Thursday, March 2, 2017

Water Is Life (for some)

Water is Life but when it comes to desalinization, the carbon footprint of providing fresh water now can mean death in the future.

“What you are doing is so crucially important,” said Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, to the participants at the conclusion of the workshop. She pointed out that while the world population is “going up, up, up, the amount of fresh water is basically a fixed asset.” And yet, there is “an incredible resource in the ocean, all the water you could want, yet it’s not suitable for human needs.” That’s why it is so essential, she said, to find a way to provide “access to clean water that doesn’t impact the environment in a negative way with its carbon footprint.”

“We need breakthroughs on this,” Zuber said, “and thanks to the efforts of all of you, I think we’re going to have it.”

The new high-tech desalinization plant in Israel confronts regional climate-influenced drought by using more fossil fuels. A temporary respite for the Jordan River and Dead Sea, but long term? More Syrias and South Sudans and Yemens. Most proposals call for more nuclear power to run these plants (near term) with research into geothermal or other renewable energy forms. But they will need investment from the same capitalist system causing the problem in the first place.

I believe Techno-optimism is a large reason people seem so unconcerned with the climate crisis. While many condemn scientists for doomsday modeling and projections, they trust these same scientists will produce perfect solutions if the problem turns out to be Real. Surely the brilliant minds giving us nano-technology, space exploration and artificial intelligence can fix a little problem like climate change!

I guess we all have to believe in something; an Invisible Hand, an Omnipotent Science, an Intelligent Design, a pluralist, egalitarian democracy. Goethe understood the bargain, the beauty and tragedy of human development.

It is obvious the Trump administration has decided how it will confront the problem: build walls, beef up the military and security services and create a fortress. America First (and last one standing)! Kill em all and let God sort em out!

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