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On the Water Front

Hosted by Lynn Broaddus, Ph.D. MBA | Director, Environment Programs

"Urining" for a better way to go

My guess is that you’re probably pretty comfortable with the flush toilet. Having a clean, operational toilet and the privacy that comes with it is something you probably take for granted, right? The flush toilet long ago revolutionized the way we live, and was part of the advances in human health and sanitation that lengthened our lifespan and facilitated urban growth. It solved a number of society’s problems, but as we face growing resource constraints, is it time for us to reconsider how we go?

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A Great Environment for Craft Brewing

Who says sustainability is bad for the bottom line? It was Wisconsin’s own Sen. Gaylord Nelson, most famously known as the founder of Earth Day, who correctly stated, "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around." In other words, if you think big enough, there is only one balance sheet, and that’s the one for the planet as a whole.

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Resilient Utilities: It’s not just about technology

People sometimes ask me how we select our meeting topics. There isn’t any particular formula to how we do our work, but I like to tell people that we try to answer for ourselves: What is the question that isn’t being asked, but needs to be asked? In my head I have an image of a bead of water building up on a hard-packed sandy beach, but still held together by surface tension among the water molecules. If you scratch a little runway along one edge of the pooled water, it will begin to run out in that direction.

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Inspired by Innovation

It has been more than three years since the participants in The Johnson Foundation’s Freshwater Summit issued its Freshwater Call to Action, asking leaders from all sectors of society to address the challenges facing the United States’ freshwater resources. Paging back through the document from today’s vantage, it seems more prescient than ever.

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Water Geek ISO Los Angeles River

I love water. I love rivers.  And when I travel, it’s not unusual for me to want to find the local river or water body. As the former Executive Director of the Milwaukee Riverkeeper®, I have a special place in my heart for urban rivers and the challenges they and their human neighbors face. But in the mythos of urban rivers, the Los Angeles River is Mecca.   

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Great Lakes: Where’s the justice?

Do you dream of being Gwen Ifill or John Stewart? I don’t, but nonetheless I recently had a chance to moderate a panel as part of Great Lakes Week.

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Showering Without Guilt

One of the things I remember my father saying about Mundy Point, a small peninsula of land on Virginia’s coastal plain that I’ve been visiting since before I had braces, was that it was blessed with an artesian water system. At the time I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but I knew it was good.

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Fracking: A Train's-Eye View

A few days ago, the New York Times ran a piece about increasing rail traffic in the Pacific Northwest due to growing shipments of oil from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, as well as coal headed for westward export across the Pacific Ocean. While this increased traffic is great for the rail business, it means very busy tracks in Spokane, Wash., the pinch point through which the trains all travel.

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Weathering the Perfect Storm - and Growing Blue at the same time

Last week I had the honor of posting a piece on the blog for Growing Blue, a project dedicated to water sustainability, including economic sustainability. You can see it on the Growing Blue site, but I've also pasted the text below.

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Who Needs Clean Water?

How many times do we have to remind ourselves of the difference between wants and needs?  If forced to sort through the material goods in my life, there’s no question that I’d put clean water into my bucket of ‘needs’.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t splash some of it over into my ‘want’ bucket too.  Sometimes (often times) we want water for the sheer joy of it, especially on the long, clear days that mark the start of summer.

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