As huge swathes of eastern Australia, including the coastal areas, struggle with the driest year since the Federation Drought of 1902, there is finally some good news on the environment front. Well, we hope so. The world’s two biggest producers of greenhouse gases, American and China, shook hands in a historic deal to limit their countries’ carbon emissions adn also acknowledged their leading role in the fight to stop the world heating up.
It’s a move that can’t come to soon. Things have been hotting up, not just here at home, but also globally ever since people started burning coal in industrial amounts more than a century ago. And over the past two or three decades the process has gone into overdrive.
If you’re a glacier, that’s pretty bad news. And if the glaciers are in trouble, so are we.
Across the world, the glaciers have been retreating almost as fast as a downhill skier heading for the hot tub. New Zealand, for instance, lost 11 per cent of its glacial ice between 1975 and 2005, and though some glaciers, like the tourist attractions of Fox and Franz Josef, have periodically made small advances, they are small compared to the overall loss over the past century or so. The chilling news is that some people are saying it’s the beginning of the end for most of the glaciers in places like the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps.
Glacial ice is the world’s biggest reservoir of fresh water. Scientists say glaciers have been affected by global warming and that run-offs and the formation of glacial lakes are increasing, but it’s not that simple (is anything ever?). They predict there’ll be more run-off during the winter months and less during the summer, when the water is needed lower down. This change in the glacial cycle apparently also means there’ll be 10-15 per cent less rainfall in the summer, increasing the threat of drought and dwindling supplies of water during the hottest months of the year. Can we afford for it to get worse? According to the government’s Bureau of Meteorolgy we’ve just had seventh driest October on record; in south Australia is was the driest October on record.
The retreat of the glaciers is a story repeated in many of the world’s coldest places as we burn up fossil fuels at an ever more alarming rate. But melting glaciers doesn’t mean there’s more water. In fact, lakes and rivers are drying up all over the place and deserts are spreading, so as well as cutting our energy use it is now more important than ever that people and businesses find ways to save water (and no, that’s not an excuse for drinking more champagne). Any business that depends on a constant supply of clean laundry, like hairdressing and gyms, fortunately can switch to Easydry towels to save water and those who use showerheads can use the new Ecoheads available from our partner company Orb Distribution. And we can, and should, look for more.
It might sound a tough message, but it’s important, and it’s one you should be talking to clients about to, showing them you care by using Easydry and encouraging them to follow your lead and use a bit less gas, electricity and water. Then there might be a enough to go round.