Most of the changes scientists see on our planet are either visible to the naked eye or directly measurable. But changes to our water systems are among the most difficult to see. In this episode, we travel from the Antarctic ice sheet capturing over 60 percent of all freshwater on Earth, to massive groundwater aquifers that remain particularly elusive, to a freshwater system that acts as the primary economic, cultural, and environmental driver of southern Asia. In short, we go in search of hidden water.
In the mid-1980s, a small problem began to surface in a relatively obscure corner of the world. In 1994, just about a decade later, the World Health Organization published a statement that this little problem had developed into “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.” On today’s show, we speak to the doctors, epidemiologists, and geologists who helped hunt down the origin of this tragic event. Join us as we venture through the human body and through geologic time to uncover the twists and turns and remarkable coincidences responsible for this ongoing epidemic.
Audio is nice. No cameras, no spotlight.
This essay was written by Mike Osborne. If you wish to hear Mike read it, click play below.
It took a while for me to get comfortable with this question, and, at first, I had no idea how to react. This is a really interesting question to be asked. It’s vague, full of fear, and totally lacking any nuance whatsoever. Actually, if I’m honest with myself, it’s the question that drove me to become a climate scientist in the first place. Ten years ago I walked away from college thinking, “The planet is screwed, we’re all screwed. Or, at least I think we’re screwed. But wait…are we really screwed? Maybe not. Shoot, I don’t know. I don’t have enough information here. I’ll go back to school.” Continue reading