What’s Worse Our Normal Water Pollution or the Gulf Oil Spill?

A lot of us can’t ignore the devastation in the Gulf and want to do something to help out. Maybe fly out and volunteer or donate money. Here is another alternative.

After browsing the news articles I came upon the following photo created by a scientist already in the Gulf studying Dead Zones:

So, what’s worse the Dead Zone or the Oil Spill?

At first, it may be hard to tell. The Oil Spill is continuing to grow and may not be stopped for a few months. The oil will be washing ashore or getting out into the Atlantic.

On the other hand the Dead Zone occurs every year and not just in the Gulf. They occur in every river, bay, lake, and in both our oceans. The cumulative size of all the Dead Zones in our waterways makes the Oil Spill seem paltry.

With this in mind you can do something right now to help out. You can help prevent the dead zones from occurring in your local water spots. Here are two ways that can create a permanent long lasting change that will not only help your own community but your health and pocketbook.

The first thing you can do is reduce your water needs. Pull less out of the faucet and send less down the drain. Doing so will lower your water/sewage bill and their are so many easy ways to save water at home.

The other way to buy local or organic food. That’s right agricultural waste accounts for just as much pollution as humans do. It is part of the irony of the food movement and especially the organic movement. Organic was originally started for just this reason, to save the environment. Yet most of us eat the food because it taste better, is healthier, and cheaper (by quality).

Here is an opportunity for all of us to help the environment in a way that provides multiple benefits. Cleaner water, healthier bodies, and lives in balance.

Plus, maybe just maybe an opportunity to swim and play in our favorite waterways.

This has been a dream of mine for longtime.

Pure Drinking Water From Your Toilet

Would you do it?

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has found a way to turn the county’s sewage into drinking water that “is of a higher quality than required by all state and federal drinking water standards and is similar to distilled water”.

They are using an “advanced purification process” with the latest in “water treatment technologies”. This is absolutely fascinating. You may not know this but Southern California is a very dry place. So dry that we import most of our water. It is extremely expensive to do that too.

water_cubesWe are not talking about expansive Roman aqueducts to bring the stuff into one city. We are talking about a sprawling metropolis of over 10 million people. Getting in the water means ginormous pipes, rivers, reservoirs, a whole webwork of water carriers. We buy water from other states, steal it from rivers, and even attempt to desalinate the ocean.

Now, we are on the road to a sustainable water system. Where the water we use and flush is sent back to us. My imagination quickly runs to the end of the line with this. Take this process, productize it, and put it in every house/building. Now houses need significantly less water, with some houses maybe needing no water. Get those houses completely off the water grid.

Ok, before I digress into Tatooine and Star Wars water capture technology let me get back to reality. This groundwater reclamation system (GWR) is still very new, opening in January of 2008. Tests can show it to of equal quality to drinking water, but what if we don’t test everything?

There are enormous potential issues here and so the brilliant folks at OCSD instead let nature do its thing. They send “half of the treated water…13 miles up along the Santa Ana River into ponds where it slowly percolates into the ground. The other half is injected into wells in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley to build up a fresh water barrier and keep salty ocean water from seeping inland.”

Concerns aside this is radical but logical. These folks are showing solid leadership and management with something very serious.

It’s serious for me too since this water normally gets tossed in the Ocean. I can’t surf without swimming in it. The more they recycle this water the better. Now, I promise you there is so much more in this story. Cost savings, environmental impacts (in a good way), compost from poo, etc.

I highly recommend reading these three very short information pieces:

Did You Know There Was a Great Garbage Patch?

I recently found out about this from a friend of mine, Scott.

It’s fairly scary topic too.

Basically, in the pacific ocean there are vast and strong currents that create a large whirpool zone, called a gyre. It is quite large, the size of texas and it collects a lot of the ocean debris, natural and artifical.


As folks have traveled through these gyre’s they are starting to notice trash, lots of it. One of these travelers, Captain Charles Moore, is just all fired up about it. He went through the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you live on the west coast, their is a strong chance you have contributed a lot to this patch.

So, after his visits he got angry did some research and is now sharing it with us.

I’ve embedded the video below, but first I want to highlight something he talks about. Take a look at this picture:

The Throw Away Life
The Throw Away Life, Life Magazine, Aug 1, 1955

As Capt. Moore will explain in the video that picture and its accompanying article describes a radical new idea, disposables. A wave of consumerism that would soon sweep through our country, and here is its first marketing pitch.

Well the pitch worked and the wave was nearly unstoppable. Now here we are on other side or still in the middle of that wave. We are such deep believers in the throw away lifestyle, that I don’t think we can imagine anything else.

Which really makes me think:

  • What is life like without disposables?
  • Is it possible to have a rabid consumer society that isn’t living a throw away lifestlye?

Maybe you can help me answer those questions.


From: The 2009 TED Talks

About: Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he’s drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.

Bio: Charles Moore is founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. He captains the foundation’s research vessel, the Alguita, documenting the great expanses of plastic waste that now litter… Full bio and more links