Something to tweet about in aid of your environment – if you care

30 September 2012

Environmental issues don’t do well on social media platforms.  They’re not trendy or sexy enough, so trying to raise awareness about issues like water quality is frustratingly hopeless.

Of course, it will become MUCH easier once you have to think twice about whether you can drink the water coming out of your kitchen tap!  Just a couple of weeks ago, discussions at World Water Week noted that

According to data contributed by the World Resources Institute, eutrophication (nutrient pollution in water) in worldwide coastal water systems has risen from fewer than 75 impacted systems in 1960 to more than 800 systems today. Of these, more than 500 systems have experienced hypoxia (the absence of oxygen in water required to support life) caused by excess nitrogen, such as the Dead Zone at the mouth of the Mississippi River basin [here we could add the Baltic Sea problems and also note that, globally, between 30 and 50% of lakes are now eutrophic, i.e. very seriously enriched with nutrients].

The economic impacts of eutrophication include losses to tourism, recreational industries, fisheries and aquaculture.  The lack of sustainable agricultural [and wastewater management] practices that will provide food security without compromising water quality, and the need to develop more sustainable practices, is a worldwide issue of both environmental and economic consequence.

Here’s an example of text that I would like to see ‘trend’ on Twitter.  It’s not my wording, the skeleton comes from an open letter to USA VP Joe Biden ahead of his visit to some Florida wetlands last week.  I have set it up in a South African context, i.e. directed to our Minister of Water Affairs and the Environment:

Dear Minister Molewa: Many of our waterways are choking with algae produced by neglect and lethal amounts of fertilizer, sewage and manure. We implore you to make sure government officials enact stricter standards before pollutants invade our waterways to a point where an attempt at a cleanup becomes almost futile.

Ok, it’s way too long for a tweet but a tweet about the blogpost would achieve the same.  Maybe some clever ‘tweeter’ can précis it down without loss of meaning?  Let me know.

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