March 14, 2010

‘Peak Water’ Could Flush Civilisation

January 23, 2010

Irish Times - Forget peak oil. Forget climate change. Peak water is where it’s at, according to Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Alexander Bell, who has just written a fascinating book, Peak Water (Luath Press, Scotland).

“It’s the coming issue of our age,” says Bell. “Civilisation is thirsty. It has never stopped to think about what would happen if the water ran out.”
And while Bell acknowledges tackling climate change is important, he firmly states peak water would have happened with or without it ...

The idea of valuing water as a precious resource links right into the same issues raised by climate change.

In fact, the idea of an individual water footprint has already been raised. A water footprint encompasses the reality that we affect water beyond our borders when countries that have a short supply of water grow and make things that have a heavy demand on water.

Bell suggests that revaluing water across the globe would take a radical shift. He explains how, because water is growing scarce in traditional wheat-, rice- and maize-growing areas of the US, India and Pakistan, it should be possible that the wet north could replace production, in part.

He also suggests that the north European (and now North American) model of industrialised, liberal, capitalist society may be best suited to wet countries. Secondly, he suggests we are quite used to making naturally occurring materials such as coal or oil into assets, so why not water? There is already a price on water in some places but putting a price on water that changes people’s usage habits (both personal and agricultural) is a broader issue. Bell says:

“We should be the ones who build new houses with composting toilets and reed beds to clean the waste water. We should instigate rainwater collection on a large scale . . . We should ensure that more food is grown for local consumption. The wet world should grow vital food for the dry world.”
Bell also brings up the widely held belief that the next wars to be fought in the world will be over water. In fact, he states that such wars have already occurred in some places – for example, between Pakistan and India. And the investment bank Goldman Sacks has dubbed water the petroleum for the next century.
“With the Cold War over and the threat from mass nuclear deployment apparently gone, we have switched our fears to a water war,” he writes.
According to Bell, what both threats show is that we fear our capacity to self-destruct (many would argue that much of the rhetoric around climate change comes from the same place).
He adds: “the reality of changing our water use is colossal. It calls for a new kind of civilisation built on global co-operation. The penalty for not doing this will be widespread social chaos.”

Food Security Threat: Goverment Set to Ban Public Fishing, Individual Food Production

By Mac Slavo,
March 10, 2010

In yet another example of government overstepping its bounds, the Obama administration is preparing to ban fishing in coastal areas around the country, as well as the Great Lakes and other inland water resources:
This announcement comes at the time when the situation supposedly still is “fluid” and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force still hasn’t issued its final report on zoning uses of these waters.

That’s a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning.

“When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to end one of the best scientifically managed big game hunts in North America (spring bear), the results of their agenda had severe economic impacts on small family businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano.

“Now we see NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the administration planning the future of recreational fishing access in America based on a similar agenda of these same groups and other Big Green anti-use organizations, through an Executive Order by the President. The current U.S. direction with fishing is a direct parallel to what happened in Canada with hunting: The negative economic impacts on hard working American families and small businesses are being ignored.

“In spite of what we hear daily in the press about the President’s concern for jobs and the economy, and contrary to what he stated in the June order creating this process, we have seen no evidence from NOAA or the task force that recreational fishing and related jobs are receiving any priority.”

Banning “recreational” fishing isn’t just an issue of economics, but is a threat to the personal liberty of each individual’s right to produce their own food. And banning fishing is just one of several policy changes the government is looking at.

In Federal Food Police Coming Soon To A Farm Near You, Tess Pennington points out the risks of letting the government oversee individual food production methods under HR Bill 875 and The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which specifically target agricultural goods, including crops and livestock on personal, non-commercial farms:

What is to stop the government from defining a small home garden as a food facility? Because of the vagueness of this bill, it is not only the micro farmers that are affected by this. Anyone who has a garden, or shares their produce with neighbors or even owns a local restaurant that supports local farmers and buys their produce could be affected. We could all be affected and pay the price dearly for not speaking up. Many say that this bill is unconstitutional in that state rights will be stripped away. If passed, the state cannot go in and take care of the problem. It is a federal issue, thus will have federal repercussions.

Slowly but surely, the federal government is moving towards eliminating the ability of individual Americans to produce their own food -- a direct attack on our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

For an administration with so much focus on “sustainability” it is ironic that they are attacking the very core of the sustainability movement -- the individual. As more restrictions on the public are cemented through use of Congressional mandates and Presidential Executive Orders, the rights of individuals to take their well being into their own hands is further impeded.

Of course, under recent administrations, government is the answer for everything. The rugged individual or neo-survivalist is now becoming the fringe extremist. Why would someone need to produce their own food when they could drive down to the local Walmart or Super Target and pickup up all the genetically modified food they need, manufactured under pristine conditions in one of several centralized processing plants?

All of these proposed changes aimed at our ability to produce our own food seem to fall, in part, under the United Nations’ Agenda 21 initiatives, which are touted as “sustainability development” programs. It seems, however, that the UN’s ideas for sustainable living focus more on collectivists ideologies than they do on the individual.

Rather than teaching individuals to become self sustaining, the goal of the UN’s Agenda 21 initiative is for the government to provide sustainability to the population. And according to Michael Shaw, president of Freedom Advocates, Agenda 21 can be summarized by three points and are supported by the documents prepared by the United Nations.

The goals of the UN include the abolition of rural and suburban private property, global citizenship education, and population control. It sounds scary, perhaps even unbelievable.
But don’t take our word for it, read the Agenda 21 Core Publications at the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development.

Based on this evidence, it is important to note that it is not only Barrack Obama that is pushing for restrictions on your ability to fish, or grow food, or manage your own livestock for personal use. This is a global effort with the dictates coming from the United Nations, and it has been happening for several decades.

Terrorism against our food supply and unsanitary conditions during food production are only minor issues to our food security when compared to what may be the greatest threat facing sustainable living -- our very own government.

March 2, 2010

Texas County Restricts Well Water

By Regina Dennis, Tribune-Herald
March 1, 2010

A few county water suppliers are concerned that water-pumping restrictions being set by the county’s groundwater management district will prevent them from being able to serve future water consumers.

Well owners will have to apply for permanent historic-use-production permits through the Southern Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.

The permits will grant each well owner a maximum amount of water that may be pumped each year based on the well’s historic water use and the total number of wells in McLennan County.

The county’s combined water usage must not exceed 20,194 acre-feet — about 6.6 billion gallons — of water each year, an allowance set by the Texas Water Development Board.

Purdis Medlin, president of the Levi Water Supply Corp. in the Lorena area, told the district’s board at its biweekly meeting last week that limiting well owners’ water usage to historic levels could leave them unable to meet water demands if any new development occurs.
“We have people that were planning on developing some land in our area. But I’m concerned that if all we get is [based upon] our historic use, then we won’t be able to issue any more meters,” Medlin said.
James Smith of the Texas Rural Water Association attended the meeting with Medlin.

Smith monitors the rules mandated by different groundwater-conservation districts across the state and said Medlin’s concerns are shared by numerous other small water suppliers.
“If there’s new development, there will be an increased need for water. But if the suppliers can’t exceed their historic use, what we’re looking at is how restrictive that may be in providing water to consumers,” Smith said. “I think it’s something that the districts will have to consider as this progresses.”
Possible solution

Al Blair, an Austin-based civil engineer who has served as a consultant for the district on its groundwater-management plan, said one solution is to have water suppliers apply for additional, nonhistoric use production permits. That would guarantee them more water for their customer base.

However, those permits will be awarded only after the historic-use permits have been issued.
“I think it’s too early in the process to make that claim, that there won’t be enough water,” Blair said. “What our goal is right now is we want to protect the water being used now.

“We want to protect it and make sure you maintain that water and that it is not diminished. Then I believe we may have some room after that to guarantee water providers additional water for their future use.”
Blair said the Texas Water Development Board also is likely to review those water allowances in the next five years. The board potentially could increase the amount of water allotted to each region and grant more water to well owners.

The water district will have a meeting at 6 p.m. March 18 at the Hewitt Community Center, 208 Chama Drive, to answer well owners’ questions about the permit application.
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