Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Iraq’s new war is a fight for water

Iraq’s new war is a fight for water – The National Newspaper

Dam projects by neighbouring states are drastically reducing the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates and helping to turn a once-fertile plain into desert. Phil Sands and Nizar Latif report as an environmental crisis deepens

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Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis

Safe tap water is a luxury that many people in the world do not enjoy. In many developing countries, it is not safe to drink or use the tap water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts health information about every country in the world, and it’s interesting to see how many countries fall under the following advice: “Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.”

Bottled water is expensive, of course, and people living at the base of the pyramid (BoP) often cannot afford it. World Resources Institute’s research in The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid shows that low-income customers pay anywhere from eight to sixteen times more for bottled or trucked water than they would for a local, public utility (page 58). If this isn’t a BoP penalty, then I don’t know what is.

WorldChanging: Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis

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From The Environment News Service


By J.R. Pegg
WASHINGTON, DC, December 6, 2007 (ENS)
A Senate
committee approved a landmark global warming bill Wednesday night,
calling on the nation to cut greenhouse gas emissions some 70 percent
by 2050. Although the measure faces an uphill battle in the full
Senate, proponents say the vote signals a growing consensus within
Congress and among the American public that the United States needs to
take more aggressive action to tackle global warming.


By Lisa J. Wolf
CRESCENT VALLEY, Nevada, December 6, 2007 (ENS)
32nd Annual American Indian Film Festival presented Western Shoshone
grandmother Carrie Dann with the Eagle Spirit award for best overall
contribution in American Indian cinema at an awards ceremony November
27. “Our Land, Our Life,” the film that shows the Western Shoshones’
determined struggle to maintain their way of life, won the festival’s
Best Documentary award.


NUSA DUA, Bali, Indonesia, December 5, 2007 (ENS)Adaptations to
climate change that are working for farmers in the Sudan and China,
flood-prone cities in Argentina and Uruguay, and Caribbean islands at
risk of dengue fever, among others, were presented in a new report at
the United Nations climate conference now underway in Bali. Hosted by
the government of Indonesia, the conference brings together
representatives of more than 180 governments.


WASHINGTON, DC, December 4, 2007 (ENS)One of the most intact and
biodiverse rainforest regions on Earth, located in the Upper Amazon
Basin on the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border, is now threatened by imminent
oil development, warns a conservation organization based in Washington
with close ties to its counterpart groups in South America. Known as
the Napo Moist Forest ecosystem, this remote region is home to
uncontacted indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation.

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Air Polluters Sail the High Seas

Though cars and industrial plants are more notorious for contributing to global warming, cargo ships are also heavyweight polluters. Researchers with the German Aerospace Center and University of Delaware estimate that ocean ships dump between 600 million and 900 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. That’s comparable to the total yearly emissions of countries like Germany or Canada.

Air Polluters Sail the High Seas — In These Times

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Sydney: 50 years to live

“…The fields and vineyards are the colour of the camels I once saw near Ayer’s Rock. Snakebites are on the rise, as copperheads and tiger-snakes creep closer to human habitation in search of water. Last night, coming out to watch a comet that had appeared from nowhere, I scattered ten wallabies cropping the grass. A year ago, these timid creatures never came near the house.”

The First Post: Sydney: 50 years to live

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A deeply green city confronts its energy needs and nuclear worries — and money

FORT COLLINS, Colorado: This city takes pride in being green, from its official motto, “Where renewal is a way of life,” to its Climate Wise energy program, which helps local businesses reduce the carbon emissions that scientists say can contribute to global warming.

But now two proposed energy projects are exposing the hard place that communities like this across the country are likely to confront in years to come as the tangled nuances of thinking globally come back to bite.

Both projects would do exactly what the city proclaims it wants, helping to produce zero-carbon energy. But one involves crowd-pleasing, feel-good solar power, and the other is a uranium mine, which has a base of support here about as big as a pinkie.

A deeply green city confronts its energy needs and nuclear worries – International Herald Tribune

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The Big Dry

Australia is locked in a drought of drastic proportions. In recent years, rivers have reached record lows. Temperatures have spiked to record highs. Cities are running out of water. Wildfires are burning. Ecosystems are suffering. And climate models are projecting more of the same—and worse—for many years to come.

The Big Dry: Science News Online, Oct. 27, 2007

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Ecological Catastrophe Overwhelms the Strait of Kerch

MOSCOW, Russia, November 16, 2007 (ENS) – A “colossal” ecological catastrophe is growing even larger in the Strait of Kerch where at least 10 oil tankers and cargo ships loaded with sulfur were wrecked in a fierce storm on November 11. At least six sailors died in the wreckage.

Now the storm in the Strait of Kerch is getting stronger, so it is not possible to stop the flow of oil into the sea and organize its collection and removal. Black oil stains are taking over the entire marine territory and the catastrophe is spreading.

Ecological Catastrophe Overwhelms the Strait of Kerch

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Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

The retail chain is been persuaded by the arguments of the New York-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice and a coalition of health and environmental organizations that mounted an anti-PVC campaign in October 2006, complete with a blowup plastic yellow duck that is displayed at protest actions in front of stores

Testing has detected toxic lead and phthalates and in a broad range of PVC consumer products, including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.

Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

There are even more cogent (although less compelling) arguments against PVC.

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Solons Short Sheet Shrub — Now Officially A Lame Duck

WASHINGTON — President Bush suffered the first veto override of his seven-year-old presidency Thursday as the Senate enacted a $23 billion water resources bill despite his protest that it was filled with unnecessary projects.

The 79-14 vote included 34 Republicans who defied the president.

Congress Hands Bush First Veto Override –

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Congress Intends to Override Bush Water Resources Veto

On September 24, the Senate voted in favor of the WRDA bill by a margin of 81-12. The House approved the bill in August by a vote of 381-40…

Saying, “This bill lacks fiscal discipline,” the president Friday vetoed the Water Resources Development Act, WRDA, which authorizes projects that impact waterborne commerce on the nation’s rivers and coasts. WRDA also authorizes critical habitat restoration projects and environmental projects…

“It’s a sad moment for the presidency and for Congress; it is an unnecessary veto, pointless,” said Oberstar. “For seven years, a succession of Republican congresses has failed to enact the most important internal development bill in this country and it’s all been on this president’s watch.” …

Congress Intends to Override Bush Water Resources Veto

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Think Outside The Bottle — Take The Pledge

Bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water. Though many bottled water brands come from the same source as public tap water, they are marketed as somehow more pure. What’s more – bottled water corporations sell water back to the public at thousands of times the cost. Plastic bottles also require massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Billions of these bottles wind up in landfills every year.

You can help reverse this trend. At events and over online networks tens of thousands are supporting the efforts of local officials to reduce the social impact and environmental harm of bottled water by prioritizing public water systems. Taking the Think Outside the Bottle Pledge is quick, easy, and sends the message that water is a human right, not a commodity.    Take the pledge!