The 22nd of March was World Water Day. A day set aside to specifically remember and celebrate what we often take for granted. There is something magical about water. We’ve all experienced the powerful presence of water at some point in our lives. Perhaps through a beach vacation beside turquoise waters or a quick dip in the pool, a relaxing time by a serene lake, watching raindrops on roses or perhaps when we were kids splashing around in a paddling pool or a river. Water can evoke so many emotions. Can you think of what is your favourite memory of water?
Water is intrinsically connected to everything we do whether we are aware of it or not. From our cuppa in the morning to a long soak in a hot bath on weary days, from the things we choose to put on our plates to the objects we use everyday, a LOOOOOOOOOT of water goes into making all of that possible. The term used for the water that is embedded in all these things is called ‘Virtual Water’. You’d be proud to know (in case you didn’t already know) that the concept of virtual water was discovered by our very own Professor Tony Allan. Virtual water has taken the world by storm. Building on this concept is the notion of water footprints. Scientists have now discovered how much water goes into growing our food or making things. Take a look at the chart below. There is also a cool iPhone app by the Virtual Water Project that you can download from iTunes if you’d like to grow more conscious about how much water our everyday food and beverages really consume.
Green Week 2014 was an action packed week. There were events scheduled at every campus in order to reach out to as many people as possible. One of the concluding events of the Green Week was the panel discussion at Strand. The topic was ‘A sustainable future – mission possible?’ The distinguished panel comprised of both internal and external speakers – Aaron Re’em, Senior Account Director from TRUCOST, Dr. Nate Matthews from the Department of Geography and Prof. Mischa Dohler from the Department of Informatics at King’s. The panel tackled a wide range of questions ranging from the the need for a new definition for sustainability to the role of the private sector and governments. They shared examples of the need for critical change in several areas but it was most heartening to hear the positive examples they shared as well. Here are three positive examples shared by the speakers
1. A compelling business case may be the missing link to a sustainable future
The Carbon War Room analysed several technologies which had the potential to advance the low-carbon economy on a big scale. They looked for specific reasons why such technology hadn’t been adopted yet in the most polluting sectors and found that in many cases, it was simply a matter of poor communication and the need to create a compelling business case. For instance, the shipping industry is known to be a very big polluter. The industry uses raw diesel and cities with ports are usually extraordinarily polluted.
Although the technology exists to reduce this problem, the missing link lay in lack of market information. The company has recently launched operation shipping efficiency which aims to reduce carbon emissions by bridging gaps in market information related to environmental efficiency, encouraging key stakeholders to embed efficiency into decision making, and unlocking capital flow for technology retrofits. They found that through this there was potential for the shipping industry to save $70 Billion per year on fuel and reduce carbon and other pollutants by 30 percent.