Fresh water is wasted because it is relatively cheap! Lets take a look at why fresh water is wasted, how it is wasted and what we can do about this to embrace conservation and other sustainability solutions.
We do not have a problem with water supply, the problem with sustainable access to fresh water comes down to the pollution of fresh water by unethical companies.
Kimberly Clark, a paper pulp and wood fiber company that makes toilet paper, printing paper and other paper products for example, contaminates massive quantities of fresh water with dioxin chemicals because they choose to use a chlorine based series of chemical processes. Water and chemical free paper processing technology has existed for hundreds of years.
The tar sands developments in Canada are another example of horrendous huge scale fresh water pollution. Companies like Enbridge that operate these tar sands projects end up fouling hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water with petrochemical funk every day. Evil industrial agriculture companies like Bayer and Monsanto indirectly contribute to the salting and chemical pollution of irrigation water used on industrial farms all over the world.
Cleaning up contaminated water is an energetic and thus extremely costly process. High pressure large scale reverse osmosis technology is one of the only proven large scale fresh water clean up technologies, and producing fresh water at a utility scale from RO is extremely expensive. It is easier and far less expensive to stop the waste and pollution of fresh water though conservation and sustainable use practices.
Water saving toilets, sinks and shower heads can save even more fresh water. Grey water system can reduce the use of fresh drinking quality water in gardens and farms. There are many modern water free technological alternatives to industrial processes that traditionally relied on contaminating large quantities of fresh water. In oil refineries for example, waste water recovery and clean up systems can reduce water consumption by over 95%. Industrial beer brewing operations can also employ water reclamation and on site water reprocessing to dramatically reduce their use of fresh water. Industrial farms can employ large scale drip irrigation to slash water use by over %90 vs the overhead spray pivot systems currently in use by most farms.
The low costs of water are partially to blame for its misuse and pollution. Industrial and commercial water users pay almost nothing for the water they use, and they therefor have little incentive to conserve water. If water costs were to increase, drip irrigation practices would be rapidly adopted by most parts of the agricultural sector in order to keep their operations profitable.
Sadly the aquifers that provide the irrigation waters for a large fraction of American farms are being squandered away mindlessly in an unsustainable wasteful and ignorant system of agriculture water aquifer depletion controlled by greedy corporate special interests that care only for next quarters earnings and think nothing of aquifer stewardship or sustainable water use.
The oceans are full of salt water. Unfortunately salt water is inappropriate for use in most fresh water systems. Solar distillation can remove the salt from water in a cost efficient way, yet we see almost no examples of this being deployed for fresh water recovery from sea water because the costs of fresh water are too low. Advanced salt to fresh water recovery systems will become feasible for commercial applications when the cost of fresh water increases to more than twice its current prices.
Quick profit seeking and the energy free lunch of carbon fuels have both greatly contributed to the tragedy of the commons (squandering of finite natural resources), and the pollution of earths limited annual fresh water resources continues to be a problem because of the high cost of low prices.
The price we pay for water and the prices we pay for gasoline are in no way reflective of the real costs of these resources. We have been living in a subsidized delusional artificially lower price reality and the costs of these resource have been externalized onto poor nations and the defenseless environments and animals in nature that humans have been mindlessly destroying at an alarmingly increasing rate for the past several decades. Fresh water pollution is a major global problem driven by the artificially low costs of water to end users.
The technological solutions to clean water supply are costly and can not be afforded by people who are unwilling to pay more than $1 for a cubic meter of clean fresh water.
The meter price we pay for water in America is artificially low and unsustainable. The meter price we pay for electricity in America is artificially low and unsustainable. The pump price we pay for gasoline and diesel fuel in America is artificially low and unsustainable.
These artificially low prices for water, electricity and fuel have resulted in America's infrastructure becoming dependent on low costs utilities (water wasting in homes and businesses, heat leaky buildings and homes and inefficient vehicles that waste fuel coupled with urban sprawl and a neglected grid and utility delivery systems: the high cost of these low prices are just now beginning to be realized as these systems begin to degrade. The pump price of fuel has increased lately. Food prices have increased lately. Natural gas and electricity prices have increased lately. The cost of everything in going to continue increasing because the competition for earths increasingly scarce natural resources are increasing as billions of people are raised out of poverty into the material and energy squandering wealth of modernity.
The cost of materials, resources, minerals and energy will therefor continue to increase disproportionately to income levels, making everything more expensive that it would have been if we have been thinking about and applying the principles of ethical resource management and sustainability throughout the last half of the 20th century. The trajectory of America's development was largely affected by low energy, mineral and material prices. America pioneer the art of externalizing costs with outsourcing and market manipulation. America as a nation pioneer the art of debt spending and market price manipulation. Some of the brightest most intelligent Americans are employed by evil corporations that care nothing about sustainability. The objective of these corporations is crystal clear; maximization of short term profits. The systems that supports these corporations are fundamentally dysfunctional because they give rise to the squandering, misuse and depletion of finite resources that everyone shares.
America has set a terrible example to other nations. Americans represent about %5 of earths people and are using more than %25 of earth resources every year. America has broadcast this example of consumer materialism to every corner of the world and promoted the ideology that drives it as a solution to poverty, when in fact the growth driven economy we have developed is facing an energy crisis, debt crisis, and environmental crisis.
The future is going to be full of challenges that are historically unprecedented. We cannot approach the solutions to these problems with the same kind of limited thinking that gave us these problems in the first place.
There is a cultural carrying capacity of earth that is defined by the way that people life. Earth for example can sustain many more human lives if each person lives with less energy and a low material footprint. Many scientific studies have concluded that we would need 5 or more earths worth of resources to allow everyone on earth today to live like Americans. Frighteningly, that is the objective of many developing countries. Billions of people in China, Africa, India and other parts of the world are rising up and out of poverty to embrace private vehicle ownership, consumerism and materialism that currently defines developed western cultures. There is a massive rural to urban migration taking place as hundreds of millions of people move from farms to cities in the pursuit of intellectual service, manufacturing, science, art, technology, legal and engineering jobs.
Fear not, it is never to late to turn around and choose sustainability. We can unite together with ethical companies like GE to embrace the solutions we need to overcome the problems we are facing with water, energy, minerals and pollution. We can rise above and overcome these energy, material, population, water, security, food, virus and sustainability problems with creativity, ingenuity, and applied science and technology. We have the power as a people to redefine our future. We must unite to embrace the sustainable solutions.
Alternative energy will replace carbon burning for electricity production. Grid energy storage will enable alternative energy sources to deliver uninterrupted continuous power.
Water free and low water use industrial processes will replace water intensive processes. On sight waste water recovery and reprocessing is already feasible for many companies, and will be adapted to many others in the near future. Consumers are already installing low flow shower heads. Front loading water saving washing machines are become the norm. Green lawns in the desert will fade into history as more people sober up in arid regions to save money on their utility bills. Water conservation will make greater sense to everyone when the price of water increases.
The buildings currently in place in America will rot and fall apart because of their flimsy rot prone wood based construction. These leaky inefficient buildings will be replaced by smaller, more efficient, more durable buildings in the future. More people are going to embrace low cost smaller homes that are easier to clean, easier to maintain, less expensive to heat and cool, and more rational overall.
The gas wasting vehicles commonly used today will be replaced by many generations of hybrid, plug in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Future fossil fuel powered vehicles will improve greatly, both in terms of reduced emissions and improved fuel economy. Self driving vehicles are right on the horizon because of engineering from Google. Inductive charging will enable cable free EV use. Electric buses and trucks are already being rolled out to commercial customers. Millions of pure electric, plug in hybrid and hybrid vehicles are already on the roads today. Sustainable transportation choices that do not rely on foreign oil will become increasingly important in Americas future.
Farms will switch away from industrial water wasting pivot spray synthetic chemical crops to embrace sustainable organic agriculture with drip irrigation and soil health maintenance as priorities. Ecosystem strategies will replace chemical agents for pest control. Bio-dynamic farms will replace conventional farms. Organic sustainable farming can sustainability support the lives of 3.5 billion people. Our current population of more than 7 billion people cannot and will not be maintained. The relationship between overpopulation and poverty is undeniable. Growth based systems in a finite world also do not make sense.
We already know what we need to do to thrive in the future. Encouragingly, the free market is already promoting sustainable choices as the new "black". Efficiency is becoming the new "cool". Go test drive a Tesla Model S and then a steam pump BMW 5 series and get a sense for what I mean.
The internet is bring more people access to the information that they need to make more informed choices. As these increasingly informed consumers continue to vote with their $ in the free market, businesses that adapt and cater to these savvy consumers will thrive.
We are called by God to be stewards of his beautiful creation; all of the life on Earth! We are called as Christians to love other people, to love all of Gods beautiful creations, animals, bugs, wildlife. We live because nature provides us with food to eat, water to drink and air to breath. Pollution is toxic to life because it fouls natures ability to provides with what we need to thrive. Pollution poisons the living systems that allow life to exist on earth. Pollution is a symptom of inefficiency, waste and poorly designed systems. God gave us the intelligence, capacity and resources to develop honest, safe and fair solutions and systems.
Sustainability is good for public health, good for the economy and good for the natural environments that enable the human experience to continue. We honor God when we make informed choices. We honor God when we face our fears and embrace ethical solutions. We honor God when we show one another love. We can translate that love into water and energy conservation, recycling, alternative energy, sustainable organic farming, and sustainable businesses. We can translate the Love that God offers us by embracing a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Uniqueness of Christianity
"What makes the Christian religion different from every other religion is love. I'm probably going to get in trouble with the Buddhists and Hindus and Jews and Muslims out there for saying this, but it's true. I'm not saying that other religions don't concern themselves with love (because every religion worth the title does deal with love), but that in Christianity love is the central reality, not just one among a number of other values, and it is given far more importance than in any other religion. This emphasis on love is what sets Christianity far above every other religion because love is the central reality of human life.
Christianity sees the basis of reality as love: the love that constitutes the Undivided Unity of the Divine Trinity pours itself out in creating the cosmos, and then reveals itself in Jesus' redemptive incarnation and sacrifice on the cross. The response of Christians is to return God the love he has shown us. This response manifests itself in the lives of believers sharing the love of God with the world: by living in unity and love with one another, by living the pleasures and pains of ordinary life united to Christ, and, in extraordinary circumstances, by witnessing for the faith to death."
Praise be to you father God for inspiring me to Think About It~