Grappling with Climate Change
Climate change is complicated. It is very hard to find scientific consensus for reasons only too well known. An organization that tries to be objective and scientific is the OSS Foundation. Their article on global natural climate change cycles is comprehensive. The information presented is scientific and looks as well as ‘feels’ objective enough to contribute constructively for everybody to be able to formulate an educated opinion.
There is however —finally— also consensus that Human factors do play an additional significant role in climate change. Sanitation practices certainly play a role here. In an effort to better understand climate change factors and the role of sanitation, I like to group factors as follows:
- ‘Natural’ climate change – We know our planet has global natural climate change cycles and there is credible consensus that we are just past the cusp of a change in climate coming out of the last one .
- GHGs, precursor emissions, POPs and pollutants from industrial activity that contribute to and accelerate climate change, global warming and environmental degradation.
- Anthropogenic – direct human contributions.
Short of changing the way our planet revolves around the sun or some massive terra-forming, there is nothing or very little we can do about the natural climate cycles and changes.
There is certainly a way to control industrial GHG and precursor emissions that accelerate climate change and have a devastating effect on our current biosphere -earth-.
Anthropogenic contributions, while complex and difficult to quantify, include sanitation. And in that particular area we can make dramatic improvements.
Impacts of Sanitation
According to Our World in Data :
“…Since the 18th century, the world population has seen a rapid increase; between 1900 and 2000 the increase in world population was three times as great as the increase during the entire previous history of humankind – in just 100 years the world population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion…”
Yet not only has sanitation technology not changed, but we also find that according to the world health organization only 4.5 billion of todays (2015) seven billion humans have access to toilets or latrines. 2.5 billion have no proper sanitation. 1.1 billion humans still defecate in the open and an estimated 90 percent of wastewater in developing countries is discharged untreated or only partially treated.
In addition, we have coastal cities in the developed ‘industrialized’ nations also discharging either untreated or only partially treated sewage directly into the environment for various reasons – most of the reasons infrastructure cost related.
To make matters worse, where sanitation exists, it only addresses pathogen kill and still leaves the heavy lifting of dealing with nutrient loads to nature. Historically that worked well until the early 19-hundreds, but we have reached such a point of over-nutrification leading to eutrophication on oceanic scales that we can see visible, dramatic and rapid changes in our biosphere – most of them in and under water.
The NASA Earth Observatory has spectacular images of the Baltic and other areas of our planet. Note the size of the ship in the picture…
If you are thinking: “oh well that’s a European problem,” you will find that from the Barents Sea to China, the Great Lakes to Lake Titicaca and just about anywhere there are humans, the problem is the same. We are consistently overloading natural nutrient assimilation potentials leading to algae blooms followed by eutrophication and death.
We need to understand that not o nly is public health threatened every day by lack of sanitation, or partial sanitation, but that existing practices on how we handle and manage our wastewater are threatening our very existence. We are very quickly moving towards a potential population crash where the planet will reset and solve the human problem all on its own.
Sanitation is an area where we can do a lot of good in a very short time frame. Correct and advanced self financing sanitation to close biological loops and restore nutrient balances will benefit not only us as a species, but our planet and all species as a whole.
BionomicTM Wastewater Processing & Sanitation
Bionomic wastewater processing addresses anthropogenics and pathogen kill directly. It is scalable, can be deployed either as a centralized or decentralized application, in any climate and any circumstance. It generates its own power and revenue streams utilizing the full resource potentials contained in wastewater, closing biological loops. Effluent is fully rehabilitated prior to discharge, providing significant quantifiable relief to the environment.
Together We Can Change Things
The Ellenbach Foundation can put you in touch with seasoned professionals who can provide you with a detailed economic, social and environmental cost-benefit-revenue analysis for your specific case. They can also provide you with a strategic implementation plan as well as accompany execution of that plan working together with qualified companies, governments as well as other NGOs. We can certainly also assist in procuring short lists of qualified companies for your selection or work with companies of your choosing to get them up to speed on bionomic wastewater processing technologies.