Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

Archives for March, 2013

There’s nothing like spending time in the desert to make one appreciate water. It might seem strange to some that a water wonk like me spends considerable time in the desert. I’ve tried to go down to the vast Southern California desert for some time every year, typically in the spring when the winter cold is receding…

World Water Day 2013

Some thoughts for today: the bad news and good news for World Water Day. [First, I think every day should be World Water Day, not just March 22nd, but hey, that’s just me.] Stop taking your tap water for granted. Go to your tap, draw a glass of water, and drink it. Then remember that…

Nearly two years ago, Science magazine published the following Lead Letter, signed by 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences addressing attacks on the integrity of climate science. The science has continued to strengthen, the evidence in real world observations has become even stronger and more obvious. In response, in the past few months, there…

Water at the Movies: 2013 Update

Water is a theme that runs through all forms of popular culture, from books to myths to Hollywood and international films, with a growing number of shorter video pieces posted online at YouTube and similar sites. Having trouble keeping your Netflix list populated? Below are some classic (good and bad) movies – good and bad…

Here is the second in what will be a series of posts on how little things like changes in technology we take for granted, or simple behaviors, can have a big impact on water use. The first looked at turning off the water when you brush your teeth: a seemingly trivial thing. It turned out…

In a previous post here, I discussed the scourge of cholera – a waterborne disease largely vanquished in the wealthier nations by our water and wastewater treatment systems. Unfortunately, it remains widespread and lethal. Cholera is perhaps the most common and serious water-related disease, directly associated with the failure to provide safe drinking water and…

Sometime, about one year from now, the front pages of whatever decent newspapers are left will carry a headline like the one above, announcing that for the first time in human existence (or in nearly a million years, or 3 million years, or 15 million years), the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide – the…