How do you measure safety? The bottled water disaster

The accessibility of clean drinking water changed the public health landscape. For centuries contaminated water left human populations vulnerable to waterborne diseases like dysentery, cholera, typhoid fever, botulism and other nasty parasites, protozoa and bacteria. And for centuries, the reasons behind the prevalence of these diseases eluded doctors and the scientific community. It was 1854…

Water everywhere but not a drop for many First Nations

Canada has seven percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. Seven percent. Only the Russian Federation and Brazil (despite the extensive long-term drought around the country’s capital, Sao Paolo) beat out Canada in freshwater access. But like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Mariner,” water may be everywhere but for thousands there is not a drop to drink –…

The dirty business of greywater

One of simplest answers to reducing water consumption is the use of greywater for landscape irrigation, flushing toilets and other non-potable needs. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), over half of our indoor water use can be considered greywater. It’s what households and commercial buildings generate from sinks, baths and showers, washing machines…

Environmental justice on the Ganges

There’s a classic pattern of environmental injustice in which the more powerful overuse or divert natural resources to the detriment of less influential neighbors. The Ganges River could be the poster child for this phenomena. The third largest river in the world, this slow moving behemoth meanders more than 1500 miles from the western Himalayas…