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Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day

Peak Oil VS Peak Water

by Elaine "The Brain"

Elaine is one of our brilliant advisers at Marigold and she is passionate about three things: natural health, permaculture and fabric arts. She describes herself as the original granola-head, having been in the health food industry since its infancy. Elaine lives, breathes, and cares about all things good for your health and the planet's, believing that we co-evolve as symbiotes in a continually changing planet. She has more than 25 years experience in organic gardening and sustainable living. She is a dynamic leader in the valley's Transition Town and has a private consulting practice as a permaculture design consultant and teacher.

We call her Elaine "the Brain" because she is brilliant, caring and well-informed. 
Here is Elaine's first blog.... be prepared to be shaken, stirred and informed.

By now the term ‘peak oil’ has become a regular part of the discourse on environment, economics, and development. The concept that fossil fuel production is going to involve more extreme measures, more elaborate infrastructure, and greater risk to the ecosystems involved, is relatively common. The idea of ‘peak oil’ frames what we perceive as the most important environmental issue of our time.

A less common idea is the concept of ‘peak water’. Although much of the resistance to fossil fuel development and pipeline expansion is due to concerns about ground and surface water contamination, the idea that fresh water could become a limited resource is still not part of our awareness. It’s a difficult concept, especially for those of us living on this soggy rain-coast. Our problems invariably seem to be too much water: dampness and mold abound; indoor allergies and respiratory problems are rampant. However for millions of people in many parts of the world peak water is already the daily reality and the major factor in a bleak and uncertain future. 

Canada is the land of a million lakes. Canada is steward to fully one sixth of the world’s fresh water resources. We are blessed with an abundance of the world’s most precious resource. Unfortunately development of the tar-sands and the practice of fracking for natural gas pose a huge risk to this abundance. The Navigable Waters Act [1882], a major impediment to the proposed Enbridge pipeline, was rescinded in the recent omnibus budget bill C-45 eliminating environmental protection for more than 90% of our fresh waterways.

It takes 80 barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil.
 Even without the pipeline the tar-sands consume and contaminate our fresh water at a phenomenal rate. It takes 80 barrels of clean water to produce one barrel of tar-sands oil. The tailings ‘ponds’ would be more accurately termed tailings seas. They are so huge they can be clearly seen from space. They are so toxic air canon are used to prevent birds from landing on them.

Cancer rates in the communities downstream from the tar-sands are well above national averages and, for the first time in our history, Canadians families have become refugees in their own country abandoning homes in north-western Alberta’s Peace River district that are too toxic to be habitable. Other families in the same community equally aware of the health risks have remained in their homes simply because they have nowhere else to go.

The health benefits of drinking pure clean water cannot be overstated. Good quality water can reduce the risk factors of cancer and other degenerative diseases. Pure water as a support detoxification is essential to maintaining energy, vitality, and immunity. 

Bill C-45 removes environmental protection for 90% of Canada's fresh waterways.

Peak oil or peak water? One is inconvenient, the other is major catastrophe.