Meyer Circle Fountain

Have a wonderful day!!

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Meyer Circle Fountain is located at Ward Parkway and Meyer Blvd. in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Relaxing by the Eel River

A few weekends ago, Jake and I drove up to spend the night pseudo-camping at our friends’ house up in Garberville. It’s up in Humboldt County, about 3 hrs north of Petaluma. Janice and Jerry invited us up for a quick getaway, and little did I know I would be staying right on the Eel River!

For the last several months, I’ve been doing research with my friend David at Friends of the Eel River. One of the major concerns with the Eel River water supply is that much of the water is diverted to the Russian River via PG&E’s Pottery Valley Project. While I’m still learning the ins and outs of the water world in California, it is very exciting for me when I get to see the subject of my research.

According to Janice, the river level was much higher in previous summers. This summer, there is a lot more visible gravel along the river bank than in previous years.

It was a wonderful getaway, though probably too short. We look forward to going back again soon.

Water, Water Everywhere, in San Francisco Bay….But a precious resource, indeed

It’s a beautiful part of the world. San Francisco Bay has become our new home this last year, and we’ve loved exploring the area. Last week we took the Larkspur Ferry into the city, and seeing the water and beautiful views reminded me of why I care so much about the health of the environment and protection of our natural resources.

Many of our dinner conversations lately have circled around one of the most precious natural resources: water. With all the water that surrounds us here…the bay, the ocean, the rivers…it is easy to forget how important it is to conserve water. In California, our water bill is by far our highest priced utility. It costs so much because there are so many people in California who draw from a rather limited water supply. It makes me wonder, do people really pay attention to their water usage? When taking a shower, does someone turn on the water and wait 5 minutes for it to get to just the right temperature? What about landscaping. When designing the layout for the front yard, does someone in California choose local plants and landscaping that doesn’t require an excessive amount of water, or lush grass that requires water every other day? These have all been on my mind lately.

I imagine this will be an ongoing discussion for me, so I encourage you to include your thoughts. I am also interested to know how people feel about water usage in different parts of the U.S., or even the world.

I encourage you to take note of the amount of water you use in a day, and see where in your routine you might be able to save a gallon or ten. If everyone made an effort to conserve water, and only use what they needed, surely we could better protect such a precious resource.

Water, Water every where, Nor any drop to drink

In the Rime of the Ancient Mariner[1] , the narrator describes the lack of drinkable water while sailing on an ocean of salt water. 

The lack of available safe, drinkable water can result from many causes: drought, when there simply is no available water; polluted water resulting from toxic waste and agricultural pesticides; water polluted as a result of inadequate treatment of sewage from human and animal waste and water that is too salty to drink.    

 

Here in the Midwest, water surrounds us.  We have lakes, rivers and streams. We swim in it, bathe in it, freely water our lawns and gardens with it, and simply admire it.  But we are lucky.

Even in parts of the U.S., water is precious.  But while water it California and other western states can be expensive, it is still available.  In agricultural areas, particularly in areas of Texas, ponds may have plentiful water in the spring but dry by late summer.  

In times of drought, the lack of water can ruin a crop or cause ranchers to sell off portions of their herds.  Even then, safe water is almost universally available in the United States for human consumption.   

 World-wide, there is a different story.  Roughly 10% to 11% of the world’s population, between 783 million to 1 billion people, does not have access to safe water[2].  In the developing world, 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into rivers[3].  1.4 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.  This amounts to around 4,000 deaths a day[4].  The death rate from lack of safe water is greater than the death rate from war.  The lack of water, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa also results in crop failures, frequent famines and also a significant factor in the loss of life of humans and animals.

 In The World is Hot, Flat and Crowded, Thomas Freidman quotes Michael J. Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard that: “’We have a responsibility to preserve the earth’s resources and natural wonders in and of themselves’ because they constitute the very web of life on which all living creatures on this planet depend.” 

 Clean water is not a partisan issue.  It is not an issue that appeals only to those who are “left leaning” or “right leaning”.  It is a human issue.  We can clean water, dig wells to make it accessible, install pipes and faucets to move it around and make it easy to control the flow and movement of water.  Most of all, we can care about the people for whom the availability of water is a life–and death–challenge.

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Our opinions, are our opinions alone, and do not represent the opinions of our employers, our friends, our relatives, our husbands, or even each other.   


[1] Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, published in 1798

[2] WHO/UNICEF, WaterAid, Water.Org.

[3] UN

[4] WHO

For the Beauty of the Earth

Today is Earth Day, a day focused on the protection and celebration of our natural environment. Earth Day is a global celebration.  The health of our environment is important here in the U.S., in Central America, in Africa, in Europe and throughout the world.  Our very survival is dependent on clean and adequate water and a plentiful harvest.

So today, we celebrate the beauty of the earth:

We are grateful for clean water for bathing, drinking and farming:

We recognize the importance of our oceans, lakes and rivers and their role in providing food, transportation, drinking water, and other necessities and pleasures in our lives:

We respect the importance of protecting our water, our air and our soil so that we have adequate food to eat and water to drink here in the United States and throughout the world.  We recognize that adequate food and water are important for the health and security of our own families and for our worldwide populations.

While none of us can individually solve the problems of environmental pollution, we can each help to protect our world resources by planting trees, recycling trash, avoid polluting our water, soil and air and reducing our energy consumption.

As we honor the importance of water, earth and air in meeting our basic necessities, we are also grateful for nature’s beauty in our parks and gardens that feed, not the body, but the soul.

On Earth Day 2012, and every day, we wish you well and ask you to GO GREEN.