Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: United Nations

Universal human rights

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Yesterday was Human Rights Day, when this post was originally supposed to go live (many apologies!). But human rights are important every day. My theme for the December Quotes is homelessness. I think this excerpt from the United Nations Declaration of Human Rightsratified 70 years ago in 1948, is fittingly consistent with that theme.

IMAGE: I created today’s image. The background photo is one I took last September in Dallas, TX; the words, as credited, are from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25(1). Please feel free to use the quote image if you wish, but kindly include an attribution to me (Jan S. Gephardt) as the creator and a link back to this post. Thanks!

Water stress

The Artdog Images of Interest

Three major signals of climate change’s onset are increased rates and ferocity of fires, deepening drought, and increasingly violent storms. Today’s image focuses on drought.

A woman in India still can get a little water from her well, but she’s one of 300 million affected in the country during 2016.

As my Images of Interest series in February emphasized, the United Nations has identified access to safe, clean, affordable drinking water as a basic human right. Yet as drought gets entrenched in regions, this basic human need is not being met. India is one of those areas, but as the map below shows, it is far from alone in its plight.

A serious issue in India is the continued heavy water use by multinational corporations (MNCs) such as Pepsico, without recharging the water tables (as required by law). This is despite the “worst drought in living memory” and dramatic drops in local water tables near their bottling facilities.

The 2015 level of California’s Lake Oroville at the height of the recent drought was pretty impressive-looking, but as we know, once the drought broke the lake refilled to overflowing. More troublesome and long-lasting was the hit the aquifers took.

Plunging levels of surface water or snowpack during times of drought are often dramatic (see California’s Lake Oroville, above). Longer-lasting damage is done, however, when aquifers are depleted and not recharged. What has been happening in India is not an isolated case of industrial short-sightedness. Aquifer depletion is a problem in California, the US Great Plains, Australia, China, Africa, and all over the world. Few people are paying much attention to it yet, but it’s a ticking time bomb we all should be working NOW to defuse.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Global Research for the photo of the Indian woman by her well, to the World Resources Institute for the Water Stress map, and to PBS NewsHour for the 2015 photo of Lake Oroville. 

These aren’t just any old flowerpots

The Artdog Image of Interest

These Cambodians are making life-saving devices. Those things that look like flowerpots are actually ceramic water purifiers. They save lives by making it possible for people to have clean, safe drinking water, even when their only water source is a muddy, polluted river. They’ve dramatically cut down on diarrheal illnesses since they were first introduced in 2002. That they can be made locally and employ local people is an added bonus.

The filters work surprisingly well, for such a low-tech solution. They eliminate approximately 99.88% of water-borne disease agents.

As far as I could discover, the principle was first developed by Henry Doulton, a Victorian pottery manufacturer (his father co-founded the Royal Doulton company), who was inspired by the discoveries of Louis Pasteur.

In honor of Social Justice February, this month I’m exploring innovative, sustainable technologies for delivering clean water to populations in needThe United Nations declared in 2010 that access to clean water and sanitation is a basic human right, and called upon all nations to help ensure that “safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation” should be accessible to everyone on the earth. Yet such access is unavailable to literally billions of people, and the pressures of climate change and population growth make the problem worse each year.

IMAGE: Many thanks to cfile Daily for this image and an informative story to go with it.

If water is life . . .

The Artdog Image of Interest

Are these guys crazy? No. They’re demonstrating a new technology that’s begun saving lives all over the world. It’s called a LifeStraw, and it’s an on-the-spot water purifier. Originally designed to help vulnerable populations gain access to clean water, it also is marketed for about $20 per unit to hikers and backpackers in the developed world.

Does it work? Very well, if you believe more than 5,000 customer reviews on Amazon. It also lasts for a while, capable of purifying up to 264 gallons of water

Lifestraws are made by the Vestergaard company.

In honor of Social Justice February, this month I’ll be exploring innovative, sustainable technologies for delivering clean water to populations in need. The United Nations declared in 2010 that access to clean water and sanitation is a basic human right, and called upon all nations to help ensure that “safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation” should be accessible to everyone on the earth. Yet such access is unavailable to literally billions of people, and the pressures of climate change and population growth make the problem worse each year.

IMAGE: Many thanks to MintPress News, for this photo and an accompanying article that tells more.

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