What water is worth: new book from Palgrave

Interesting new title from Palgrave:

What Water Is Worth
Overlooked Non-Economic Value in Water Resources

By Kira Artemis Russo and Zachary A. Smith41N23kPXnWL

Water managers tend to have narrow views on what they consider to be the value of water. However, not all water use is market driven; therefore, a comprehensive understanding of local community values associated with water can inform decision making by water managers. We use the term ‘water manager’ to encompass not only the singular person assigned this community duty but also the many councils and institutions who make decisions regarding local water resources. Regarding conventional values of water, an abundance of research exists; yet, for intangible aspects such as conservation for its own sake and spiritual connections, research involving value is limited. There are volumes of works that estimate the monetary values of water; however, intangible values are often overlooked. In general, few studies endeavor to estimate worth for water that encompasses more than a monetary value. We argue that it is the inclusion of both monetary and non-monetary values that justifies trust in the position of water manager.

(H/T to CH)

Interviews on water: one global, one not

A couple of interviews on water from the very well known Peter Gleick. Click here to listen.

And, because of her battle with energy development affecting her water, the increasingly profiled Jessica Ernst. Click here to listen to podcast on CBC’s, The Current.

CFP for two conferences on the Anthropocene

Both of these conference look interest

1. Next year the International Society for Environmental Ethics will focus a conference on the Anthropocene.anthropocene-mind-map2

The ISEE will hold its Eleventh Annual Meeting on Environmental Philosophy, June 17-20, 2014, at the Highlands Retreat Center in Allenspark, Colorado, USA.  Come to the mountains and get their good tidings!

The theme for this year’s conference is “Environmental Philosophy and the Anthropocene Epoch.”  Topics under this theme might include:

  • the moral significance of the Anthropocene Epoch
  • the ethics of geoengineering
  • wildness as an endangered value
  • the morality of species extinctions
  • should environmentalists resist, accept, or embrace the Anthropocene?

However, proposals for individual papers and group sessions on any topic in environmental philosophy are welcome.


2. Also the 2014 Norwich conference on Earth Systems Governance will focus on issues of allocation and access in the Anthropocene. FULL DETAILS HERE.

We invite you to the 2014 Norwich Conference on Earth System Governance on “Access and Allocation in the Anthropocene”, to be held 1-3 July 2014 at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

This event will be the fifth in a global conference series organized by the Earth System Governance Project, a ten-year research programme under the auspices of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP).

The 2014 Norwich Conference on Earth System Governance will be jointly hosted by the University of East Anglia and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research on behalf of the Earth System Governance Project.

Canadian environmental news blast

Yesterday Environment Canada reported that Canada won’t meet even the watered down targets the current government set for itself on emissions.

While that was happening, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau was in Washington saying he supports the Keystone XL pipeline. I believe that makes all three major parties into the same place, with varying qualifiers around polluter pays, environmental protection and so forth on the Oil Sands.

Quietly, the federal government has resurrected a $500 million fund for the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline project. This project has a big history in Canada, stretching back to the 1970s. The latest round is for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as part of the governments northern resource development plan.

What else. Oh yes, Alberta decided not to allow First Nations to participate in hearings about Oil Sands expansion near their territories. This is more than an odd decision. But I don’t know the details. In other Alberta news, the air quality down wind of the refineries near Edmonton is loaded with as bad as the world’s worst cities. The Benzene level is over 70 times the normal level.

Also yesterday, yet another voice in the choir on problems with Canadian science and policy. This time in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, read it here (pdf).

Hans Rosling: Inequality and the unjust use of energy

Two talks, one short (2 minutes) and one longer (19 minutes), by Hans Rosling on how inequality is reflected in energy consumption and in reference to climate.

Intervention – ‘Corporate Privacy and Environmental Review at Export Development Canada’

An interesting essay. Particularly given regulatory review challenges in the courts lately, particularly in Alberta.


‘Corporate Privacy and Environmental Review at Export Development Canada: How Billions are Transferred to Enbridge and TransCanada Without Substantive Disclosure’

by Kimia Ghomeshi (kimia.ghomeshi@gmail.com) and Anna Zalik (azalik@yorku.ca), York University

16 October 2013

Export Development Canada (EDC) finances pipeline projects in North America to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Yet, in large part, their corporate environmental risk reviews are not available to the public. Alongside restrictions on public dissent in the regulatory process, such limitations on access to information indicate a marked absence of substantive transparency concerning government oversight of the Canadian oil and gas industry.

The Enbridge Line 9 hearings are ongoing this week in Toronto. In Ontario the reversal of that pipeline, to transport crude oil and tar sands products from Western Canada eastward rather than refined fuel from Eastern Canada westward, has sparked public concerns. These center upon the risks that arise from…

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Archives – more fun than you’d think

Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve become a historian. My earliest obsession (that I recall) was with being an archaeologist, so perhaps there is just something of a disposition to wanting to know where things came from and how they sit amongst everything else. Or at least as much of everything else as you can reasonably task yourself with knowing.

These days I’ve been back in the archives; though I’m looking at fairly recent stuff focused on what went on in the 1970s, 80s and 90s that brought water to the global stage. So far, its been pretty fascinating. I spied what I believe to be an originating, if not the original source for the hotly contested notion in the 1992 Dublin Principles that water has an economic value in all of its competing uses.

I’ve also managed to detect how, if I’m not mistaken, the “mega-conferences” on water (for background see here [PDF] or here) come into line with several broader trends in global water governance. All of this terrain has been covered by others in various ways. But what I think is unique is that I’ve now forged an intellectual lineage that goes back to the 19th century. That is, I think I’ve now connected the dots that explain why a certain form of water management is conducive to these larger projects, and why others are not. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if this is correct through the process of peer review and so forth, but I think I’ve got a pretty strong case coming together.

Back to the archives today.

Embracing our history as Earth transformers

An interesting article from Erle Ellis here. Erle is visiting here this semester so we have plans to connect – which I am greatly looking forward to.


Here’s a snippet of the article, Conserving a Used Planet:

Humanity and the planet are in crisis, the result of industrial societies that are destroying Earth’s ecology at an accelerating pace. The only hope is to end our reliance on advanced technologies and go back to earlier ways of living in harmony with natural ecosystems.

That’s the typical narrative of environmentalism — one of crisis and renunciation. But is it truly the best hope for the biosphere? Is it even historically accurate?

Not according to a global assessment of human use of land across the Holocene that I co-authored. The most recent evidence indicates that humans have been transforming the terrestrial biosphere at globally significant levels not just for the past century or so — but for more than 3,000 years. And that human use of land per capita has been declining over most, if not all, of that period.”

Elsipogtog Everywhere

A good article from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson that puts in some context the recent conflicts over fracking in New Brunswick.

Global frackdown goes local in Mi’kmaq territory: #Elsipogtog

If you followed the twitter hashtag #Elsipogtog yesterday, you were well ahead of the mainstream media on the conflict between Mi’kmaq protestors and the RCMP in New Brunswick, Canada.

The Mi’kmaq have been blockading fracking exploration for some time, as I’ve mentioned here before. The province sought and obtained an injunction against them, and yesterday sent in RCMP – replete with snipers and dogs.

Several stories are now out on the conflict here, here and here. Lots of additional pictures are available on twitter. The Mi’kmaq demands are for the consultations they are legally entitled to and for proper stewardship of the land and water. On this latter point, and particularly in New Brunswick, they’ve got a good argument to make considering that the person in charge of that province’s fracking review panel was a fraud.

The end result was a show of state force. Several dozen people taken into custody, pepper spray used on elders.

There was also response from the Mi’kmaq, including the burning of police vehicles.

QUICK UPDATE: I meant to include a link to this interview with Pam Palmater on CBC’s Power and Politics last night.

Everybody condemns the violence, one hopes, when it erupts so explicitly. And yet there is a lot of violence buried within the legal injunction itself. Especially when proper consultation is guaranteed by Supreme Court decisions.

Yesterday there was also a new report released on fracking and the global land grab.