Where does all the rain go?

Down the drain

At a time when Israel’s mountain and coastal aquifers are severely depleted, the government has put in place what is know as the “Drought Tax”. People in Israel already have to pay for the amount of water they use, however the new drought tax is actually a levy on excessive water use with the apparent aim of encouraging people to save water.

A number of solutions for the present water emergency in Israel have been suggested, such as importing water from Turkey and establishing temporary, movable desalinization plants along the coast. These solutions are very expensive however, are limited in the volume of water they can produce and are only temporary solutions. The most obvious and promising solution is water saving, through informing the public and, more recently, by introducing a heavy drought tax – water consumption fell by 15% this past summer compared to the summer of 2008.

The Fun Theory

Most of us want to make a difference in some observable way to this world, but the best of our intentions give way to the day’s demands, fatigue and inertia. For instance, just like any other decent, environmentally-conscious organization, my workplace too hopes to encourage its employees to go at least a little bit green and make a difference. One of the more obvious initiatives is taking the staircase instead of the elevator so that we reduce electricity usage and stay fit. As part of the plan, there are big posters outside and inside elevators that advice us in green, friendly alphabets: TAKE THE STAIRS FOR ONE UP AND DOWN TWO. Yet till date, the few times I’ve taken the stairs, I’ve never encountered even a trace of a human being except for a lingering, stale smell of cigarettes.

The problem lies, however, not with the people, but with the staircase. The entire experience of taking the staircase is not a very pleasurable one. At best, it is boring and at its worst, claustrophobic and depressing. Something that is good for you and the environment, ought not to be so uninviting. This is where the Fun Theory comes in. The Fun Theory believes that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”. Perhaps more people would take the stairs if taking them was made more fun, like this:

Climate change in Pictures


Recently declassified photos taken from a US spy satellite show the impact of climate change on coastal waters. This particular one shows the Alaskan sea-port of Barrow where we see ice floating near the coast in July 2006, and the other one, taken a year later, shows an entirely ice-free coastline. Temperatures in Barrow have increased by 30 degrees in the past 40 years. Source: Guardian

Images are striking reminders. If you come across pictures that show the impact of climate change on the landscape, do send them in.