Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Last Call at the Oasis"....not exactly a quiet "bedtime story"....

The documentary, "Last Call at the Oasis," produced by the same people who brought us "An Inconvenient Truth," the film that Al Gore trumpeted into a Nobel Prize in his crusade against global warming and climate change, played on CBC News Network a couple of days ago.
Documenting such dramatic information as:
  • a ten-foot drop per year to the water level in Lake Mead above the Hoover Dam, with only 36 more feet, or another 4 years at best, before the Lake is dry,
  • research that shows male frogs morphing into hermaphrodytes as a result of the pesticide atrazene being applied to vegetation and then flowing into spawning grounds of the frogs
  • the Hallaburton Loophole, politically engineered by former Vice-president Cheney, to permit oil and gas companies to conceal the chemicals being used in fracking operations
  • the addition of a city of some 220,000 each year to the global population
  • reports to Erin Brokovich's Environmental Protection Group totalling some 25,000, in which people complain of contaminated lakes across North America
  • reports of drought in Australia so severe that farmers are auctioning their livestock and leaving the farming business, because of a lack of water
  • reports of 14,000 desalination projects around the world, all of them highly dependent on excessive amounts of water, and leaving a residue of salt nearly as toxic as nuclear waste
  • reports of recycling sewage water into drinking water, a project still trying to overcome the mountainous hurdle of human disgust at the prospect of drinking what was formerly water in sewage treatment plants
  •  chemical toxification in so many lakes, rivers and streams without adequate protection, that no one knows which water systems could be next to be declared toxic
  • the aquifers in the U.S. are being depleted so rapidly that over 90% of that water is no longer available, although it took centuries to build those aquifers up, and a mere few years to suck them dry, mostly for farming purposes
  • one city, Las Vegas, should it run out of water, as is most likely in the next decade or so, will become quite literally, a dead city, with no one living there....because there will be no water. They are currently contemplating a pipeline to Baker, a small town north of Las Vegas, to suck the water from their rivers and streams to supply Las Vegas.

These are just a few of the memorable insights documented in this nearly two-hour documentary, all of them pointing to the convergence of two forces:
  1. a finite amount of water on the planet
  2. a rapidly growing population requiring water for survival.
As a tentative ray of hope, the documentary shone a light on the level of co-operation between the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Jordanians over water, even if and when those peoples are engaged in military conflict....still secretly their representatives are meeting to develop clean water resources, through such project as sewage treatment facilities.
If you wondered whether war would be fought over oil or water in the twentyfirst century, this piece of compelling footage will push you in the direction of expecting clashes over depleting water resources.
Conservation, while useful, will only accomplish so much. We need much better and better funded research projects to determine the levels of toxicity in our lakes, rivers and streams, leading to spikes in cancer rates, and even frog deformities, from dwelling in toxic water systems.
Whenever you see an opportunity to witness this film, take it; the discussions around your kitchen or dining room table will never be the same following your viewing.
This is not a right or left-wing political issue; it is not a developing or developed world issue. It is not an issue of the religious or the secular. Water contamination and shortage is an issue for the whole world, and there is not a whole lot of time to prepare for both the shortages and the necessary steps to reduce its impact.

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