Thursday, October 03, 2013
Water In The Anthropocene
Water In The Anthropocene
Humans are now changing the face of Earth and water with detrimental consequences to our survival. As was also reported through many observations we are amplifying the global water cycle through the continued burning of fossil fuels and other actions emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This makes more heat and moisture in the atmosphere thus making more water vapor. Through this amplification we are already experiencing more intense floods and storms as well as more frequent prolonged droughts due to increased evaporation of soil moisture.
All of this culminates in making wet places wetter, dry places drier drastically impacting food security. This connects to global agriculture which already uses 70% of our available fresh water. With climate change, mining, fracking, coastal erosion, subsidence, salt water intrusion and rapacious dam building and coastal construction which in majority of cases is detrimental not only to climate but ecosystems in those areas we are ensuring that the Anthropocene era may well be our last on this Earth.
The only hope to change this is to not only work to adapt to the changes we can adapt to without further harming ecosystems but to look within ourselves to understand that we must begin to atone to nature and scale back our greed and excess. We need to also take an approach to adaptation that includes education, family planning and working to lift the poor in the developing world out of poverty in a way where they can sow their own seeds and have control over their own water sources.
Privatization of food and water by corporations will be the death knell for those in these areas needing to have food sovereignty and water access in order to survive.
The key to surviving this Anthropocene era is not only going to be based on economic precepts. It must also include humanity.
We cannot dam ourselves out of this human crisis.
Unprecedented Ocean Acidification-Sixth Mass Extinction May Have Begun
The oceans are more acidic now than they’ve been at any time in the last 300 million years, conditions that marine scientists warn could lead to a mass extinction of key species.
Scientists from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) published their State of the Oceans report Thursday, a biennial study that surveys how oceans are responding to human impacts. The researchers found the current level of acifification is “unprecedented” and that the overall health of the ocean is declining at a much faster rate than previously thought.
“We are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change, and exposing organisms to intolerable evolutionary pressure,” the report states. “The next mass extinction may have already begun.”
Acidification causes major harm to marine ecosystems, especially coral, which has a hard time building up its calcium carbonate skeleton in acidic water. Coral reefs serve as nurseries to many young fish, so they’re essential both to ecosystem health and the survival of the fishing industry. If temperatures rise by 2 degrees C, the study found, coral may stop growing altogether, and may start to dissolve at 3 degrees C. Similarily, acidic ocean waters can hamper shellfish larvae’s ability to grow shells. Acidification is already hurting the shellfish industry — in the U.S., northwestern and East Coast shellfish industries have struggled to adapt to increasingly acidic waters. And pteropods, tiny sea snails that are a keystone species in the Arctic and are an essential food source for many birds, fish and whales, are also threatened by acidity — they too require strong calcium carbonate shells to survive.
It’s not just acidification that’s threatening the oceans, either — the report found the oceans are facing a “deadly trio” of stressors, with warming waters and decreasing oxygen also majorly affecting marine ecosystem health. Warming waters coupled with ocean acidification are posing increasingly severe threats to Antarctic krill, which play a vital role in the Antarctic marine food chain, and are also helping lead to huge outbreaks of jellyfish. And as water temperatures rise, coral is increasingly vulnerable to bleaching.
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Aquifers being overpumped globally leading to water shortages threatening agriculture and economy:
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