Editor’s note: This is the first of hopefully many articles written by contributing writer “dudebrabroman.” You can follow him on Twitter at @DBBMMatt
Editor’s note to editor’s note: This is actually his second piece, but decided to post this second. Deal with it.
Fuck Ebola, let’s talk about water. You almost certainly drank it today and if not, every liquid you consumed was based off of water. Any food you ate required pure freshwater, and a lot of it, to produce. If you shit, showered, shaved, or brushed your teeth, you used water. If not, you may have more pressing concerns than this article.
Scientists scan alien news for signs of water because we literally do not know a way for life to function without it. None of this is news. The problem is we do not have enough freshwater and we have a nasty habit of messing up the water we do have. Just this month the city of Toledo lost water for a few days because of toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie caused by agricultural runoff. California, home to the most Americans of any state by twelve million people, and the number one agricultural state, exists in year three of a drought. This is not unique, most of the southwest is going to suffer water shortages in the not too distant future. The Colorado River, the source of water for around 40 million people, is being hit with drought levels that haven’t been seen since this century.
Closer to my home in the Midwest there’s another issue threatening the largest freshwater supply on earth, and that is the specific pollution of algae blooms. The Midwest, as the Midwest is wont to do, is both fucking up and being fucked by circumstance. The fucking up refers to the agricultural runoff from farms full of nutrients that allow algae to grow dramatically faster (this kills the fish and makes the water undrinkable) and the being fucked refers to the rising temperatures, which also aid algae growth. Desalination can help alleviate the demand of freshwater… but it’s energy intensive and expensive, plus only really an option for coastal communities. Not to mention as of now the energy we’d use would exacerbate the climate change fueling many of these water shortages. This is the part where I’d offer the obvious replacement solution in the pipeline, except that there is none.
We’re all going to die and if not our kids are going to suffer for this immensely! So, if we’re going to panic, let’s at least panic over the actually scary stuff.