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Picture a desert. Not that kind. Imagine one instead that used to have healthy grasses growing on it, or was a body of water. Unfortunately, it is easy to find examples of this almost everywhere these days. Desertification is on the rise.
With unprecedented water shortages in some areas, and period of drought, the question becomes What on earth can we do about it?
Enter a pioneering Slovakian Hydrologist
We greatly enjoyed meeting Slovakian hydrologist Michal Kravčík as part of his recent US West Coast Tour, with team members from the consulting firm New Water Paradigm Management LLC (described further at Voices of Water for Climate or the landing page vow4climate.org/water-for-the-recovery-of-the-climate-a-new-water-paradigm).
Michal has implemented hundreds of restoration projects in Slovakia, a region plagued by drought for decades. The next desert may be coming to your own region soon. Why? Climate change wreaks havoc on water cycles in ways that seemingly amplify the instability already witnessed in extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods, plus biomass growth in a wet year followed by fires in subsequent dry periods.
2017 may be best known as the year this proverbial shift hit the fan.
Most of Michal’s published work is quite detailed (for example, see Water for the Recovery of the Climate – A New Water Paradigm if you don’t believe me). But his 20+ years experience in Slovakia (and now on a golf course in Ojai, CA, if it hasn’t burned down) boasts so many successful projects that prove his hypothesis: it is more about heat than water per se, and how heat moves determines how water is distributed, not the other way around.
His science goes a bit off the deep end (kersplash!), but once it is properly evaporated, distilled and condensed … you will see the waters clear and then part (where’s Moses when you need him?) and what’s left in its wake is a subtle but important shift in paradigms: treat rainfall as something to channel, absorb, harvest, store, keep for a non-rainy day, … not to get rid of it for fear of flooding or just out of habit. This ties into how we treat land (hint: absorbing water in pockets vs. sending it out to sea via the nearest river or aqueduct), but also how we build neighborhoods, manage stormwater, and so on.
“Local” strategies for this include permeable pavers (vs. concrete), rainfall catchment, and permaculture’s swales (more on swales). Too simplistic? Probably. I’m leaving out 99% of the science, some of it controversial, because it is a piece of the puzzle, and we must leave room for the “dirt,” soil carbon, soil micro-biome, sustainable food systems, carbon farming, managed grazing of sheep, cows, and somehow beavers. Just add water.
- Highlights of 2017 “Climate Reckoning” at Harvard University
- Workshop: Social & Environmental Aspects of Fundraising at “Climate Reckoning” Conference (Harvard)
- Water, Soil, Heat and Carbon — the shift hits the fan
- Impact Investing reaching mainstream acceptance — will it outpace financial-only returns?
- Panel Discussion: food, water and climate change mitigation