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Water Consciousness: How We All Have To Change To Protect Our Most Critical Resource Paperback – September 1, 2008
Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
A great gift for country music fans, The Anthology Part 1 includes CDs containing the music of Garth's first five years, and behind-the-scenes photographs and stories never before made public. Learn more
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator from Rhode Island:
WHITEHOUSE: Gentlemen, we're in the middle of a near total mortgage system meltdown in this country. We have a health care system that burns 16 percent of our GDP, in which the Medicare liability alone has been estimated at $34 trillion. We're burning $10 billion a month in Iraq.
This administration has run up $7.7 trillion in national debt, by our calculation. And there is worsening evidence every day of global warming, with worsening environmental and national security and economic ramifications. In light of those conditions, do any of you seriously contend that drilling for more oil is the number one issue facing the American people today?
(Long silent pause during which nobody answers.)
WHITEHOUSE: No, it doesn't seem so.
I watched this remarkable moment as I was reading 'Water Consciousness', a book about a crisis that just possibly muscles oil --- and everything else --- aside as the biggest threat to life as we know it. News to you? It certainly would be to our nation's leaders. But consider some facts:
-- Right now, 1.3 billion people have no access to clean water and 2.5 billion lack adequate sewage or sanitation. The demand for water doubles every 20 years. At this rate, demand for fresh water will outpace supply by 50% --- in less than 20 years.
-- Yes, the earth is mostly water, but 97% of the earth's water is salty. All freshwater-dependent life shares 1% of the earth's water.
-- 70% of the water in America we use goes to agriculture.
--- That third-of-a-pound burger? It takes 600 gallons of water to grow the corn that feeds the cow that produces just that third of a pound of meat.
-- To sustain life, we each need 13 gallons of water a day. In the United States, we each use about 150 gallons.
-- Three out of four Americans drink bottled water. One out of five Americans drinks only bottled water.
-- National Climate Data Center officials say that 43% of the United States is in "moderate to extreme drought."
-- More than 50% of the water that American households use goes for lawns, gardens and pools.
In short, we are wasting a resource we can't live without. We are in crisis. And we have not declared any level of emergency.
This is not to say we're lost. Smart, serious essays by experienced professionals explain the problem and present some savvy solutions. If you're better read than this water user, perhaps you already know about the importance of watersheds and acequias (communal irrigation systems) and cisterns that collect rainwater --- but let me confess, I read with a pen in hand, and marked a lot. You may not like Big Government; you need to know the argument for a federal trust fund for water.
And in these pages you can learn what you, as an individual, can do. Calculate your water footprint. Rethink that lawn. Get a front-loading washing machine. Stop buying gourmet water; purify tap water at home and carry it around in non-toxic bottles.
A Goldman Sachs analyst predicts that the "water business could become the oil business of the decade from 2020 to 2030." Whatever your politics, you really don't want that to happen. So either read two hundred pages of this picture-and-text book or start looking for a second home that has its own water supply. Because you don't want to be sitting on the sidelines, thirsty, as a Senator desperately tries to talk sense to his/her colleagues in 2025.