Friday, March 14, 2014
Celebrating International Rivers (In pictures)
Day Of Action Defending World Heritage Rivers
"Governments the world over have taken legal measures to protect particularly unique and valuable natural and cultural treasures in perpetuity. The establishment of national parks is one mechanism that has resulted in an estimated 6,500 protected areas in countries across the globe. Yet even these protected areas face destructive large dams. With more than 500 dams now planned in the Balkans, for example, our friends at River Watch are organizing to “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” against dams planned in national parks in Albania, Macedonia and Slovakia. The question has been posed: If we can’t stop destructive dams in our national parks, then where can we draw the line?
International Rivers will be taking action on March 14 to profile the threats to rivers and related ecosystems that are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of the nearly 1,000 sites of “outstanding universal value” in the World Heritage system, several are directly threatened by large hydropower projects.
The World Heritage Committee meets annually to, among other business, review and consider sites to include on its “In Danger” list, a designation that aims to mobilize attention and resources to address imminent threats. International Rivers has provided evidence to the Committee, comprised of 21 member-states, on threats to river-dependent World Heritage Sites. Two sites under clear and immediate threat in 2014 are the Three Parallel Rivers site in China and the Lake Turkana Basin in East Africa.
Three Parallel Rivers is a 17,000-square-kilometer site featuring upper reaches of the Yangtze (Jinsha), the Mekong (Lancang) and Salween (Nu) rivers, which run roughly parallel in deep gorges along 300 km. Inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2003, the area is considered one of the richest temperate regions in the world for biodiversity and today is still a relatively undisturbed ecological zone. China has revived plans to build up to 13 dams on the Nu River, which would significantly change the scenic and ecological value of this World Heritage Site. The Committee has requested that China update the Site’s status for review at its 2015 meeting.
Kenya’s Lake Turkana is the largest desert lake in the world. Inscribed in 1997, this World Heritage site has supported hominids for 2 million years, and is today the life-source for a quarter million people, abundant crocodiles and fish, and some 350 species of birds. Ethiopia is poised to begin filling the Gibe III Dam on the Omo River – the source for this lake – with potentially disastrous hydrological consequences.
This year I’ll be joining in a Day of Action for Rivers that will send a message to World Heritage Committee members in time for their June meeting in Qatar: Alert the world to the risks these sites face, and grant them World Heritage “In Danger” status. If you aren’t already joining an action on March 14, then consider organizing embassy and consulate visits in your own metropolitan area. Visit our website to get a list of the 21 voting nations on the World Heritage Committee and briefing kits for the full range of activities for the International Day of Action for Rivers.
Whether you pump your fist in the air, bring your hands together in prayer, or go knocking on consular doors, do find a way to join into the International Day of Action for Rivers on March 14. The fate of the world’s rivers are in our hands!
Speak out to protect your rivers. They are our lifelines.
Mega Dams Economically Unviable-Oxford Report
India's Dam Building Bonanza
Rivers globally are being choked due to the proliferation of huge mega dam projects under the guise of "green" energy. This is a misrepresentation as we see these mega projects not only costing more in $$$$ but also in environmental damage to indigenous lands, displacement, pollution and diversion of rivers that effects agricultural output. To stand up for our rivers means to also stand up for sensible solutions and our indigenous communities globally.
'Ringwoodite' points to water deep within Earth
Late Melbourne scientist Ted Ringwood's theories appear to have been validated with the discovery of a sample of Ringwoodite from deep beneath the Earth's surface.
One hundred and fifty years ago, in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, French science-fiction forerunner Jules Verne pictured a vast sea that lay deep under our planet's surface.
Today, that strange and haunting image has found an unexpected echo in a scientific paper.
That particular zone in the Earth, the transition zone, might have as much water as all the world's oceans put together.
Graham Pearson, University of Alberta
Writing in the journal Nature, scientists said they had found an elusive mineral pointing to the existence of a vast reservoir deep in Earth's mantle, 400 to 600 kilometres beneath our feet.
The brown diamond that yielded the ringwoodite sample. Photo: Richard Siemens/University of Alberta It may hold as much water as all the planet's oceans combined, they believe. The evidence comes from a water-loving mineral called ringwoodite that came from the so-called transition zone sandwiched between the upper and lower layers of Earth's mantle, they said. Analysis shows a whopping 1.5 per cent of the rock comprises molecules of water.
The find backs once-contested theories that the transition zone, or at least significant parts of it, is water-rich, the investigators said. "This sample really provides extremely strong confirmation that there are local wet spots deep in the Earth in this area," said Graham Pearson of Canada's University of Alberta, who led the research. "That particular zone in the Earth, the transition zone, might have as much water as all the world's oceans put together."
Ringwoodite is named after Australian geologist Ted Ringwood, who theorised that a special mineral was bound to be created in the transition zone because of the ultra-high pressures and temperatures there. A piece of this mineral has been a long-sought goal. It would resolve a long-running debate about whether the poorly-understood transition zone is bone-dry or water-rich. But until now, ringwoodite has only ever been found in meteorites. Geologists had simply been unable to delve deep enough to find any sample on Earth.Good fortune, though, changed all this.
In 2008, amateur gem-hunters digging in shallow river gravel in the Juina area of Mato Grasso, Brazil, came across a tiny, grubby stone called a brown diamond. Measuring just three millimetres across and commercially worthless, the stone was acquired by the scientists when they were on a quest for other minerals. But the accidental acquisition turned out to be a bonanza. In its interior, they found a microscopic trace of ringwoodite – the very first terrestrial evidence of the ultra-rare rock. snip
"In some ways it is an ocean in Earth's interior, as visualised by Jules Verne ... although not in the form of liquid water," Keppler said in a commentary also published by Nature. The implications of the discovery are profound, Pearson suggested. If water exists in huge volumes beneath Earth's crust, it is bound to have a big impact on the mechanics of volcanoes and the movement of tectonic plates."One of the reasons the Earth is such a dynamic planet is the presence of some water in its interior," Pearson said. "Water changes everything about the way a planet works."
Incredible find. There is still so much we have to yet learn about Earth. I have no doubt there is water at the center. In the early stages of Earth's development bombardments by meteors and comets formed the oceans we see around us. It is very likely to me that these relentless bombardments sent water deep into the Earth. Could it be a world within a world?
“Is the Master out of his mind?' she asked me.
'And he's taking you with him?'
I nodded again.
'Where?' she asked.
I pointed towards the centre of the earth.
'Into the cellar?' exclaimed the old servant.
'No,' I said, 'farther down than that.”
― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey To The Centre of The Earth-All Editions
Also see: Where Did Earth's Water Originate
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