The Compass Podcast 3/28/17 Resources

This week I asked you to listen to The Compass Podcast 3/28/17 Resources. As usual I am responding to sections that most students were interested in or wanted explained, am working through chronologically, and putting names of students next to sections they asked about. There are a lot of external links this week, please enjoy!

Our rice researches have come up with quite a few varieties of saline resistant rice which are now being grown all over the coastal area in Bangladesh where salinity has increased considerably.” min 5:10 Diana C.

  • Very few land crops can tolerate salty water (see reference here).
  • In Chasing Coral they mention the detrimental effect of acidity on coral reefs, (see reference here).
  • The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, 7 is neutral. Higher than 7 is alkaline. Lower than 7 is acidic. Plants grow in soils with a pH range of 4.5 to 8.0.
  • The surface water of the ocean has fallen by 0.1 pH units in 200 years. Although it is detrimental to coral, I don’t think this is enough to effect plants.

It’s feared that floods will gradually drive the population away. “In the long term, some of these places are simply not going to be habitable, in ten to twenty years. So we do need to think about planning the evacuation or the movement of the people over time.“” (6:09) Genevieve, Maddy, Kyle, Ethan and others.

  • Many of you chose this passage and I think it’s an important one.
  • Our present corona virus crisis shows us how difficult it is for governments, societies and people to make provision for large scale crises that are for-seeable but that we haven’t really experienced yet.
  • In the present case most countries have had to default to crisis management.
  • When the Levees Broke also showed how it is easy for governments, societies and people to defer or under-resource crisis planning.
  • Advancing the mental frame that there is moral imperative to plan responsibly in the face of environmental disasters is common to Spike Lee’s documentary and this podcast.

We also know that the amount of water on this earth is fixed, so the supply is fixed. What is the most fundamental import in the economy, lack of water act as a constraint on growth.” Richard Damania of the World Bank (8:14)
Janae Glover, Candice K

  • In the video above Richard Damania, the speaker in the podcast, lists some ways that water issues (flood, drought, access) affect the world’s economy.
  • Worldwide water supply – some basic information
    • 71% of the earth is covered with water.
    • 97% of the water is salty, not suitable for drinking or crop growing.
    • 0.5% of the water is available fresh water.
    • 663 million people lack access to clean drinking water.

water… it’s needed for energy, for steel, for textile, for leather. It’s one of those hidden inputs we take for granted that we need for almost everything that we produce” (9:00) Austin

  • There is not less water on the earth, but demand for water is growing.
  • This list helps us understand the possibility of water shortages for agricultural sectors and drinking.

… Australia users of water must pay for the water they use but farmers that don’t need the water can sell their water and therefore make money… ” (9:42) Nazifa

  • Here the podcast is taking Australia as an example of a country that the handles supply and distribution of water well, even though it is renown for having large desert areas and not much water.
  • It’s important to note all the specifics in these stories, we have moved from Bangledesh to Australia – the conditions are different in the different countries, in terms of geography, economics and climate.

“... incentivizing water efficiency, and investments to make water supplies more secure are essential if water scarcity, a dilemma which has huge implications is to be avoided“. (10:15) Eric

  • In this podcast the speakers talk about floods and droughts in a variety of countries, Bangledesh, Australia, India.
  • Climate change tends to make weather events more extreme, floods and droughts occur where they always have done, but may be worse, more frequent or longer-lasting.
  • Water scarcity may become an issue in any city where aquifers or other water souces are running low or in rural areas.
  • The podcast talks about the challenges of moving water from places where it is plentiful to places where it is scarce – you need the proper infrastructure both in terms of information and in terms of physically moving water in ways that are clean and safe.

You could have a computer company in the UK that imports its microchips from Thailand, but it happens to be there’s this big flood in Thailand. So, all the supply chains are being disrupted by big climatic events. So, climate change is a complicated problem and its businesses and a wide variety of industries (manufacturing, tourism, food) are likely to be affected at some point in the future by climate change…” (21:26) Isaac B. and others

  • Several students noted the complicated connections that are drawn in the podcast, very like Haraway’s string figures.
  • Although water issues are global, its also important to note that there are always local specificities and particular connections.

Nearly all companies will be affected by climate change, some are part of the problem and some the solution. But at the moment it is difficult to know which businesses start to gain or lose the most, as the challenge for natural resources grows. The report is an attempt to find a way to get companies to explain to investors the way in which climate change and resource scarcity is likely to affect their bottom lines.” (23:10) Jason T.

  • This reminds me of the triple bottom line accounting framework. It suggests that companies should focus and report on the three P’s.
    • People: their social impact.
    • Planet: their environmental impact.
    • Profit:their economic performance.