Save the Earth, Save Our Water

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Save the Earth, Save Water by therealmleh.blogspot.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. You can redistribute and/or modify this image as long as the credits at the bottom remain intact.

the artsy version

(Click to enlarge: the original size is actually 1450ish pixels wide, this is uploaded at only 700pixels wide. But still, it's a good size for the web: everything's legible if you're inclined to read it.)

If you're interested in the process but hate reading my rambles (in which case I'm wondering why you're here at all...), click here for an animated GIF of all the layers. Ignore how the first one looks; just note the stupid background.

Yes, I made all of it--base photograph of me squishing my squishy Earth stress ball, which I dipped in some water--don't look at me like that, I used the water on my plants afterward! Then I painted over my rather icky nails and crummy finger skin (though not my former guitar callus...oops) and also hid most of my veins; I've got pretty translucent skin. Yes, painted. For once in my life, I did not use the Clone Stamp tool! Anywhere! :O

For the Earth ball--I used Earthbrowser.com to get a basic idea of what the contintents should look like, which is why they're still a bit off (the squishy ball was remarkably inaccurate on a lot of fronts; for instance, India is about the width of Florida there). As a reference for the detail, I went to satellite pictures from Google maps and took heavy liberties while painting (I am trying to maintain my slacker cred, after all). Africa looks kind of funky because I did it first; that's just how things go. :/

Important stuff! The dry areas are heavily distorted. Shit isn't that bad...yet. I also melted a lot of snow. Accuracy of shape is a bit lacking. I'm going to pretend that it's because of thermal expansion--shrinking continents as the water level rises. Did you know that the overwhelming majority of rising water levels is because of thermal expansion? And that, while melting the ice doesn't change levels that much, it severely accelerates rates of land ice melting and global warming in general. Anyway, what I said about the continent shape is a load of garbage; I blame Earthbrowser, my squishy Earth ball, and the fact that it is supposed to be distorted.

Facts from these various books; nothing's verbatim but I sure as hell do need to credit them:
The End of Food
- Water tables in parts of the Midwest have dropped over 1,000 feet, meaning that farmers making new wells have to dig them over 1,000 feet deep.
- Around 80% of all water in the U.S. goes to agriculture.

The Weather Makers : How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
- If current trends continue for another half century, snowpacks in regions of the U.S. West will reduce by up to 60%. Guess which huge cities and agricultural areas depend on the water from melting streams?
- In 2003, computer models showed that rising sea-surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean set off the drought in Africa's Sahel desert (commonly attributed to overgrazing).
- Sea ice has decreased by 20 percent since 1950 and is now only 60 percent as thick as it was in 1970. Polar bears, ringed seals, lemmings, caribou, the Inuit are just among a few of the species/nationalities who'll be totally fucked if the tundra ends up vanishing entirely, as it could.
- Without sea ice--and snow--the Earth's albedo will significantly change: ice reflects 90% of sunlight into space and water reflects only 5-10%. The resulting positive feedback loop will just really screw the rest of the planet, especially since most sunlight is reflected back into space at the Poles.
- Current ocean warming only reflects human interference until 1970. Once these warmer top layers mix with the lower colder ones, the species of the deep ocean will be gone, too.
- Extreme El Ninos can cause droughts, floods, and other types of extreme weather--category 5 hurricanes, for instance--in two thirds of the planet.
- We're guaranteed a global temperature increase of at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) no matter what we do.

You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet
- More than half of Americans live within 50 miles of the shore. Coastal cities worldwide have grown by ~30% over the past 20 years.
- Oceans cover 70% of the surface and are home to ~90% of Earth's life. Ever heard of a thing called the Eastern Garbage Patch? It's in the Pacific Ocean.
- The UN Environment Programme says that on average, 46,000 pieces of plastic litter or floating on every square mile of ocean; about 70% of this sinks.
- Five million people die each year because of illnesses derived from lack of potable water.
- The average human uses ~13 gallons/day; Western Europeans and Americans use between 50-170 gallons/day. The poorest people use 5 gallons/day. Per capita water consumption has approximately doubled in the last 100 years.
- Available freshwater is currently less than 0.5% of all Earth's water. As we continue to dump freshwater into the oceans, this supply will decrease. (Rainfall comes from pre-existing ground water sources.)
- Global water shortages are expected by 2020, according to some estimates.
- Some experts say that major droughts may occur every other year by 2100 (such droughts have alre.ady become far more common).
- Thirty six states are expected to face water shortages in the next five years...according to our very own government. How awesome is it that the policies of Dubyatime are being reversed! Anyone else remember when arsenic was classified as a vegetable?

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