NASA Website

A very interesting place to visit once in a while is the website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). There are many articles shedding light on global conditions around the planet. The mariner lists three to whet the reader’s appetite:

(NASA) released a study of the Earth’s aquifers using new satellite technology that studied the 37 largest aquifers from 2003 to 2013. The study reported that one-third of the aquifers are stressed. The most stressed are in heavily populated and frequently poor areas. To see map and report go to:

Another study reported that it would take 11 trillion gallons of water to replenish California’s loss during the four-year drought. Go to:

Study shows increasing carbon emissions could increase US droughts. Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study. Two very good videos are available showing the drought regions:

There are many more NASA reports about the condition of the Earth. It’s worth a visit once in a while.

Ancient Mariner


Having a Hog for Dinner

Or maybe a chicken, or leg of lamb or a steak tenderloin. It is the ritual of the farming life. Most of us remember the family farm. It was a good way of life. Farm operation was self-sustained. There was a balance between investment, byproducts (including environmental contamination), and lifestyle.

Those were the good old days. Farmers took pride in their individual efforts and products. The County Fair was big time and winners could boast of best livestock, best crop, and even best harness race horse. Children were encouraged to compete in future farmer contests that required intense engagement with animals, their health and even their happiness.

It isn’t that way anymore. The reader remembers it that way, but that farm is long gone. Even organic farms are run for profit, not for lifestyle. Largely, what exist today are corporate farms. Corporate farms disregard the environmental impact; corporate farms waste water in immense volumes; corporate farms physically torture livestock to increase profit.

And Iowa is the worst state in the United States.

The mariner mentioned once before that he is a member of Food and Water Watch (FWW), which concerns itself with abusive treatment of resources, livestock, pollution, or misrepresentation to the customer. Below is a website that will lead you to a map that shows the concentration of corporate farms in the US. Look at Iowa. The Koch brothers participate in more corporate farms than any other Iowa corporation. They are opposed across the board to humane treatment of livestock and disregard the gross impact of their waste on the environment.

 Screw the world, give me my dollars. Does this describe the American dream?

Ancient Mariner


Topic: Environment

Just a day or two ago, the mariner wrote that environmental issues and their solutions will be the largest contributor to new approaches and standards for the economy, jobs, new business opportunities, tax adjustments and infrastructure.

Already the mariner has benefitted from improvement of the environment in his home town. The City Council, as part of funds available from a larger project dealing with soil erosion and pollution in local streams and drainage ditches, eliminated several Ash trees.

In just a year or two, dying Ash trees will be an economic burden on this town and its citizens. The Emerald Ash Borer, a green beetle, kills Ash trees by burying eggs in the cambium layer of the tree. When the eggs hatch, the grubs destroy the cambium layer, eventually girdling the tree. This town has many, many stately old and very large Ash trees.

The mariner had six Ash trees on his property. In front of the house by the street, three Ash trees were within the path of the larger project to upgrade surface drainage ditches. The trees were removed by the City Council. The mariner estimates that each tree would have cost him $1,500 when the time came to remove them. He will attempt to save the three remaining trees with a new root drench product. With luck, maybe the trees can be saved. They may already be infected.

Other homes along the proposed drainage upgrade had Ash trees removed as well.

Of course, the mariner is pleased at the unexpected savings. He also saw the experience as a classic example of how environmental improvement creates unexpected benefits for many people, businesses and ecosystems beyond the specific goal of the improvement.

Taxes can be modified by the many tax rebates available for home improvements designed to reduce energy usage, e.g., improved insulation, renewable energy solutions and weatherized windows. The city will have tangential benefits because road surfaces and shoulders will not erode as quickly – an improvement in infrastructure.

Now on to natural resources and higher standards for their utilization.

Ancient Mariner



The mariner is a member of Food and Water Watch, an advocate for clean, fresh water around the world, making water available to all human beings, and opposed to privatized management of food and water policy, that is, food and water should be managed by governments, not corporations. Food and Water Watch (FWW) is a watchdog for all sorts of wasteful food and water practices, especially the pollution of the fresh water that is available and the unnecessary cost of  ‘bottled’ water. Corporate advertizing contends than bottled water is better for you than tap water – which is not true, and also has a high profit margin.

Last night he watched C-SPAN coverage of a FWW conference. The main speaker was Maude Barlow, who was instrumental in forming FWW in 2005. Ms Barlow is Chair of the Board of Directors. She has a remarkable reputation. Ms Barlow has a standing in food and water issues similar to that of Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights movement or Ralph Nader in auto safety.

The mission statement for FWW is:

“Food and Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profit before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.”

An environmental phrase often heard is climate change. Food and water issues are intertwined with climate change. For example, the excessive amount of carbon dioxide settles into the world’s oceans. This causes acidification of ocean waters that in turn kills just about everything that lives in the oceans. In her book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert points out that ocean acidification is the cause of the Permian extinction (third great extinction). 95% of all marine species went extinct. Coral reefs did not return for 10 million years.

Very much in the news is the debate over fracking (hydraulic fracturing) – the process of forcing natural gas to the surface by sending water underground at high pressure. Similar to the damage caused by strip mining for coal, the water doesn’t stay where it’s put and turns up in all the wrong places. Even the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh water in the world, are not immune to fracking pollution. Many of us may have seen the news clip where a man could set his kitchen tap water on fire.

FWW looks into many food situations. In her presentation, Ms Barlow said everyone should stop eating meat because it is not an efficient use of water, given the amount of meat per unit of water the animals require.

FWW is an advocate of home grown organic vegetables. Have you planted your bell peppers yet?

The mariner could go on but everything you want to know – or in some cases would rather not know, is on the FWW website. The material is presented well and if the reader has never thought about the big issues in food and water, it will be enlightening.

He ends with one statistic: Not counting the ‘permanent’ ice at the poles, only 1% of Earth’s water is drinkable.

Ancient Mariner