02 May 2011

Sample Essay: Water Privation


Water privation entails the insufficient supply of quality water. The commonness of water depletion in many of localities has largely been common, even as this pattern shows clear signs of worsening; future water privation on a global scale is almost a certainty. At this very moment, more than ‘a billion people in developing countries,’ (Siegel, and Talantis (63-64), has access to safe drinking water this has caused economic and water poverty (Lall, Heikkila, Brown and Siegfried 1-17). This trend calls for quick and proper measures to be implemented by various governments and departments that oversee the water supply, to guarantee adequate safe water for all. The most appropriate way of mitigating hardships of water is through integrated river basin management.

Not usually a sensible foreboding. But human’s most grave problem in the 21st century may not be conflicts or famine or illness or even the disintegration of civil stability; it may be the inadequate supply of fresh water. Population increase, pollution of the environment and climate change, all enhancing, thus are expected to unite to present a swift decrease in the supply of water in the near future, according to Lall, Heikkila, Brown, and Siegfried (1-17). Actually, that supply is by now problematic for up to a 30 percent of the world’s population.

Currently, 1.1 billion persons lack access to safe water and further 2.4 billion lack proper sanitation facilities; such populations are found in the developing economies. Yet the reality that these statistics are likely to deteriorate inexorably has not been correctly handled by the world community. In spite of apparent status of the predicament, political dedication to overturn these tendencies has not been in practice (McCarthy 1). Grappling with inactivity at the management level and a globe’s population not properly abreast with the degree of the challenge, the international water privation will reach unparalleled levels in the coming years.  Acute water privation translates to hunger, ill-health and death. MacCathy (1) suggests the report released by World Water Development Report in 2003 confirms an alarming projection. By the mid-21st century, the worst scenario of water scarcity is likely to visit no less than seven billion persons in 60 states, but if the proper policies are implemented this trend may be reversed to two billion individuals in 48 states.

Even though water is an easily accessed stuff on the planet, only 2.53% of it is not salt, the rest is saline. Additionally, of the freshwaters, 65% is frozen and locked up in icecaps and lasting snow cover. What is obtainable, in lakes, aquifers, rivers, and precipitation run-off, is now coming under more and more pressure from numerous directions at simultaneously. Population increase is the prime propeller. The augmenting numbers of humans to over six billion by 2000 meant that the consumption of water nearly doubled in five decades. It is notable, between 1970 and 1990 accessible per capita supply of water decreased by 30% (MacCathy 1). Although birth rates are currently slowing, globe population is still expected to augment by 50% as much for the second time, to almost 9.3 billion persons by 2050.

Demand, actually, comes not merely from the necessity to drink, the need to clean and the demand to handle human waste, significant though comprise these issues; the really enormous calls on the supply of water which originates from industrial sector of the developed economies, and, in the increasing popularity of the agricultural world. Imperatively, watering of crops grown in hot arid lands consumes 70 per cent of the entire water used worldwide. Pollution, from manufacturing industry, farming and not least, sewers, adds another vicious pressure. Close to 2 million tons of human waste are channeled every day into water sources. According to MacCathy (1) one liter fecal material is enough to contaminate almost eight times the volume of fresh water. Currently, reports estimate indicate that all over the world there are close to 12,000 cubic kilometers of wasted water, which is far more compared with the whole amount available in the globe’s ten largest rivers at any particular moment. Nonetheless, it can be noted, if rate of water pollution and population growth increases uniformly, the world will eventually cede 18,000 cubic kilometers of the resource within the next four decades; this will be approximately nine times the volume all countries presently use for watering crops.

All that is not proper; though enhancing the pressure on the supply of water, further is climate change. The effect of climate change as projected by UN scientists is likely to account for almost 20% of the enhancement in water privation. While more precipitation is projected to pound in high latitude regions during winters, such as northern Europe, and Britain, in several drought-prone regions, with an extension to a number of tropical regions, rainfall is expected to decline further. Eventually the quality of water is likely to worsen with increasing levels of pollution and varying water temperatures Siegel, and Talantis (62-65). Additionally, the threat of the global growth of towns: currently, 48% of the Earth’s inhabitants reside in urban areas, and within the next two decades, the proportion is projected to hit a high 60%. Urban areas usually have more easily available clean water supplies compared to rural ones; nonetheless, their challenge is that such township areas concentrate wastes owing to poor sewer systems. MacCathy (1) notes: “Where good waste management is lacking, urban areas are among the world’s most life-threatening environments.”

The gravest, direct repercussions of water privation will apparently affect human health. The availability of clean water can be perceived as both trivial as well as an advantage: Water-related infections are among the most prevalent causes of human ill-health and death. In addition, water-borne diseases, for example gastric infections resulting to diarrhea, are caused by consuming polluted water; vector-borne illnesses, for instance schistosomiasis, and malaria are transmitted by the small snails and mosquitoes that use water as their breeding places. Millions suffer from such infections. In 2000, 2.2 million people were suggested to have passed on due to water and sanitation linked illnesses; about half the number died of malaria. The greater part of the victims was below five years of age. The world’s increasing need for fresh water has also been linked to soaring environmental strain; 60% of the globe’s largest rivers have witnessed their stream flows disrupted by reservoirs and, of the living things that prefer inland aquatic environments, thus affecting the existence of 24% of mammals and 12% of birds.

It is notable, one such agency is the Global Water Partnership (GWP), which was created by institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations (GWP). GWP can provide the technical expertise, advice, and funding sourcing that certain governments may require.

The main technical procedures in IRBM is the restoration of freshwater ecosystems, which encompass re-planting of trees in riparian areas, reconstructing stream waterways form and in-stream ecosystems, removing hindrances or implementing simulations of natural flow systems, reducing eutrophication in large water bodies, restoring water flow to reclaimed wetlands and reinventing native species. Re-establishment of innate uses of land within catchment areas is also another class of activities that is imperative to a lasting program for a deteriorated aquatic system. Some agencies and communities believe that water pollution phenomenon the most effective way to prevent water privation, rather than IRBM, which they say is not realistic and mere paper pushing.

Pollution prevention is the aim of water pollution control, instead of pollution treatment. Pollution prevention and minimization of waste encompass non-technical and technical measures aimed at the prevention of the production of pollutants and waste (Helmer and Hespanhol 1). “It is the conceptual approach to industrial production that demands all phases of the life cycle should be resolved with the aim of minimizing or preventing harm to humans and the environment. This involves the design phase of the product, the selection, fabrication and arrangement of raw materials,” the production and assembly of final products, and the management of all used products after their usability is over” (Helmer and Hespanhol 1).

Siegel, and Talantis (63) suggest that water privation in the future is almost a certainty because of the abuse that our water resources are being subjected to. Right now, more than a billion people are suffering from the gradual depletion of water resources. Despite the fact that the surface of the earth is mostly covered with water, this is not relevant because the issue is the supply of fresh water. The most sustainable and effective way to address the possibility of water privation is through river basin management. It has several stakeholders consisting of international agencies, business, and more importantly, the people themselves who share the water. Some people believe that water pollution control is more effective but this is not the case.

One feasible approach to mitigating the challenges of recognizing non-point source contaminators is to ensure all industries producing diffuse contaminats undertake the implementation of practices and technological innovations that decrease the release of polluting substances into waterways (Siegel, and Talantis 62-65). For instance, all cultivators could grow riparian buffers purposely to help in nutrient filtration or cover crops to decrease leaching. Alternatively, ranchers may opt to protect water ways using fences to restrain livestock dung from being washed to the waterways.

Conclusion

Generally, water pollution control does have its merits, but poses problems like toxicity that could potentially harm the water itself and the species subsisting in it, as well as being very costly. Water pollution control is also part of river basin management, although from a broader perspective. Because of the far reaching scope of river basin management, the perceived disadvantages of water pollution control are mitigated. In fact, water pollution control can only be effective and sustainable if used under the process of river basin management.

Works Cited

Dourojeanni, R. “Water Management at the River Basin Level: Challenges in Latin          America.“2001. Accessed 4 April 2011 from         http://www.bvsde.paho.orglbvsacd/aquaiamer.pdf.

Global Water Partnership. “Strategic Goals.” 2011. Accessed 07 April 2011 from

http://www.gwp.org/eniOur-approachiThe-Global-Context.

Helmer, R., and Hespanhol, 1. “Water Pollution Control – A Guide to the Use of Water    Quality Management Princi ples.” 1997. Accessed 4 April 2011 from

http://www.who.intlwater_sanitation_healthlresourcesquality/watpolcontrol.pdf.

Lall U, Heikkila T, Brown C, Siegfried T. Water in the 21st Century: Defining the Elements      of Global Crises and Potential Solutions. Journal of International Affairs, 61.2    (2008): 1-17.

McCarthy, Michael. Water Scarcity Could Affect Billions: Is This the Biggest Crisis of All?      (Web, March 5 2003). Retrieved from           http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0305- 05.htm

Ramakrishna, V. and Babu, B.V. “Fresh Water Depletion – A Crisis: Causes &    Remedies.”n.d. Accessed 4 April 2011 from http://discovery.bits-        pilani.ac.in/~bvbabulFrshwaterE&P98.pdf.

Siegel, Paul S., and Talantis, Billie S. Water intake as a function of privation interval when        food is withheld. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 43.1 (1950):         62-65.

University of Michigan. “Human Appropriation of the World’s Fresh Water Supply. 2000.

Accessed 4 Apri12011 from http://www.globalchange.umich.

edu! globalchange2/ current/Iectures/freshwater _supply/freshwater.html.Web

World Wildlife Fund. “A Holistic Approach.” 2011. Accessed 7 April 2011 from

http://wwf.panda.org/about_ our_earth/about_freshwater/rivers/irbm/

07 Feb 2010

Sample Essay: Climate Change Two Perspectives

Climate change is one of the most contentious public policy issues facing the world today. While there is practically no argument challenging the reality of the ongoing global warming, what is essentially being contested is whether climate change is anthropogenic or simply a natural, cyclical phenomenon upon which human activities do not cast a major impact. This paper will attempt to compare these two opposing perspectives on climate change.

Science of Climate Change

A comparison of the differing perspectives on the obtaining global warming takes off from the basics of the new science of climate change. This field covers several disciplines including chemistry, meteorology, physics, biology, oceanography, biology, and even sociology (Global Climate Change).

The beginning of climate change science can be traced to Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist who concluded in his 1896 study that changes in of carbon dioxide or CO2 could produce effects on the climate. Later, in 1938, Guy Stewart. Callendar, an English engineer, asserted that the increased CO2 levels had given rise to a warming trend (Scheider).

Greenhouse Effect

Because of the transparency of the atmospheric gasses to visible light, sunlight is able to largely penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and reach the surface, where it is absorbed heated up, and thereafter re-emitted in the form of infrared radiation. In this form, this energy is not able to completely escape to space because clouds and certain other naturally-occurring particles and gases absorb infrared radiation. The trapped infrared energy is emitted again in opposing directions-towards the surface and back to space. The re-emission downwards particularly adds heat to the layers below, leading to the further warming of the surface of the earth. Ultimately, the presence of greenhouse gasses accounts for the higher surface temperature, with a difference of 33 °C (60 °F) between the actual surface air temperature and what would have been without the greenhouse gases (Schneider).

The presence of natural greenhouse gases has made the plant more habitable. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, and to a limited extent, also methane, constitute the most important of the naturally occurring greenhouse gases (Schneider). The fact that human activities contribute to the content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere forms the crux of the global warming debate.

Anthropogenic Perspective

Humans, being part of the biosphere, have always influenced the earth’s climate system. This climate system is made up not only of the atmosphere and the hydrosphere but also of the cryosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. Thousands of years ago, when nomadic humans discovered agriculture, they cleared vast tracts of land, thus casting considerable impact on regional climate-a development that will be sustained for centuries since. Humans would engage in slash-and-burn farming and other agricultural practices, inland water regulation or building development-activities that altered how the Earth’s surface and near-surface winds of the atmosphere back-scatter solar radiation (cited in Hillerbrand and Ghil 2132).

At the same time, human activities have been influenced by climatic variations, either promoting or constraining them. It is only rather very recently, with advances in science, technology and the resulting construction of sophisticated infrastructural systems have humans considerably lessened the impact of climatic variations on their activities (Schneider).

However, according to the anthropogenic paradigm of climate change, it is at the point when humans became less restrained by variations in climate that their activities began to considerably contribute to global warming, leading to the changes we now see around us. These changes include the erratic weather patterns and perhaps the more potentially dramatic effects on animals and plants. This came about beginning around the 1800s, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, which is the point when human knowledge in science and technology allowed people to alter more the environment to conform more to their plans and establish new lifestyles.

This perspective holds that fossil fuel burning and other human activities have raised the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, significantly contributing to global warming. According to the IPCC or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body formed by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, the average earth surface temperature has risen by about 0.60 in the 20th century. This temperature level is believed to be warmer than at any point in the past century, with the warmest years occurring within the last ten years (Global Climate Change). The IPCC in its updated 2007 report points to human activities as the likely cause of global warming, being cautious to point out that given the complexity of the workings of the earth’s climate, full certainty may not be reached (Weart and American Institute, Introduction).

While it is a historical fact that early on, people did not seriously consider the impact of human-induced CO2 on the world’s climate, military researches during World War II and the Cold War led to further understanding of the CO2 impact. Scientists began to understand that the absorption of CO2 by the oceans was slow, essentially owing to the exponential growth of industry and population (Feldman and Weart). In the 1950s, scientists discovered the possibility of global warming almost by accident (Weart and American Institute, The Carbon). In 1965, Lorenz, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggested during a conference that global warming could lead to disastrous ‘surprises’ (Scheider). C.D. Keeling, for his part, found that atmospheric levels of CO2 were rapidly rising.

In contrast to the climate change of the past, the obtaining global warming is being initiated by human activities that add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Furthermore, the rise of temperature following increases gas levels involved a short time lag of only a few decades instead of centuries. Thus the rates of climate change are hugely faster than the shifts in orbit responsible for the ice ages of the past (Feldman and Weart).

The 2005 comparison of computer calculations with protracted ocean basin temperatures showed near matches of rising temperatures and calculated predictions of where greenhouse effects should be. This was seen as proof of temperature imbalance, with the planet absorbing close to an average of one watt per square meter of sunlight more than it was reflecting into space-caused by no less than greenhouse gases (Feldman and Weart).

It is worth noting that the global warming effects of worse droughts, heat waves, severe storms and floods were correctly predicted as early as the 1950s-to start manifesting sometime in the year 2000 (Feldman and Weart). Today, those who subscribe to this perspective hold just minor disagreements in terms of the details of the processes underlying the general themes (Global Climate Change). The projection is that by the close of this century, the average temperature of the earth can range from about 1.4-60C, depending on how successful the restrictions of greenhouse gas emissions will be (Weart and American Institute, Introduction).

Climate Change as Natural Phenomenon

In the United States, the science of climate change has been particularly politicized. The administration of George W. Bush has been criticized for the suppression of scientific reports on global warming, beginning with the deliberate withholding of the “National Assessment” report made during the Bill Clinton administration, which reported that on the whole, global warming can lead to some benefits but most of its impacts would be adverse. A 2003 bill proposing a weak system of carbon emissions trading was defeated following opposition from the administration and the denunciation by certain senators as to how its restrictions would ruin the economy. Later, Republican Senator James Inhofe tried to show that global warming was “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” by holding hearings in the hope of producing credible and scientific evidence or testimonies supporting his stand; however, it is said that even his fellow Republican lawmakers started to doubt the wisdom of his extreme position (Weart and American Institute, Government).

The position of Sen. Inhofe can be said to encapsulate the perspective that global warming is but a natural scheme of things and that the anthropogenic view is merely propaganda against the use of fossil fuels. The relatively fewer climatologists, public figures and adherents of the non-anthropogenic perspective do not actually contest the proposition that the earth is undergoing global warming. They acknowledge the reality of the presently occurring change in the global climate, beginning with the onset of the Industrial Age in the 1800s. The difference is that this perspective also cites the history or pattern of the recurring climate changes the planet has gone through while minimizing the role of human activities in the picture (Lupo).

According to this view, there are a number of major causes of global warming, including ocean circulation, volcanic eruptions, solar variations, and orbital variations. Herein, human-induced emissions of CO2 through fossil fuel burning, along with other greenhouse gases, constitute just one factor (National Academies). It holds that global warming is driven more by natural causes than by human-induced rise in greenhouse gases. This perspective points to the supposedly continuing debates in terms of (1) what role carbon dioxide plays in the carbon cycle; (2) how exactly the planet’s climate works; and (3) questions on the reliability of climate models, among others (National Academies).

This view of human activities not being the cause of global warming is nothing exactly new. After around the 1970s when science was just about only beginning to understand the intricacy of the earth’s climate even as improved computer models have already been developed, scientists argued over how deforestation and agriculture figure in the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels amidst the lack of information on the interaction of living ecosystems with the atmosphere.

Evolving Science

There remain a lot of questions to be answered in the science of climate change. The atmosphere, with its various layers of air having temperature patterns each, presents scientific challenges in terms of the understanding of whether temperature or air circulation changes comprise complex longer-term cycles. It is also not yet fully understood how the interconnection existing between the air, land and sea may multiply the effects of any climate change (Global Climate Change).

Herein, the oceans considerably figure in the regulation of climate, as bodies of water comprise over 70% of the planetary surface, absorbing great amounts of energy from the sun. As in the past, the oceans stand to greatly influence future changes in the global climate, bet they induced by natural cyclical changes or by anthropogenic activities (Global Climate Change).

The cryosphere will also continue to play an important role in climate change because its reduction/melting (or any expansion/polar water freezing) affects sea level, air temperature, storm patterns and ocean currents. The Polar Regions, it should be noted, present enormous significance to climate change science because these frozen masses contain detailed records of the earth’s past climates. Re biosphere, as global warming presents potential devastation on a number of species, given land developments that obstruct what would have been animals’ migration response option, the fossil and other records they leave can also help in the understanding or detection of climate change (Global Climate Change).

The study of climate change is a complex science. As it is, the interpretation of climate change data is difficult but predictions of future changes present even greater challenges (Global Climate Change). Climate models, which are complex computer-based simulations, are herein used but how reliable these are really depends on the number of variables and measurement accuracy.

Conclusion

The IPCC, the main body representing the consensus holding the anthropogenic perspective of climate change, was cautious enough to point out that climate change science may be understood with full certainty. The contrarian view seems to capitalize on this, in the process casting doubt on whether human activities indeed significantly contribute to global warming. In terms of the number of adherents, the anthropogenic perspective is definitely more of mainstream: while the IPCC-portrayed consensus may not be as solid, the fact is that there are fewer scientists who believe the obtaining climate change is merely a cyclical phenomenon. At any rate, both perspectives agree that global warming is happening now. The difference in the views of what mainly causes the warming of the planet will spell out the great divide between the public policies that they could give rise to.

Works Cited

Feldman, Theodore and Spencer Weart. Changing Sun, Changing Climate? Web. 25 Oct. 2009.

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/solar.htm

Global Climate Change. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/

Lupo, Anthony. Anthropogenic Global Warming: A Skeptical Point of View. Missouri Medicine.

105.2 (2008 March/April). Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://weather.missouri.edu/

gcc/LupoMOMed.pdf

Schneider, Stephen. Climate Change. February 2005. Stanford University Site. Web. 25 Oct.

2009. http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Climate/ClimateFrameset.html

Hillerbrand, Rafaela and Michael Ghil. Anthropogenic Climate Change: Scientific Uncertainties

and Moral Dilemmas. 21 Feb. 2008. Physica D 237 (2008) 2131-2138. Web. 25 Oct.

2009. http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/RH&MG-Warming_ethics-

Physica_D’08.pdf

National Academy of Sciences. Global Warming Facts & Our Future. Web. 25 Oct. 2009.

http://www.koshland-science-museum.org/exhibitgcc/causes01.jsp

Weart, Spencer; and American Institute of Physics. Government: The View from Washington,

DC. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Govt.htm

Weart, Spencer; and American Institute of Physics. Introduction: A Hyperlinked History of

Climate Change Science. Web. 25 Oct. 2009. http://www.aip.org/history/ climate/summary.htm

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