Author’s program note. The first thing scientists engaged in seeking life on other planets look for is whether there is water there. For without it they know there can be no life… and no species like ours. Water, you see, is the defining element, the sine qua non without which life is not merely improbable… but impossible.
Thus for the incidental music to today’s article, I give you the mastery of that aquatic choreographer and tongue-in-cheek provocateur Busby Berkeley (1895-1976), imp, troublemaker, artiste, American original , and — above all — genius. In 1933 he put his mind of high originality to work crafting for the film “Footlight Parade” a complex geometric water ballet to the tune of “By a Waterfall,” music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Irving Kahal.
It was designed to mesmerize, titillate, enthrall, entrance… it was cheeky, scandalous… just plain fun for those who enjoyed the beach and its unending possibilities for naughtiness — and an innocence which is now long gone from the Great Republic.
To create this undoubted masterpiece, which had “made in America” stamped all over it, the exigent Berkeley, never one to economize, demanded a 40 x 80 foot swimming pool that filled an entire sound stage. Its walls and floor were glass, and before shooting started 100 chorus girls took two weeks to practice their exacting routines in it. The actual filming lasted six days and required 20,000 gallons of water per minute to be pumped across the set.
Busby’s genius and his innovative use of not just comely young maidens but of cameras did the rest. So instead of filming numbers from set angles, like other, lesser men, he instead set his cameras into motion on custom built booms and monorails and as necessary, even cutting through the studio roof to get the right shot…for to get his great vision on film for eternity was ever his objective.
And so stars Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler found themselves “By a waterfall”. “Just a winding stream where I can drift and dream….” We have all had this experience, transformed into poetry if we were there with our beloved… It is this scenario that is at growing risk worldwide as we learn from two sobering reports just released on the subject of the future of water.
Too little water here…. too much water there.
March 22, 2012 US intelligence agencies reported that droughts, floods and a lack of fresh water may cause significant global instability and conflict in the decades dead ahead. The report makes clear that developing countries, already severely challenged, will have to scramble to meet demand from exploding populations while dealing with the effects of climate changes.
This report, reflecting the joint judgement of federal intelligence agencies, concludes that in the next decade the risk of water shortages and related issues is minimal, although they assert there will be discernible tensions between affected states thereby destabilizing national and global food markets. This phase of the matter offers important issues and challenges but not chaos. ..
… that, they conclude, begins beyond 2022. Then it begins with a vengeance. Then water becomes a weapon of war, a tool of terrorism and a vehicle for the utmost dislocation, despair, and dismay. Amidst such well founded deductions heralding Armageddon, we are as far as possible from Powell and Keeler at their enchanting waterfall, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa where the crisis has already commenced, with far, far worse foreseeable and on its way.
The report is based on a classified National Intelligence Estimate on water security which was requested by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and was concluded in the fall of 2011. Its stark conclusion: floods, scarce and poor quality water, worsened by poverty, poor leadership, and weak governments will contribute to acute instability; this in turn could lead to the failure of numerous states with massive possibilities for mischief by aggressive regimes like China and by terrorists of every kind; people adept at promising reforms they cannot deliver but which prove fertile in the minds of people who have nothing but who see every day what we in the West have… and which they want for themselves, whatever it takes to get it. Thus does the bitter brew of this witches’ cauldron heat to a boil… its toxic ingredients instability and state failure, exacerbated regional tensions, and with such distractions, the report concludes, that may prevent them from working with the Unites States and our Allies on important policy objectives, thereby further imperiling the tenuous lives of millions, each one subject to events they do not control, but which most assuredly control them.
World Water Day, March 22, 2012
At this year’s WWD event, Secretary Clinton unveiled a new US Water Partnership that aims to share American water management expertise with the rest of the world, calling the findings of the report disturbing, sobering, a call to action before no action beyond prayer will matter. Thus, the conclusion of this timely report:
“We judge that as water shortages become more acute beyond the next 10 years, water in shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage; the use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives.”
But water will wend its terrible way with us in other grave matters, too…
4 million to be at flood risk, study says.
Whilst researchers and policy makers contemplate the serious matters above, others of their ilk have been at work on another aspect of the problem, this time expected flooding from rising seas fueled by global warming. Their blunt findings were published March 15, 2012 in the peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Research Letter.” This report, in the form of two scientific articles, makes alarming reading, asserting as it does projected sea level rise by the year 2100. Nearly 4 million people across the United States, from Los Angeles to much of the East Coast are in the danger zone.
The cities that have the most people living within three feet of high tide — the projected sea level rise by 2100 — are in Florida, Louisiana, and New York. Boston, Norfolk, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina, and the capital of the Great Republic itself, Washington, D.C. will be seriously affected with catastrophic results for property and lives.
What can we do, or are we, too, simply at the mercy of events?
I believe that God helps those who help themselves… and what we can do here is plain. We must keep the feet of our leaders to the fire, reminding them of the necessity to focus on recognizing and solving these problems. The younger you are the more you must do so, understanding as soon as possible that you have power, if only you will use it.
And if each of us will claim our infinitesimal share of these monumental problems and remain dedicated to their solution, we will have won the right to these words:
“By a waterfall I’m calling you. We can share it all beneath a ceiling of blue. We’ll spend a heavenly day Here where the whispering waters play.”
Go now to any search engine and play this tune… after all, it’s your future they’re singing about.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Republished with author’s permission by Daniel Fischer http://SuccessClicks.com.