Thursday, June 20, 2013
Google's Eye On the World.
Google Alerts is a fine source of news from around the world on almost any topic that interests you. Every day Google delivers to your inbox an array of linked headlines that you can then pore over at your leisure.
Some of the topics I monitor through Google Alerts include drought, floods, the water crisis, climate change, inequality, war and arms races. Through these alerts you can access a lot of information that would never make it into our domestic media. Over time you build up a picture of what's happening where and when and the magnitude of the issue from one region to another.
One place of particular interest when it comes to freshwater issues is our neighbour to the south. Even ordinarily soggy Oregon, it turns out, is facing a serious water problem in its Klamath valley that could see water being cut off to hundreds of cattle ranches and hay farms this summer.
In New Mexico there's talk about saving the state from a crushing freshwater crisis by building nuclear power plants on Texas' Gulf coast to operate desalinators that would then ship water via pipeline to meet New Mexico's needs.
In Utah, the town of Lehi faces the prospect of running out of drinking water by week's end. Tap water is now proclaimed "culinary water" for human consumption solely.
The Miami Herald reports that California's wine country faces a serious water crisis from aquifers beginning to run empty. And across drought-stricken parts of the U.S., farmers and homeowners are having to compete with the fracking industry for already stressed freshwater reserves.
It could be argued that these stories are isolated instances, anecdotal, even alarmist. Taken on any given day that is at least arguable. It's when these stories are taken over the span of weeks and months and years that their significance and impact becomes unassailable. It's the cumulative factor that makes manifest a serious and worsening state of affairs that is going on literally at our doorstep. Yet it's a state of affairs that generally goes unnoticed even as it steadily worsens.