Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems
  • Many dryland cities like Los Angeles, Cairo and Tehran have already outstripped natural water recharge, but are expected to continue growing, resulting in a deepening arid urban water crisis.
  • According to NASA’s GRACE mission, 19 key freshwater basins, including several in the U.S., are being unsustainably depleted, with some near collapse; much of the water is used indiscriminately by industrial agribusiness.
  • Many desert cities, including Tripoli, Phoenix and Los Angeles,
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Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish

Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish

As with many other aspects of government policy, overfishing and other fishing-related environmental issues are a real problem, but it’s not clear that government intervention is the solution. Indeed, it might be one of the main drivers of overfishing and other conservation and sustainability issues stemming from commercial fishing. Much like drone fishing, there are serious ethical issues of interest to the average angler.

There’s another commonality that overfishing has … [more…]

Deciphering Water, Stone, and Movement

Deciphering Water, Stone, and Movement

In 2017, Jorge welcomed me to the headquarters of Costa Rica’s underground water agency. His supervisor had asked him to show me “the model” at work. After many years of fieldwork on water issues, I had already been introduced to many models: the mathematical model to calculate extraction rates, two different pieces of software that model aquifer flow, the regulatory model Costa Rica’s agency follows, and sponges as a preferred … [more…]

Forests Near or Far Can Protect Water for Cities

Forests Near or Far Can Protect Water for Cities

Near or far, forests — like this one at the edge of Hong Kong — affect the movement, quality and availability of water in cities. Photo by Florian Wehde/Unsplash

Water is essential to human health and well-being. In cities, leaders strive to provide secure access to clean, safe and affordable water. In rural areas, farmers hope for adequate rain and healthy rivers to produce healthy crops. The coronavirus pandemic reminds … [more…]

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR): combat poverty and hunger through land and vegetation restoration

Introduction

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a low-cost land restoration technique used to combat poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers by increasing food and timber production and resilience to climate extremes. Started in 1983 in Niger, FMNR is a form of coppicing and pollarding, drawing on traditional practices and sensitive to local variations.

In FMNR systems, farmers protect and manage the growth of trees and shrubs that regenerate

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