It's Blog Action Day again - and 2010 has a timely theme: water.
It's a theme that was prominent at the 2010 Climate Leadership Summit of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which took place this week in Denver.
Keynote speaker James Woolsey, former CIA director, focused his talk on the national security implications of our energy use (as well as the social and environmental implications). Of course you can't have that conversation without talking about climate disruption and water.
During the business roundtable, moderated by ASU President Michael Crow, water was again a focal point. Jonathan Lanciani, COO of Organica Water spoke about the need that companies like his have for sustainability-literate graduates. He also spoke about the serious water challenges our world faces - 2.5 billion people live in "water stressed" areas, global demand continues to grow, and large parts of our energy system (including some clear renewables) are water-intensive.
Organica has an exciting approach - essentially taking the "living machine" concept and creating systems that are small, efficient, and suitable for urban and institutional use. Waste water goes in the system, and comes out the other end clean, and ready for re-use as grey water (for toilets, irrigation, etc.)
Living organisms do the work - bacteria, microbes, plants, and animals eliminate the need for toxic chemicals and energy-instensive systems. The systems are aesthetically pleasing, reminiscent of botanical gardens. And they're odor-free, with upfront costs comparable to traditional systems, and lower operational costs for the life of the system.
Organica's system is just one example of how sustainability constraints can drive innovation - and how we can create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for everyone by taking a proactive approach to moving towards sustainability.