Post book tour whirlwind recovery: Rebalance series.
As someone who is concerned about human impact on the planet and its ecosystems, I know firsthand how our environmental problems can, at times, feel entirely overwhelming. We may sense that our own role is negligible, our power to make change inconsequential. And, it’s easy to find fault with government policies, corporate behavior, and farming practices. Yet, taken together, our aggregate behavior is the source of these problems.
When we look at water use, we know that an individual home can waste 10,000 gallons of water a year to leaking fixtures; as a nation, we lose one trillion gallons of water to leaks. We buy 450 million pair of blue jeans every year, each of which requires about 2,200 gallons of water to produce, mostly to grow cotton for denim. That’s a total of 990 billion gallons of water, or enough to provide copious domestic water supplies to almost 10 billion people. And the list goes on.
While this may all seem distressing, it also implies a potent truth. As consumers, we have the power to change our own behavior. We can make choices about what and how much we purchase, and we can influence the types of products and services are sold in the market—all of which can lead to increased water use efficiency and decreased water demand. It’s time to turn the paradigm on its head, and vote with our forks, pocketbooks and ballots.
by Wendy J. Pabich
“We all know that available, clean freshwater is becoming increasing scarce. This is a problem for people, ecosystems, businesses, and communities.
For women around the globe, water stress is especially problematic. Women collectively spend hundreds of millions of hours each day gathering water for domestic use. Girls often miss school to help bring water to their families and to find sanitary facilities. Gary White, cofounder of Water.org, estimates that the associated lost productivity is greater than the combined hours worked in a week by employees at Walmart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger.
Not only are women profoundly impacted by water scarcity, but we also are uniquely positioned to help solve the problem. Here’s why.”
To read the complete story, visit The Next Women Business Magazine.
In this country, on average, we each use 99 gallons of water per day directly in our homes for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and watering our gardens and yards. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our real water use comes in the way of water embedded in the food, clothing, energy, products and services we consume each day. On average, each of us uses over 2,000 gallons per day, or 750,000 gallons per year in embedded water—our water footprints. Here are a dozen steps you can take to reduce your direct water use and your larger water footprint. To learn more, see Taking on Water: How One Water Expert Confronted Her Inner Hypocrite, Reduced Her Water Footprint (without Sacrificing a Toasty Shower), and Found Nirvana, available wherever books are sold.