March 20, 2008

March 20, 2008 McGill University

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McGill Reporter
March 20, 2008 - Volume 40 Number 14
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water droplet


It is perhaps the simplest equation of all: Water equals life.

The human cell, the very building block of life, is 70 per cent water. In a wonderful show of organic symmetry, the surface of the Earth, the only planet we know that sustains life, is also 70 per cent water. Our bodies are about 55 per cent water and more than half the world's plants and animals live in water. Without it, we die. So why, on the eve of the United Nation's World Water Day on March 22, do we find the world's overburdened, over-fished and over-polluted water supply is teetering on the brink of disaster? Why, to paraphrase a lament from Jacques Cousteau, do we treat this essential element as a global garbage can? The answers are as complex as water's relation to life is simple, raising myriad issues from ethics and ecology to economics and ecosystems. This special edition of the McGill Reporter is devoted to water, to work being done by McGill researchers to better understand and protect the world's water supply, to the initiatives undertaken by the University to reduce consumption on campus and, perhaps most important, to the daily contributions we can all make to conserve this vital precious element. Water facts

P.O.V.: The world's water: An overview

The Founding Director, Brace Centre for Water Resources Management, and current Dean, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, gives us the lowdown on our favorite liquid.

Reining in rampaging algae

Sure, we're still up to our armpits in the white fluffy stuff, but a few months down the road we'll be flocking to the province's lakes to cool off. Unless blue-green algae rears its ugly head again.

Profile - Sara Finley: Riding the greywater wave

A five-minute shower can render upwards of 100 litres of potable water undrinkable. Wouldn't it be great if we could put that water to some other use before dumping it in the sewer? Sara Finley has an idea.

McGill Web Gems: Spiritual bricks and mortar

Nobody says web eclecticism like McGill.

Green Corner: Be water wise
Do you really need to hose down your front walk every Sunday morning? These helpful tips will help you cut down your water consumption.

Entre Nous with Van-Thanh-Van Nguyen, Director, Brace Centre for Water Resources Management: More than just water

The Brace Centre's Director talks about the new approach of integrated water resources management.

Campus conservation: Every drop counts

What can McGillians do to conserve water while on campus? Plenty.

Bourguignon Beat: Tapping into conscious consumption: A day in the life

Our man on the street logs his daily water consumption and gives readers insight into his borderline compulsive teeth-brushing regimen.


The war between food and water

Garry Peterson cautions us about the dangers of our agricultural practices changing the water cycle.

Notes from the Field: Gender and water scarcity

Alicia Suchorski, M.Sc. candidate in the department of BioResource Engineering, looks at her research based on water and gender issues in Barbados.

Helping growers save water

Bano Mehdi, Professional Associate at the Brace Centre, helps bring farming into the 21st century.

Hydro power: How green is it?

Ever wonder how much greenhouse gas a boreal forest would produce if entirely submerged under water? Ian Strachan did.

Solving our water woes

Nathalie Tufenkji uses the Walkerton tragedy to fuel her drive to make water cleaner, safer.

The false promise of "Blue Gold"

As water becomes the world's newest, hottest commodity, the question now becomes, whose water is it?

A water-related kudos in the Water Issue? Oh yeah, we're good.

French immersion

Fresh off its triumphant inaugural summer last year, McGill's Quebec Studies program is back and it's bigger and better than ever.

Around campus
Compared to the big colour photo of the Martlets hockey team celebrating its recent Canadian championship, all other items pale.

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