Check out Linda McQuaig's op-ed piece in The Toronto Star. It puts a few things into perspective, including the media's tendency to play up the tempest and down the subsequent news that the thing took place in a teapot.
And take a peek at this story from the McClatchy newspapers about how the EPA may be able to use the Clean Water Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions based on acidification of ocean waters.
The theme that ties the two together (besides CO2), if you think about it weirdly, is water. Water is at the heart of our current sustainability challenge -- many scientists consider our impacts on fresh water supplies to create even bigger difficulties than our impacts on the climate, although the two are hardly independent of one another. Water is at least as powerful a symbol of life-as-we-have-known-it as atmosphere. And trends in ocean acidification (and its impacts) should be harder to blame on sunspots, or cosmic cycles, or the University of East Anglia (just can't trust them furrin academic types) than trends in atmospheric temperature or carbon dioxide concentrations. (Not to say that the disinformation won't be forthcoming, just to say that it will take additional work and additional resources to gin it up.)
At Greenback, we're probably not paying enough attention to water issues. We've focused, to date, on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. In this, I think we're pretty typical. (After all, the ACUPCC's definition of "climate neutral" focuses on GHG's, not on water.) Moreover, since we're located in the northeastern USA, fresh water isn't obviously in short supply here. (In fact, of late, oversupply seems to be more of an issue.) So we've installed a few low-flow shower-heads and low-volume toilets; we've posted information in residence halls about turning off the water while you brush your teeth. But our efforts, so far, have been pretty trivial. And the minimal water metering we have in place makes it impossible for us to see if they've had any effect at all.
The whole sustainability perspective thing requires that we look past our traditional planning horizon (anything after lunch is long-term), and beyond our specific geographic/social/economic/political location. On the water issue, we've failed to do that. I'm tempted to say that we've missed the boat, but I'd never make a pun that bad. (Well, maybe once.)
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