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Water Sustainability — The Nomura Jellyfish and You

What does a green front lawn, popular hair shampoos and Nomura jellyfish have in common? In my mind, they’re all connected.

Firstly, take a gander at these behemoths interrupting, possibly decimating, the livelihoods of western Japanese fishermen (http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/huge-jellyfish-attacks-nomura-jellyfish-the-giant-jelly-of-japan/). Of the handful of articles I researched, this one is the most informative.. Scientists and marine specialists can only hypothesize the surge in recent years, and fingers are pointing towards the three most popular possibilities: overfishing, global warming and runoff.

I love rain. Of all the forms in which Mama Nature quenches our earth, liquid water is my favorite. Snow is cool, sleet & hail are certainly interesting, and fog has its merits, yet rain is my favorite. DropsI remember one summer night when I was a teenager. I sat under a gazebo on the beach, while a monster storm raged offshore. I was mesmerized by the sheer power and intensity of that event. As well, the simplest of Autumn showers are enjoyable to me, resulting in puddles reflecting fall’s red and gold leaves above. And the best scientific fun-fact about rain comes from one of my daughters, who proudly states the faster a person walks/runs in the rain, the wetter he or she becomes.

I have to admit that green grass and manicured front lawns are an eyesore for me. I sometimes imagine myself as the water vigilante, sabotaging by night  home sprinkler systems everywhere. How cool would that be? Unfortunately, standard practice in America has evolved to include insta-lawns and the landscaper to mow & blow it to perfection. The epitome of this is to fly over cities like Phoenix, AZ or Palm Springs, CA. From thirty-thousand feet, arid desert is suddenly blotched with green, red and blue shapesРfront lawns, roof shingles, and in-ground pools. Urban sprawl is ugly.

The U.S. Geological Survey has a great website (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt), providing consistently updated detail on the Nation’s water table– broken down by state, county and local water authority. Happily, I live in a ‘blue state’ in more ways than one, for the Northeast is typically well-watered. Unhappily, though, the USGS is also discovering chemicals in our water tables that are believed to be endocrine disruptors, thus we read about six-legged frogs and fish with both male and female traits. Notwithstanding big agriculture– a major contributor– the primary culprits are the chemicals in fertilizers, pesticides and consumer products (shampoos, detergents and cosmetics, for example).

So, water that drains out of our homes, and the runoff diverted by municipal sewer systems return this tainted-liquid-gold to our beloved earth. Much is captured, treated and delivered to us as tap water, which is why I suggest good-quality filtration on all faucets and showers. Still more water ends up in our rivers and ultimately flows into our oceans. Which is how I connect our daily living experience with the rise of the Nomura jellyfish.