Water Shortages in Australia

Water Shortages - image by http://www.flickr.com/photos/dj-dwayne/

This post is part of a series by my students at Mississippi Governor’s School. As a final project, they were challenged with creating an idea that could be used on a massive scale to help others live the good life.

Philosophy Class

I was a little nervous at first in philosophy class; we talked about some history of philosophy, which I wasn’t expecting much of.  I was ready to get to the “asking questions” part of the course. When we actually started asking questions, I realized I knew nothing about why. Why anything was the way it was, what it was, why there wasn’t a definition of something, why can’t my questions be answered? It was frustrating.

Then we began talking about life and what we wanted to do with our lives, how we could be happy. I learned I need to quit worrying about death and we need friends to enjoy life with to be happy. We discussed society and what is right in some could be wrong in others. If no one wants to contribute to their society, is there even a society left?

When we started on values, I learned I like ethics of care more than utilitarianism or deontology. Ethics of care is what most humans will relate to. You’ll help the ones you care about first, then try to help others. We all have responsibilities to lots of things in this world. If we aren’t responsible for anything, good or bad, things will fall apart and no one will care anymore.

We ended with macrowikinomics-how to collaborate on a more global scale. It made me realize that if no one worked together, nothing would ever get made. We would have no iPhones, no computer software, no trading between countries, and no(semi) functional governments or anything we could use. We would just have a bunch of chaos throughout the world and we would get nowhere.

One of the last things we talked about was issues in the world today and how we can solve them. Not like global warming or going green necessarily, but similar topics like how we waste packaging in products and put our garbage in landfills. I thought about how we’re using our natural resources so fast. If we keep using them at the rate we are now, they’ll be gone before we know it. I decided to look more into the water problems Australia faces and has been facing for the past one hundred years.

Water Shortages in Australia

Water shortages in Australia have been a big problem for over a century now. They are caused by droughts, which last for a third of the year in Australia, if not longer. When warm water is carried across the Pacific, it brings rain with it to the continent. These winds can change and go the opposite direction, taking the warm water toward South America. Now Australia won’t have any rain, which causes extreme problems for them.

Water restrictions in Australia limit how much water each person can use each day. They do this to try to preserve what little water they have left. They have dams to keep water in and desalination systems to clean ocean water to use. But when it doesn’t rain, no water goes back into the dams and the supply gets smaller.

We can look to Australia for ways on how to help the rest of the world conserve their water by collecting data. How many people are in a household? How much water can/do they use per day? How many filtration systems are there per region? How much rain has fallen over the past five years? What laws are already in place? We can gather this information and use it to help us now and in the future. We need to post it anywhere we can-on websites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube; ads on tv; fliers up in stores; anywhere we can to make people realize what a serious problem this is.

We can try different ways to save and reuse water such as: turn the water off when brushing your teeth; use a refiltration system; use showers, toilets, and washing machines that use less water; wash your car less; reuse bath/shower water to water plants; turn off the sprinklers; take shorter showers; and put water restriction laws into effect. These are just a few of the ways we can help save water. Promote them by telling your friends, tweeting about it, getting your school or workplace involved, etc.

Many people think we can just get water from the ocean and use it. We can, but it takes expensive treatment systems to clean the salt and waste from it. Plus, we’ll eventually use it all up-then what? There would be no water left anywhere. We need to focus on taking care of this natural resource before it runs out.

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