Water Sciences & Insights

Explorations
Explorations into water and its unusual and essential attributes are many and varied. This page is updated periodically to feature a recent or novel exploration of water in the form of documentaries, exhibitions, performancess, or discussions. Links to some of the previously featured explorations may be accessed at the bottom of this page.
Water, Food and Sustainability
Previously Featured Explorations
Previous explorations into water and and water-related issues have focused on topics as diverse as art, music, pollution, energy, geoengineering, physical/chemical properties, emerging technologies, ancient wisdom, and processes ranging from the molecular to the cosmic. Click on the images below to view the corresponding video segments.
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Musician Carlos Miguel Prieto talks about the influence of water and its sounds in the natural world on his music (interview segment in Spanish).


Noble Laureate Peter Agre talks about his discovery of water channels in membranes, permitting living organisms to quickly and selectively move water in and out of their cells.


Artist Mara Haseltine talks about using art to design structures that function practically in aquatic environments and about collaborations between scientists and artists.


Scientist and engineer Gerald Pollack talks about water's fourth physical phase and its potential applications to everything from generating bioenergy to cleaning water itself.


Artist Pamela Longobardi documents the types and patterns of plastic wastes on shores around the world and then creates art and exhibits that draw attention to marine plastics.


A NASA video explains how the oceans, as the planet's major repository of water, are responsible for weather and climate via their circulation dynamics and energy exchanges.


Engineer Kepa Morgan combines his professional expertise with the indigenous wisdom of his Maori people in addressing water treatment and environmental remediation.


A Surfrider video examines the ways in which water is currently collected, distributed, treated and disposed, suggesting how they could be better integrated and more sustainable.


Actor and science commentator Alan Alda talks about the art of explaining science to laypersons based on his experience with the Scientific American Frontiers series.
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Whereas saving water in the household is something that people can directly observe and that assists in conserving local water supplies, this savings represents a small fraction of a personís total water footprint, which includes the water required to produce the goods and services consumed daily. About 90% of personal water footprints is devoted to food in the form of crop and animal production. Altering food choices and reducing food wastage lead to the greatest reduction in water footprints. The most wasted food is meat (comprising one-third of the total in the USA), which requires the most water to produce when compared to other foods on a caloric or weight basis. In addition to its water demand, meat production is a major contributor to climate change, water pollution, global deforestation, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
 
Besides eating less meat and wasting less food in households or marketplaces, other food-related changes that conserve water include minimizing the conversion of grains to biofuels for cars, buying or growing food locally, and utilizing food scraps to produce fertilizer or energy. Water, food, and energy are interconnected in a so-called nexus, which means that attaining sustainability in any one sector is dependent on the others. Water is often considered the most critical sector because the other two are totally dependent on it.   
 
Listen to Dutch scientist Arjen Hoekstra, who developed the concept and calculations for water footprints, discuss food's impact on water resources.   
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