CAMPAIGN: Sustainability Awareness
“Climate change is changing the statistics, we can't use the past as avery good predictor anymore.”
Dr. Tom Harmon of the Water Sustainability Project goes on to say, "We've relied on past history to try and judge how much water we'll have and statistically that used to work out, but now climate change is changing the statistics and we can't use the past as a very good predictor anymore." He’s talking about this limitation in the context of the Sierra Nevada Snow Pack & Snow Melt that provides drinking water to about 30% of California residents, irrigation water to the $35B agricultural industry, and water to run the hydroelectic power industry that serves up 15% of California electricity. Being able to predict how much water and when is crucial to the management of water resources.
The connection of climate change and water to sustainability is made clear in an online video series, Sustainability:Water. The series brings into focus the challenges we have around "wanting water that is healthy, enjoyable, and safe" here in the United States in our cities, farmlands, mountains, rivers and lakes.
The Sierra Nevada Snow pack and Snow Melt video featuring Scientists Tom Harmon and Martha Conklin of UC Merced is one of six videos in the collection, Sustainability:Water, produced by NBC News’ educational arm NBC Learn, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). The seventh video is The Water Cycle an animated primer on the flow and storage processes that supports life on earth. This collection aims to help people become more conscious of the threats to our water supply, from human activity and climate variability, and understand the steps that need to be taken to maintain it.
The other five videos in the collection are:
The Ogallala Aquifer, Kansas farmers Stan Townsend and Mitchell Baalman with Scientist David Hyndman from Michigan State University -pumping out water for crop irrigation far faster than natural seepage of rainwater can replenish it;
Los Angeles and Water Import featuring UCLA researchers Stephanie Pincetl and Mark Gold - nearly 10 million people needing water;
Baltimore's Urban Streams with Scientist Claire Welty of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County - the Chesapeake is facing an environmental crisis due to pollutants;
Nutrient Loading in Lake Erie, Researchers Anna Michalak, Tom Bridgeman, and Pete Richards, University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center - a vital source of drinking water for 11 million people; and
Dead Trees and Dirty Water In The Rockies, with Scientists Reed Maxwell of Colorado School of Mines and John Stednick of Colorado State University - the Rocky Mountains supply water to more than 60 million homes in the West.
Through private-public partnerships such as the one that produced this collection, sustainability awareness is increased and the focus on water and the effects of climate change brings home the need for education and research around threats to our water supply. The NSF with an annual budget of about $7.0 billion (FY 2012), is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. NBC Learn is the educational arm of NBC News dedicated to providing resources for students, teachers and lifelong learners.
Let's work to promote the series by linking and embedding the videos in our blogs, on our Websites, and in educational resources published as part of CSR programs.
Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, August 1, 2013, Cleveland, Ohio