Water Consciousness!

In previous posts, Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list! Part 1, and Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list! Part 2, we recommended what we believe to be 10 important books about the global water crisis. All great books, but if you want the essential primer about the problems and how you can contribute to solutions*, snag a copy of Alternet’s Water Consciousness. Timely and informative, but also beautiful and accessible, it’s truly a good choice for agenda-driven holiday gift giving. Go here and press that green button that says Buy Now and follow the instructions to the letter.

*For example, a list of 14 Actions You Can Take to Protect Our Water. Don’t search–it’s not there.


Waterblogged.info’s performance evaluation:improvement needed!

The Waterblogged.info team sat in stunned and uncharacteristic silence as our obviously exasperated editorial director went over our performance evaluation, point by point, explaining why we not only failed to get the overall Exceeds Expectations rating that we fully anticipated–leading to a raise and water-cooler bragging rights–but instead got spanked with an unexpected and embarrassing Improvement Needed–leading potentially to the door.

improvement-needed2.jpgAfter the ritual humiliation, the boss leaned back in his chair and put his fingertips together–in that condescending manner that he thinks signals authority and reason but only manages to piss us off–and said, “Look, you accepted this job. You’re the one who committed to taking on a blog about water, for god’s sake, and refused to focus on one manageable aspect of it like other focused blogs, and instead insisted on pwning water, whatever that’s supposed to mean. You’ve fallen short. You’re dropping the ball.”

“You bury the lead by starting almost every post with irrelevant fantasies, you post much too infrequently, you’re disrespectful to elected officials, religious beliefs, and other blogs, you blithely dismiss potentially life-saving innovations and take pointless potshots at journalists, you don’t live up to commitments, your posts are often way too long, you overuse italics for emphasis, your writing style is somewhat turgid, your general attitude is flip, you’re a bunch of grim, gloomy Gusses, and–he paused for what he imagined to be a dramatic effect–you don’t appear to have a value proposition.”

Oooh, so that’s where this is coming from, his constant missed opportunities to monetize the blog, we thought, stung mainly by the critique of our writing style. Turgid? Is that what we now call writing in complete sentences that are rich with clauses–dependent and independent–packed with punchy parenthetical asides, studded with adjectives and alliterations, and enhanced with erudite references to such historic luminaries as Aristotle? Turgid our collective asses.

britney-spears.jpgHow about if we just skip words and post pictures of Britney Spears wasting water by taking overly long showers? we thought defiantly, as he blathered on about blog stats. That should get us some hits!

Whatever. We didn’t demean ourselves by being defensive and pointing out the efforts we’ve made to chronicle and elaborate upon some of the biggest water-related issues of the day. And our attempts to be a repository of the best water-related resources, such as here, here, and here, and our success at writing accurate and thoughtful posts about global water problems, (and here and here) even though we have to go to a demanding day gig, thanks to the absurdly low compensation package at Waterblogged.info. We know we’ve only scratched the surface, but we’ve really just gotten started. Developing a comprehensive, worthwhile site about a complex topic takes time and patience, we told ourselves supportively.

So we accepted, lying down, the performance program that the editorial director has “suggested.” We committed ourselves to at least three posts weekly, and three new “Getting Serious with Waterblogged.info” specials in the next three weeks. And we will stop gratuitously dissing other sites, being a smart-ass, and begin pruning our prose and looking for ways to grab more eyeballs. And, as Jane says, we’re gonna start tomorrow.
add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

The clearinghouse for dam removal information

As the many frequent visitors to Waterblogged.info know–from such posts as this and this–we’re enthusiastic about the salutary effects of ridding the world of useless, outmoded, and ill-conceived dams.

Although the catchily-named The Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Information carefully hews to the unwritten law decreeing that water-related sites must be visually unappealing, it is a valuable resource for those interested in the pros and cons of dismantling dams to allow rivers and streams to once again be . . .mmmm, rivers and streams.

The site, according to its editors, is unbiased on the matter, but we think there’s a bit of the old nudge-nudge, wink-wink here. But it’s stated purpose, to provide a resource in which those on both sides of the issue can learn more, is spot-on and important. Some people balk at the notion of dismantling a local dam because they don’t understand why it may be beneficial, while some environmentalists fail to see or at least underestimate the possible negative consequences of destroying dams and impoundments that have existed for centuries.

After marveling at the site’s Web .002 look and feel, check out the video that is linked from a tiny brown box hiding in the upper left corner that contains barely legible text. The video is free and therefore inexplicably not posted on YouTube. You can view it online, where it streams from a oddly function-free media player devoid of such distractions as rewinding and forwarding. Or you can download the 340-MB file. Sigh.

It’s a nicely made documentary full of current and historical information about the almost total destruction of fish runs and the decimation of the once massive populations of herring, shad, and other anadromous fish in New England. It contains what must be quite rare documentary footage from colonial America (What? Wait a minute, how the. . .Oh, those are costumes!).

It’s a serious, sobering, and even hopeful film, in which at one point the slightly whiny narrator poses the musical question: Will the rhythms of ancient ecosystems once again find harmony? At Waterblogged.info–where the glass is half-empty with polluted water–we’re skeptical, but it sure would be nice for a few more salmon, herring, and shad to be able to reach their spawning grounds, if only to reduce the price of fish at the supermarket.

Congress is failing to act!

When Waterblogged.info’s sources* revealed that the move to restore California’s San Joaquin River is stalled in Congress, an eerie hush fell over our newsroom; the clattering of the typewriters ceased, the editor stopped chewing on her cigar, the copy boy tip-toed out the door to find a better job. Why, we asked ourselves individually and collectively (in italics the way we always do when dumbfounded), why would Congress fail to fund an agreement that’s been almost 20 year in the making, and that has been ordered by a federal judge?

Our sources cleared up the mystery, and restored Waterblogged.info’s characteristic water-news-mongering din, by adding this:

The delay in Congress, according to supporters of the bill, is being caused by new Pay as You Go requirements, meaning the money needed for the restoration has to be offset somewhere else in the budget.

Oooohh, pay as you gooooo! Just like the war in Iraq! Well, that explains it! Satisfied that sanity had be reestablished, we turned back to editing and writing, and in the case of our star reporter, to finishing what the old-timer calls a snort from the bottle he keeps in his top left desk drawer.

Our sources, graciously—and for no additional fees—added the following, in case the reader needs additional information to fuel his or her outrage about the destruction of California’s second-largest river:

The once-mighty river, which literally foamed with spawning salmon back in the day, was dammed in 1943. Now, during summer months, two long sections of the river often dry up for more than 60 miles.

Environmentalists have characterized the draining of the San Joaquin as one of the most egregious examples anywhere of habitat destruction to quench man’s thirst for water.

*The San Francisco Chronicle—that in a rare courageous move—printed a great, well-researched story.