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Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

Tag archives for water

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…

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…

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…

Water Wars? Here in the US?

OK, put away your guns. We’re not talking shooting wars, at least not yet, at least not in the U.S. We’re talking politicians shooting off their mouths, political wars, and court battles. But water is serious business. But it is a different story around the world, where there is a long and sad history of…

The Pacific Institute has done extensive and groundbreaking research over the past 25 years on a wide range of water, climate, energy, and environmental issues. One focus has been on how to use water more efficiently to do the things we want to do – a focus on “efficiency” and “productivity” – not deprivation. Society could…

One of the reasons that climate change is such a big issue is because the global climate is an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem, tied to so many of the big and little things that society cares about. Figuring out how all these complicated pieces tie together is hard, as is linking these…

Smart Water; New Jobs

Invest in the future. And especially, invest in sustainable, effective job creation in the water sector. The result will be millions of new jobs – a significant result. That is the key message from a new analysis just released today by the Pacific Institute on sustainable water jobs in the United States. That study, Sustainable…

We’re bombarded with numbers every day. But seeing a number and understanding it are two different things. Far too often, the true “significance” of a figure is hidden, unknown, or misjudged. I will be returning to that theme often in these blog posts in the context of water, climate change, energy, and more. In particular,…

Welcome to “Significant Figures”

Welcome to the first post in my new National Geographic ScienceBlogs column “Significant Figures.”  I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on a wide range of environmental science-related issues, data, and people, and to a productive and constructive interaction. My background? I’m an environmental scientist by training and inclination, with experience in engineering,…