Daily Archives: July 16, 2019

Monsoon Floodwaters Devastate Nepal

VOA News

Published on Jul 16, 2019

Locals attempt to trudge, bike and boat through knee-high floodwaters in the cities of Birgunj and Saptari, in southern Nepal, Tuesday, July 16.

Launching Moon Walks and Mars Landings From a Burning Planet: The Myth of Perpetual “Frontier” Expansion vs The Science of Human Survival on Earth | EV & N 317 – CCTV



YouTube Version

While the planet is being destroyed by the excessive combustion of fossilized solar energy, political leaders around the world — financed by fossil fuel corporations and driven by the fatal mythology of endless and mindless growth — make plans to go return the Moon and use its “resources” to go to Mars.   The absurdity of the human tragedy cannot be more stark and apparent.  Human survival cannot and will not depend on going “elsewhere” in the solar system or the universe.

There are no survivable “frontiers” in “space.”  We already live on the largest inhabitable spaceship in the known universe.

Human life — as all life forms we have been able to observe in the known universe — evolved on planet Earth.  In the face of the endless blather of the techno-scientific salvationists and the fanciful non sequiturs of our political leaders, we need to learn to affirm and live by some simple truths:

There is no planet “B.”

We only have one Earth.

We only get one chance.

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as well as:



Opinion | India’s Terrifying Water Crisis – The New York Times

To survive the climate emergency, India needs the collective power of small-scale, nature-based efforts.

By Meera Subramanian

Ms. Subramanian is the author of “A River Runs Again,” an account of India’s environmental crisis.

  • July 15, 2019

India’s water crisis offers a striking reminder of how climate change is rapidly morphing into a climate emergency. Piped water has run dry in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and 21 other Indian cities are also facing the specter of “Day Zero,” when municipal water sources are unable to meet demand.

Chennai, a city of eight million on the Bay of Bengal, depends on the fall monsoon to provide half of the city’s annual rainfall. Last year, the city had 55 percent less rainfall than normal. When the monsoon ended early, in December, the skies dried up and stayed that way. Chennai went without rain for 200 days. As winter passed into spring and the temperature rose to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, its four water reservoirs turned into puddles of cracked mud.

Some parts of the city have been without piped water for five months now. Weary women with brightly colored plastic jugs now await water tankers, sometimes in the middle of the night. On June 20, the delayed summer monsoon arrived as a disappointing light shower.

These water crises are now global and perennial. Day Zero plagues cities from Cape Town to Mexico City to São Paulo, Brazil. Nearly half of the human population is living with water scarcity, inhabiting places unable to fully meet their drinking, cooking and sanitation needs.

Middle- and upper-middle-class people in Chennai are paying twice as much as before the crisis for water from tankers, and they can afford to drill new wells twice as deep as would have been needed 15 years ago. “We are on war footing,” one of my cousins, who lives there, remarked. As with most environmental crises, the poor are affected disproportionately. Around the world, inadequate water and sanitation kills 780,000 people each year.

The story of water is global, but the impact of too little (or too much) water is intimately local. Solutions need to be local, too. Instead, governments in Chennai and elsewhere keep turning unilaterally to major infrastructure projects such as desalination plants and other large-scale projects involving linking distant rivers and constructing mega-dams.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised piped water for all Indians by 2024. Indian government could meet that goal by looking beyond the gray confines of concrete to the green of powerful natural water systems that worked in the past and could work again. Mr. Modi’s government’s focus on huge projects is flawed because moving water works only if there is water to move.

South Asia has always been vulnerable to the vagaries of the monsoons that provide 70 percent of its water in a few months, feeding its rivers, recharging its groundwater and topping off the Himalayan peaks whose glacial meltwater sustains 1.65 billion people.

But to even consider surviving the climate emergency underway, India needs more than megaprojects. It needs the collective power of abundant, small-scale, nature-based efforts to seize the seasonal bounty across the diverse landscape of South Asia.

About half of the 6,000 water bodies that once defined Chennai and its two neighboring districts are gone. Rampant development has destroyed the spaces that were natural sponges for monsoon rains.

But while reporting on environmental crises across India, I have witnessed effective efforts to renew natural capital through green infrastructure. In the Alwar District of the northern state of Rajasthan I stood on a hillside looking down on a once-barren but now verdant valley that had been brought back to life by villagers who built small-scale earthen dams known as “johads.”

Thousands had been constructed across the district, strategically placed to capture fleeting monsoon rains in a cascade before the water “ran away,” as a local told me. Aquifers — layers of water-permeable rock — were recharged, and wells that had been dry for a generation bubbled back into existence.

Similar efforts are scattered across India. In the Kumbharwadi watershed of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, a program engaged locals in tree-planting and land-sculpting to capture water across the landscape. Groundwater levels rose, soil fertility improved, and agricultural income increased tenfold. In four years, the water tankers that citizens had depended upon in the dry season became obsolete.

Admittedly, these techniques of maintaining natural resources locally require more labor, but with unemployment higher than it has been since the 1970s, that translates to jobs.

With 90 percent of the country’s precious freshwater going to agriculture, India could also support established conservation practices and reconsider exporting such water-intensive crops as rice and cotton.

India is urbanizing at a rapid pace, and amid that human density lies opportunity. Chennai attempted to employ rainwater harvesting in 2003 that would have diverted rooftop water to tanks so that it could percolate down, compensating for the urban layer of concrete that now seals underground aquifers from monsoon abundance and contributes to flooding. But three years later, a new party was voted in and enforcement stopped. Additionally, metering could help isolate and fix the leaks that waste a staggering one-third of all Indian water.

Indian government’s move toward more desalination plants — Chennai has just begun construction on its third in less than a decade — ignores that it takes tremendous amounts of energy to transform saltwater into freshwater. India is already struggling to get power to its people, even as the plants discharge toxic brine that is worsening already degraded coastlines.

From a purely pro-growth perspective, sacrificing ecosystem services is necessary collateral damage. But environmental loss fundamentally derails economic growth. Without water, Chennai schools, hotels, restaurants and high-tech industries have all struggled to stay open. The World Bank estimates that India loses nearly 6 percent of G.D.P. from environmental degradations.

The call to leverage green capital is coming from the highest echelons of global development. A recent World Bank and World Resources Institute report says that adopting these methods can ensure water security, fortify against natural disasters, reduce poverty and make the places we live resilient in the face of climate change.

There is no evidence that Mr. Modi will relinquish his pursuit of megaprojects, but he should remember that when grand projects fail, they fail grandly. India needs a million small answers for its 1.3 billion and counting. Small-scale systems that harness the immense power of nature rather than deny it require less capital and can be started up quickly in a way that macro systems, expensive and years in the making, simply cannot.

At a time when America’s eco-resolve is in tatters, India has the opportunity to step up and be a pioneer, rewriting the human development script for the 21st century and building a new economy on a foundation of green growth. The world should look to the knowledge of earth systems that we are so quickly altering if there is any hope of quenching our undying thirst.

Meera Subramanian is the author of “A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, From the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka.”

Restored Apollo 11 Moonwalk – Original NASA EVA Mission Video – Walking on the Moon


Published on Jul 17, 2014

Original Mission Video as aired in July 1969 depicting the Apollo 11 astronauts conducting several tasks during extravehicular activity (EVA) operations on the surface of the moon. The EVA lasted approximately 2.5 hours with all scientific activities being completed satisfactorily. The Apollo 11 (EVA) began at 10:39:33 p.m. EDT on July 20, 1969 when Astronaut Neil Armstrong emerged from the spacecraft first. While descending, he released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly on the Lunar Module’s descent stage. A camera on this module provided live television coverage of man’s first step on the Moon. On this, their one and only EVA, the astronauts had a great deal to do in a short time. During this first visit to the Moon, the astronauts remained within about 100 meters of the lunar module, collected about 47 pounds of samples, and deployed four experiments. After spending approximately 2 hours and 31 minutes on the surface, the astronauts ended the EVA at 1:11:13 a.m. EDT on July 21.

Live: Apollo 11 anniversary gala salutes galactic accomplishments庆祝阿波罗11号登 月五十周年晚宴

Streamed live 3 hours ago

Cape Canaveral’s Saturn Center in Florida hosts a gala to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin taking humanity’s first steps on the moon. Join CGTN for a livestream of the gala.

In New Climate, California’s Wildfires Are 500 Percent Larger – The Atlantic

“Each degree of warming causes way more fire than the previous degree of warming did. And that’s a really big deal.” Robinson Meyer Jul 16, 2019

On a hot July evening last year, a rancher tried to use a hammer and stake to plug a wasp’s nest. The hammer slipped, a spark flew, and a patch of dry grass ignited, according to the Los Angeles Times. Within minutes, the brush fire fed on bone-dry conditions and became too big to control.

It soon merged with another blaze and became the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history. It burned almost half a million acres, or roughly 720 square miles, before it was finally extinguished four months later. It killed one firefighter and injured four.

…(read more).

BBC World Service – Newshour, Apollo 11: a landmark in history

Fifty years on, the Apollo Moon programme is probably still humankind’s single greatest technological achievement. On 16 July 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were strapped into their Apollo spacecraft on top of the vast Saturn V rocket and were propelled into orbit in just over 11 minutes.

Also in the programme: Ursula von der Leyen becomes president of the European Commission; BBC closes Burundi office.

(Picture: 1969, Earth rising over the Moon”s horizon taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft.Credit: AFP PHOTO/ NASA HANDOUT)

Life in a City Without Water: Anxious, Exhausting and Sweaty – The New York Times

A weak monsoon and years of draining groundwater have parched Chennai, a city of nearly five million people on the southeastern coast of India.

By Somini Sengupta

  • July 11, 2019

CHENNAI, India — When the water’s gone, you bathe in what drips out of the air-conditioner. You no longer allow yourself the luxury of an evening shower at the end of a steamy summer’s day. You sprint down two flights of stairs with plastic pots as soon as a neighbor tells you the water tanker is coming.

Every day, 15,000 tankers ferry water from the countryside into the city. Everywhere you look, rows of bright neon plastic water pots are lined up along the lanes, waiting.

This is life in Chennai, a city of nearly five million on India’s southeastern coast.

…(read more).

“Who Is the DNC Loyal To?” Dahr Jamail Questions DNC Veto of Primary Climate Debate

Democracy Now!

Published on Jul 16, 2019

In our extended interview with independent climate journalist Dahr Jamail, he talks about the Democratic National Committee’s decision not to have a debate on the climate crisis, and to bar anyone who participates in an unsanctioned debate from participating in future official Democratic primary debates. Jamail is a staff reporter at Truthout and author of “The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.”

Food system overhaul needed to avoid ‘catastrophic’ climate breakdown — “Our Future in the Land”

The UK’s food and farming system must become sustainable by 2030 if the country is to deliver on its ambition to help tackle the climate crisis, according to a new report out today.

The RSA Food and Farming Countryside Commission’s findings were the culmination of a two-year investigation. The Our Future in the Land​ report sets out the case for government to put rural issues at the centre of decisions about how to promote a green economy.

See: https://www.thersa.org/globalassets/reports/rsa-ffcc-our-future-in-the-land.pdf