May 17, 2020

Erin Brockovich on the World Water Crisis

energy digital
Erin Brockovich
Last Call at the Oasis
wat
Admin
3 min
Last Call at the Oasis serves as a wakeup call
Click here to experience this article in our digital reader In the 90s, Erin Brockovich, lacking any formal law school education, was instrumental in...

 

 

Click here to experience this article in our digital reader

In the 90s, Erin Brockovich, lacking any formal law school education, was instrumental in constructing a case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company regarding polluted groundwater supplies from the company's natural gas operations in the southern California town of Hinkley. After the case was settled for $333 million, the largest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in US history, Brockovich became unstoppable. Today, she's taking on more than local environmental issues and turning her attention to the global water crisis.

The famed environmentalist is featured as a prominent speaker in Jessica Yu's new documentary “Last Call at the Oasis,” focusing on the growing global water crisis—from the drying up of Lake Mead to the fight to keep herbicides from tainting drinking water around the world.

In a partnership with Google, Brockovich is also involved in a project to map disease clusters around the world, tying their relationship to contaminated water supplies. In a roundtable discussion with the Huffington Post, Brockovich said that the project began as she was receiving up to 50,000 emails per month from people reporting health issues in their communities. She then began to plot the communities on a map, and, realizing the magnitude and importance of the research, turned the initiative into her personal “life project.”

Read more in June's issue of Energy Digital: Energy Turns to SPACE 

With children in the military, the issue also hits close to home. Studies are currently being conducted linking past chemical exposure and groundwater contamination at the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune to increased levels of disease among former residents.

Brockovich told the Huffington Post, "You are looking at soldiers who would give their lives so we are afforded this opportunity to be here today. They come home from three, four tours of duty, and they get poisoned on their own soil. If we stand down on them, if we don't rally to look at this, it will be the biggest black eye on America I've ever known."

THE FILM

The thought-provoking documentary reveals some unnerving statistics: Less than one percent of the world's water is actually available to drink; by 2025, more than half of the world will lack access to adequate water; the US has the largest water footprint in the world. The film also singles out particularly alarming crisis situations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, California's Central Valley, Michigan, Texas, Australia and the Middle East.

On a positive note, the film also highlights efforts by nongovernmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East, which is working with Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian officials to clean up the polluted Jordan River.

“Compromise is happening in a place where you would think it would be impossible to have cooperation,” Yu said in an interview. “We can’t all become activists overnight, and no one thing is going to change the situation, but there is tremendous room for improvement.”

Brockovich and Yu hope the new film will serve as a wake up call. From the producers of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Food, Inc.,” Yu's “Last Call at the Oasis” is now showing in select theaters.

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Jul 30, 2021

Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector

marineenergy
renewableenergy
tidalturbine
Sustainability
3 min
The UK’s nascent marine energy sector starts exporting electricity to the grid as the most powerful tidal turbine in the world begins to generate power

Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre

At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable. 

How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?

Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.” 

“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement. 

The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.

“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government. 

“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”

However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future. 

We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.” 

The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours

This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly

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