Virtual water


Miscellaneous hearth-art from the KW/GG caribou-rack room….

Recently I encountered this article abstract, Virtual water: Virtuous impact? The unsteady state of virtual water (2007), by Dik Roth and Jeroen Warner, and the phrase “virtual water” sure caught my eye. What they mean is water needed for crop production, with the implication that if you get your food from elsewhere, the water needed to grow (and ship) that food comes from that environment, not locally to you. I first encountered this concept, absent the catchy name, when a guide we had in Tanzania observed that flowers grown in Africa and shipped to the voracious flower markets in Europe meant Africa was effectively exporting water since flowers take so much to grow to the blooming stage. Anyway, having yesterday driven through flooding in Ohio and water sluicing in ditches in Kentucky, while thinking about the drought here in Georgia, water’s been on my mind.

To reduce the amount of virtual water you consume (or cause to be used), consider following Michael Pollan’s prescription: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (Pollan’s link, and a NYTimes article….)

Today’s vocabulary: iteroparous

Applies to organisms that reproduce more than once during their lifetimes. Examples include mammals, perennial plants. Iteroparous plants are more common in the tropics. In contrast, semelparous organisms reproduce only once in a lifetime. In general, semelparous species will produce more offspring from their single breeding event than iteroparous species. Iteroparity appears to be an adaptation to environmental (and thus reproductive) uncertainty.

I thought this a fine word (well, pair of words) for springtime….

One comment

  1. kayak woman says:

    hahaha! I thought that character looked familiar!