Sunday, May 15, 2016

Be a Good Ancestor, Please

I like the message AND the image. The former is, I would like to think, obvious. In 2016, though, it seems a lot of us are not thinking about our real job.
The image shows what the world's water would look like if gathered into a sphere resting in western North America. Not only is this sphere relatively small, we should know three things about its composition:

  • 97 percent of it is salt, which is great for a lot of purposes, but not drinking or agriculture.
  • 2 percent of it is frozen, important for regulating the earth's temperature (by reflecting sunlight), but not for drinking or agriculture.
  • 1 percent is fresh, liquid and therefore possibly useful for drinking and agriculture. But this is not evenly distributed AND includes virtually all of our water pollution.

And one last thing -- as the 2 percent that is frozen melts, it becomes salt water, not fresh. In fact, some of it chills the salt water slightly, leading some people to think that the world is not warming.

We usually start our EarthView presentations with a discussion of the 97-2-1 breakdown, and often then use the globe to talk about where that 1 percent of water is distributed.

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