Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

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The Colorado River, recently named America’s most endangered river, supports millions of people in the American Southwest and northwest Mexico and helps irrigate millions of acres of land. It is shared by seven states in the U.S. and Mexico, through a complex series of legal agreements and treaties. Yet every drop of water on the river…

Bottled Water Tax

Municipalities are trying to find ways of dealing with the scourge of plastic bottles in their garbage, and with falling revenues from many sources. Plastic bottles have become a significant fraction of total garbage volume, and raise collection, handling, and landfill costs when they are not recycled. In 2011, according to NAPCOR (the National Association…

The numbers are in for 2012, and they are shocking. The Beverage Marketing Corporation, which tracks sales and consumption of beverages, is reporting that sales of bottled water grew nearly 7 percent between 2011 and 2012, with consumption reaching a staggering 30.8 gallons per person. And since I (and some of you) consume almost zero…

We live on solid ground, but the truth is, our planet is mostly covered in water. The famous writer Arthur C. Clarke noted this when he said, “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.” Today is Earth Day, when we celebrate the planet, and in particular the functioning ecosystem…

On April 2nd, I posted three iconic graphs showing some of the clear observational evidence that we’re changing the climate. That post produced a substantial, and largely thoughtful response, and a request for more information and data along these lines. Here are three more, along with a bonus fourth, all with a theme of exponential…

Here are three iconic graphs (unfortunately, there are many, many more) showing just some of the clear observational evidence that we’re changing the climate. The first is the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii. It shows the little ups and downs in concentration that varies with the seasons,…

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…