Category Archives: Environmental

It has to start with each and every one of us!

During the summer, everyone saw/heard about the ice/water bucket challenge. The purpose of this challenge was to raise awareness for different health issues (depending on the country). Although it is good that we are raising awareness for these issues, doing it with water really bothered me.

As I said before in my previous posts, water is a scarce resource that should be saved, not wasted.

I came across with the picture on top (Arab News), and, as usual, it got me thinking. As shown in the image, several people have to walk a lot only to get water. According to Charity Water, in Africa they spend around 40 billion hours walking, just to get water. Usually is either women or children that go get the water, which can be contaminated or unhealthy to drink. For women, these long walks are not safe, they can be sexually harassed and they lose time when they could be working. For children, this means loosing time that could be used to go to school or to study. Not to mention all the diseases that come from unclean water and the dangers of the trip itself.

Now, let’s take a moment to imagine your life with no water or limited access to it. Imagine that you want to go to the toilet, and you don’t have water to flush. Imagine that you want to take a bath and there is no water to do it. Imagine that you are really thirsty, and you have to walk 3 km to get the water that you and your family will drink (which can be contaminated). It is very hard to imagine, isn’t it? Now imagine what the 780 million people that lack access to drinkable water and the 2.5 billion people that don’t have adequate sanitation have to trough every day. Unfortunately for them, it is also hard to imagine how it is to have access to clean, drinkable water and good sanitation. This is a major problem that gets limited attention.

So what I am going to propose here is instead of using water to raise awareness for different causes, let’s raise awareness for water. It has to start with each and every one of us.

Please let your thoughts below!

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Your ecological footprint – what?!

green-footprint-shutterstock11I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.

Yesterday, according to the Global Footprint Network, was the Earth Overshoot Day. For those of you who are not familiar with this, the Earth Overshoot Day is the date our Ecological Footprint exceeds our planet’s “annual budget”. That means that we already spent what Earth can regenerate during this year. In practical terms, we need a planet and a half to produce the resources that we are spending in one year. If you want to know your ecological footprint, click here. In the link you will also find tips on how to reduce your ecological footprint.

In 1961 we used 3 quarters of the Earth’s capacity. Now, we didn’t even got to the end of the year, and we already need a new planet. As you can imagine, in the long term, this will lead to several problems: climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, lack of food, lack of water and lack of other resources essential and non-essential to human life. It will also bring, in my opinion, conflict over these resources, if the situation continues to escalate like this.

So, how can we make Earth sustainable again? Well, first of all, we need to stop acting like it is something for others to deal with. Reducing the ecological footprint is a responsibility of everyone. We also have to realise that it is not easy and that it won’t happen fast. But, if we try, we can make a better planet.

What do you do to reduce your ecological footprint? Tell me below!

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Global warming – Tell me about it

Global_Warming_by_audunellernoWhat is global warming? What is it doing to our planet? Are we really responsible for global warming?

I’ve had this conversation many times with friends, colleagues, family and yet, answers don’t cease to surprise me. According to wikipedia, Global warming is the unequivocal and continuing rise in the average temperature of Earth’s climate system. This causes several types of consequences such as temperature changes, extreme weather, melting of ice, decrease of water resources and even climate refugees (which I will talk about in another post someday…). The majority of people agrees with this definition.

So, what are the causes? Are we to be blamed? Well, it is here that opinions get divided.

Some of the people I’ve spoken to say that this is not due to human action. They say that the earth has had many phases in its cycle, such as ice age and others, and this is just another phase. Even if we weren’t here, there would have been an increase in temperatures on earth.

Others say that it is completely because of humans. We should stop using gases and materials that led to this problem.

Finally, there is a in-between opinion. Humans are not the sole responsible for global warming, but they caused, indeed, most of it. This opinion seems to be the one accepted by the majority of scientists (with some sceptics), although sometimes it seems that the majority of people doesn’t believe in this . The greenhouse gases, burning of fossils and other activities led to global warming.

Opinions aside, what can we do? Well, indeed we should reduce the use of certain types of gases, use alternative fuels, reduce the use of cars (ex: use more buses, trains, bicycles) or use electric/hybrid ones, recycle, make your house energy-efficient, etc.

I honestly think are we should be blamed for the majority of it. For years we’ve using these dangerous gases and harvesting earth’s resources without caring for the consequences.

And you? What is your opinion about global warming? What can we do to minimize its effects?

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Water is the driving force of all nature – Leonardo Da Vinci

So…Water issues. Quite a big deal. I’m writing my master’s degree thesis and it regards water issues and the Israeli-Arab conflict. My argument is that when together with other factors, water issues, although not directly, lead to conflict. I’m using the Theory of Relative Deprivation as a theoretical base, by Homer Dixon.

Anyway, water issues. According to the Millennium Development Goals report 2012, 11% of the world’s population remains without access to a reliable water source. Imagine being yourself incapable of drinking a glass of water when thirsty or don’t having water for a bath. Well, these 11% go through that everyday.

In a world of shared resources, we need to have access to (at least) 1700m3 of water per capita per year in order to have enough water for our needs. When we don’t, things start to get complicated and people choose one of two paths: conflict or cooperation. If we’re sharing water (re)sources with an ally or neutral country it’s easier to cooperate and try to fix the problem. But when we’re sharing with a country that isn’t exactly in our circle of friends things can get nasty, not only at a state level but also among the population.

The truth is water is getting scarce. Not only because of environmental changes but also because we haven’t yet learned to consume water in a responsible way, even though it is one of the most essential resources.

Water is important. You can’t live without it. In the next few years we’ll have a decline of the quantity of available water. Does that mean we’ll have conflicts only based on water? Share your thoughts below!

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