Beans are delicious, so delicious that earlier this year the UN declared 2016 to be year of the pulse. Around the world beans are cultivated for their protein and their ability to grow in many places. Some beans are better at growing in wet areas while others in drought conditions. This has led botanists to look into why some beans are better than others in terms of the drought resistance. They figured it out thanks to crossbreeding the beans!
What the researchers have now found is that the plants have developed two distinct strategies, depending on the soil in which they were planted and the length of the dry periods they had to endure.
One group has developed deeper roots so they can reach the available moisture in soil that retained water even when there was no rain.
The second group has smaller leaves and closes down their operations to wait for better times. Some varieties use what little resources they have left to grow as many beans as possible, to ensure the survival of the next generation.
In this TED talk David Sedlak explores options that can be used to fend off drought in cities. The last century saw massive developments that treated water in a very unsustainable way (from dams to pathetic water policies). This century we will have to correct the mistakes of the past and focus on changing how we approach water as an ecological system.
As the world’s climate patterns continue to shift unpredictably, places where drinking water was once abundant may soon find reservoirs dry and groundwater aquifers depleted. In this talk, civil and environmental engineer David Sedlak shares four practical solutions to the ongoing urban water crisis. His goal: to shift our water supply towards new, local sources of water and create a system that is capable of withstanding any of the challenges climate change may throw at us in the coming years.
Australia suffers a lot of droughts so it’s really good to see that at least two schools are taking steps to ensure that their water consumption is responsible.
While no longer breaking news, the endeavours of students and staff at two different Australian schools still merits attention. One school went bottled water free, whilst another became what they believe is the world’s first Carbon Neutral School.
In the first instance, a student-led initiative at Monte SantÊ¼ Angelo Mercy College, in North Sydney will see the school install six water fountains and bottle refill stations to provide the 1,100 students with filtered tap water, so the canteen need apparently no longer supply bottled water, with all its attendant environmental woes.
The other school Oakhill College,, also in Sydney at Castle Hill spent six months completing an environment audit of its 42 hectares of facilities. The school will buy carbon offsets, while it uses the next five years to continue along it’s existing path of energy and water efficiency programs to the point it no longer requires the offsets.