January 27, 2014 · 3:43 pm
Image: European Commission
In Brussels on Thursday, the European Commission unveiled 11 projects slated to receive €50 million to support their innovative responses to “water-related challenges” (to put a lot of different fish in one tank, so to speak).
The projects involve 179 partners representing research organizations and private companies across 19 European countries. There’s a lot of variety in the types of work, as well. Three examples: smarter management of water distribution networks; biotech treatment of heavy metal pollution in wastewater; and new “aquaponic” systems combining aquaculture and hydroponics in agricultural production. You can see the project names and acronyms listed in the tags accompanying this post, and more description of each project can be found here.
The funds come from the 2013 “Environment call” for projects of the European Union’s s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). This brings total FP7 funding for water-related projects, 2007 – 2013, to more than €1 billion. A new funding initiative rolled out this month, the Horizon 2020 program, is expected to bring another €165 million to water projects in its first round of calls.
UPDATE: Event presentations now uploaded
European Commission press release
A summary of each of the 11 projects
European Union water policy overview
Filed under Agriculture, Awards and Honors, Conservation, Environment, Europe, Events, Industry, Pollution, Research, Sustainability, Technology, Wastewater Treatment, Water Resources, Water Shortage
Tagged as aquaponic, Biometal Demo, Brussels, DemEAUmed, DEMOWARE, Dessin, European Commission, European Union, FP7, Horizon 2020, hydroculture, hydroponic, INAPRO, MARSOL, R3Water, SAID, SmartWater4Europe, WaterPiPP, WEAM4i
January 24, 2014 · 12:24 pm
Image: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty
A chill runs through me whenever I hear a sample of the gaffe from Mitt Romney’s 2011 presidential campaign speech in Iowa: “Corporations are people, my friend.” He was responding to a heckler. What he said was accurate in the eyes of the law in the United States; a corporation has the legal status and rights of a person. But it’s not hard to imagine that Romney was cheerfully referring to psychopathic friends who would blithely step over your body to reach profit.
Corporations as psychopaths is not a new idea, of course. The 2003 Canadian documentary film “The Corporation” makes the case, in a clinical sense, that if corporations are people, they’re psychos. Put simply, they lack empathy for others. They focus on profit alone. The free market rewards such self-interested ruthlessness.
Judging by news from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, public opinion and, more importantly, harsh economic reality, are pushing the corporate world to see that self-preservation now actually requires reactions to climate change. Many of today’s meetings of politicians, business leaders and reps from aid organizations in Davos, and a record number for the event overall, are about climate change and sustainable business practices. That’s a lot of talk from some influential people, and now that it’s about money as much as it is about doing good (or appearing to do so), maybe it will make a difference.
And, of course, as the mainstream media has well-recorded, the actor Matt Damon received an award in Davos for his work as co-founder, with Gary White, of Water.org, which works on access to freshwater for the world’s 800+ million who lack it. Damon is one of four recipients of the WEF’s Crystal Award, for artists who have contributed to a better world. The others are Peruvian opera star Juan Diego Flórez, American violinist and conductor Lorin Maazel, and the Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat.
Industry awakens to the threat of climate change – The New York Times
Davos 2014: live and archived blog coverage – Guardian Sustainable Business
2014 World Economic Forum: live updates from Davos – The Huffington Post
World Economic Forum 2014 Meeting – WEF
Filed under Awards and Honors, Climate Change, Conservation, Environment, Europe, Events, Industry, NGOs, Sustainability, Water Resources, Water Shortage
Tagged as Crystal Award, Davos, Gary White, Juan Diego Florez, Lauren Maazel, Matt Damon, Mitt Romney, Shirin Neshat, Switzerland, The Corporation, Water.org, World Economic Forum
January 4, 2014 · 1:27 pm
OK, it may not be as glamorous or as self-important as the Academy Awards, aka The Oscars, but the International Desalination Association (IDA) exists and it gives out awards. That’s two new things I learned today.
IDA is a non-profit international NGO* that strives to educate people about desalination and water reuse. Its 2013 Channabasappa Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Leila Karimi, a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Chemical Engineering Department, New Mexico State University. Her focus, according to the award announcement, is on “the selective removal of ions in an electrodialysis reversal process as one of the inland desalination technologies that is appropriate for brackish groundwater.” Good for her, especially because Australian researchers recently concluded that there’s a whole lot more brackish, or somewhat salty, groundwater in the world than previously thought.
*(NGO, or non-governmental organization; the abbreviation is used more commonly than the spelled-out version in the development world, e.g., the world of the United Nations and various other regional and international aid organizations.)
Filed under Awards and Honors, Desalination, Groundwater, NGOs, Oceans, Technology, Water Resources
Tagged as Channabasappa Memorial Scholarship, International Desalination Association, Leila Karimi, New Mexico State University, NGO, United Nations