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Peter Gleick on Peak Water
Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute
“The concept of ‘peak water’ is very analogous to peak oil…we’re using fossil groundwater. That is, we’re pumping groundwater faster than nature naturally recharges it,” says Peter Gleick in this short expert analysis from the Environmental Change and Security Program. Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute and author of the newest edition of The World’s Water, explains the new concept of peak water.
(5 February 2009)

Tweet. Meet. Give.
(for water’s sake)
On 12 February 2009 175+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water.

Join us by:

* Attending one of the events detailed on the city sites listed on this page.
* Uploading or buying music at
* Taking part in the t-shirt design competition.
* Donating to charity: water.

The Twestival is organized 100% by volunteers in cities around the world and 100% of the money raised from these events will go directly to support charity: water projects.

In September 2008, a group of Twitterers based in London UK decided to organise an event where the local Twitter community could socialize offline; meet the faces behind the avatars, enjoy some entertainment, have a few drinks and tie this in with a food drive and fundraising effort for a local homeless charity.

The bulk of the event was organized in under two weeks, via Twitter and utilized the talents and financial support of the local Twittersphere to make this happen.

Links: (check out the bottom half of the page!)…
(February 2009)
UPDATE (Feb 8). Just added this item. Suggested by Jim Barton.

Ice collapse ‘could raise sea levels 20 feet’

John von Radowitz, Independent
Global warming could lead to sea level rises of more than 20 feet — far higher than current estimates, and enough to swamp densely populated coastlines of north America and Europe, say scientists.

A team of experts has calculated that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapses — as many expect it to — the outcome will be worse than has been forecast.

The sea level in the wake of the collapse is already projected to rise between 16 and 17 feet. The new research suggests the true figure could be almost 21 feet in the North Atlantic.

If this was to happen, many coastal areas in both north America and Europe would be devastated, and much of southern Florida would disappear.

Professor Peter Clark, one of the scientists, from Oregon State University in Corvallis, US, said: “We aren’t suggesting that a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is imminent, but these findings do suggest that if you are planning for sea level rise, you had better plan a little higher.”
(6 February 2009)

Oceans Are the New Atmosphere

Alex Steffen and Julia Levitt, WorldChanging
Oceans are the new atmosphere.

What we mean is, that concern for the state of the oceans and the potential impacts of the on-going catastrophic collapse of ocean ecosystems is reaching a pitch that we haven’t seen on any other environmental issue other than the build-up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. We don’t live in them – many of us have never even seen them — but we’re handily trashing them. And the state of the oceans is inextricably linked to the state of the planet as a whole.

Simply put, if the oceans crash, we crash, and the signs of impending collapse are everywhere. On the other hand, it’s becoming clearer that new solutions and policies may actually give us the capacity to understand and prevent that crash, if we have the will.

Throughout recent history, most human impacts on the oceans have stemmed from a dramatic misunderstanding, both of their value and of their limits. For all the romance we’ve assigned them in art and literature, in reality we’ve used the Earth’s oceans as waste dumps; as all-you-can-eat buffets; and as highways for global exploration, commerce and warfare.

The vast dead zones now spreading out from our coastlines appear to be largely the result of the vast rivers of chemicals, fertilizer runoff and sewage we’re pouring into the sea. The mountains of more solid and buoyant waste (like household garbage) that many communities still dump directly into the nearest ocean are accumulating in shocking amounts, and degrading with unknown results.
(4 February 2009)

China declares an emergency amid worst drought in 50 years

Jane Macartney, UK Times
The worst drought in half a century has parched fields across eight provinces in northern China and left nearly four million people without proper drinking water.

Not a drop of rain has fallen on Beijing for more than 100 days, the longest dry spell for 38 years in a city known for its arid climate. The Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters described the drought as a phenomenon “rarely seen in history” as the Government declared a state of emergency.
(5 February 2009)