The World’s Oldest Trickle Down Effect

Passing Disease – WaterWoman’s Voice: Because what happens is the liver gets damaged and fat gets in the liverWe’re with a team of ecologists in Botswana, Africa, studying the health of fish in a local stream. They’re trying to better understand the vital role that water plays in our environment. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Alexander: Increasingly, water is seen as a limiting resource globally. There just isn’t enough of it, and what there is is often not of good quality. Disease ecologist Dr. Kathleen Alexander.Alexander: And we’re also seeing that what happens to the water mercury, fish people are anxious about eating fish now because of those changes. So, it’s not just what happens to our environment that there might be a polluted stream and we’re concerned about that. We’re seeing that water, fundamentally, is going to describe our health, and it might not be out your front door. It could be all the way over in Africa somewhere, but those changes will eventually influence us all, and so, we have to be aware of what they are. What do I mean by that, is that as we transform these landscapes as you build the parking lots, as you change the road structure, as you build a new residential area near the river for example, and you have septic tanks, as you displace vegetation, move animals around things change, and we realize that those changes can influence the water. Now, that water can change in profound ways. The ecosystem can change in profound ways, such that what we’re used to getting clean water, a clean environment is no longer there. And how do we identify that tipping point where the ecosystem can no longer give us this clean water? That’s what we’re trying to figure out, and those are the critical questions. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

The World's Oldest Trickle Down Effect

Virtually everything we do to transform a landscape impacts the quality of our water.
Air Date:10/18/2019
Scientist:
Transcript:

Passing Disease - WaterWoman's Voice: Because what happens is the liver gets damaged and fat gets in the liverWe're with a team of ecologists in Botswana, Africa, studying the health of fish in a local stream. They're trying to better understand the vital role that water plays in our environment. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Alexander: Increasingly, water is seen as a limiting resource globally. There just isn't enough of it, and what there is is often not of good quality. Disease ecologist Dr. Kathleen Alexander.Alexander: And we're also seeing that what happens to the water mercury, fish people are anxious about eating fish now because of those changes. So, it's not just what happens to our environment that there might be a polluted stream and we're concerned about that. We're seeing that water, fundamentally, is going to describe our health, and it might not be out your front door. It could be all the way over in Africa somewhere, but those changes will eventually influence us all, and so, we have to be aware of what they are. What do I mean by that, is that as we transform these landscapes as you build the parking lots, as you change the road structure, as you build a new residential area near the river for example, and you have septic tanks, as you displace vegetation, move animals around things change, and we realize that those changes can influence the water. Now, that water can change in profound ways. The ecosystem can change in profound ways, such that what we're used to getting clean water, a clean environment is no longer there. And how do we identify that tipping point where the ecosystem can no longer give us this clean water? That's what we're trying to figure out, and those are the critical questions. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.