If you turn on the news tonight—something I sincerely hope you won’t—you’ll be treated to the usual litany of darkside fare ranging from death, destruction, mayhem, and villainy, graciously brought to your living room through the generosity of the makers of medications for afflictions you didn’t know you had and that offer side-effects easily matching the ills they’re designed to cure.
It’s little wonder a great number of us feel that things are going to hell in a hand basket, especially when attractive and seemingly respectable people feed us an uninterrupted diet of such gobbledegook with smiles on their faces. So my question to you is, are things really as bad as others would have you believe?
Allow me to suggest that we back away from the here-and-now and view our present situation in the perspective of a century. Doing so, it’s hard not to come face-to-face with the conclusion that we’ve never had it so good. In fact no potentate or holder of indescribable wealth before the dawn of the twentieth century had access to the abundance you and I enjoy without question today. Consider that worldwide life expectancy has doubled, income tripled, childhood mortality reduced by a factor of ten…these while the earth’s population increased seven-fold.
Naysayers will probably want to know when all the good things will grind to a halt, but the evidence suggests that not even crooks and politicians have the ability to derail the factors that have allowed us to redefine such seemingly immutable conditions as poverty and abundance. Can you imagine that concerning only those below the highly mobile “poverty line,” close to 100% who wish it have access to food, shelter, clothing, and transportation; own TV sets, boom boxes, and cell phones; and are welcome to participate in the majority of the same pursuits as their more affluent brethren can?
A few more factoids for you to think about: In that 100 years, the cost of food has decreased by 10%, electricity 20%, communication 1,000%, and those are just from here in the US, because much of the world dared not dream of such things.
So what are the drivers of all these amazing accomplishments?
I’m going to suggest that it’s an offshoot of Moore’s Law, only instead of doubling the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit board every two years, we’re talking about the entire spectrum of technology experiencing exponential growth, while pundits continue to decry the sad state of humankind and our irredeemable destruction of the planet.
Yes, the moon is slowly slipping away from our grasp, the continents on which we’re perched refuse to stand still, mountain ranges grow and erode, and the weather pays no attention to anyone. Yes, there are real problems in which we are to one extent or another active players—climate, water, species extinction, desertification—but as each of these falls under the microscope of our concern, we really do have the tools to deal with them…if we only will.
Let me throw out just one more little tidbit for your consideration: In 2000, there were 600 thousand people connected on the Internet. Today the number has swollen to 2 billion, reaching into all levels and activities of every society on the planet. By 2020 that number is projected to reach 5 billion, but those numbers alone don’t begin to tell the story of the impact they and their offspring will have on us. The same Moore’s Law is at work on their innards, turning today’s relative toys into full-fledged work tools, affecting every aspect of our lives. At any instant they can be communications devices, health monitors, or remote environmental or activity sensors. How about 1 million cell phones in Los Angeles providing traffic data during rush hour to a fully connected traffic system that issues real-time information to motorists while regulating traffic flow through control of traffic lights and perhaps even lane direction assignment?
Any use you can imagine today is within reach today, and tomorrow the possibilities will be exponentially greater. Better still, the number of imaginers will be expanding apace.
Upcoming Forester University Webinars
April 18th, - May 25th, 2012
Sediment and Erosion Control
Master Class Series
Join industry expert and bestselling author Jerald S. Fifield, Ph.D., CISEC, CPESC and Tina R. Evans, PE, CISEC for a comprehensive 6-part online master class and workshop series (0.9 CEUs / 9 PDHs) exploring the ins and outs of effective sediment and erosion control plan design and review based on Fifield’s recently released 3rd edition of the bestselling manual Designing and Reviewing Effective Sediment and Erosion Control Plans (included in your Master Class Series package).
April – May 2012
Water Auditing Master Series
Learn the ins-and-outs of water auditing! Join 2010’s Speaker of the Year, Troy Aichele, LEED AP (O+M) of Aichele and Associates LLC for the Water Auditing Master Series, a 3-part webinar/webcast series focusing on getting you up-to-speed on the key attributes, uses, and opportunities in water auditing, as demonstrating step-by-step how to conduct a water audit, avoid the pitfalls, calculate payback periods, and incorporate these into your reports.
* Water Auditing 101: Introduction to Water Auditing
* How to Conduct a Water Audit and Avoid the Pitfalls
* How to Calculate Water Audit Payback Periods and Write Water Audit Reports
April 18th, 2012
Evaluating Erosion, Sediment & Sedimentation
Go beyond the basics! Join Jerald S. Fifield and Tina R. Evans for the first installment of our advanced Sediment and Erosion Control Master Class Series, Evaluating Erosion, Sediment, and Sedimentation, exploring the differences between erosion, sediment and sedimentation and developing an understanding of these variables allowing for the quantification of erosion and sediment yield on a construction site.
Designing Effective Sediment Containment Systems for Construction
Are your containment systems effective? Join Jerald S. Fifield and Tina R. Evans for the second installment of our advanced Sediment and Erosion Control Master Class Series and the first part of our Effective Sediment Containment Systems Series, Designing Effective Sediment Containment Systems for Construction Sites, exploring a scientific and engineering assessment of parameters necessary to capture design size particles while flood flows are discharging from a containment system.
April 26 th, 2012
BMP Nutrient Sources and Transformations -
How to Optimize Nutrient Removal in SCMs
Are your Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) effectively removing nitrogen and phosphorus from runoff? Join Bill Lucas to explore how to select and design SCMs to improve nitrogen and phosphorus retention. After an overview of nitrogen and phosphorous forms, sources, and transformations, Lucas will discuss how nitrogen and phosphorus transformations can be optimized in SCMs; how to select and design SCMs for settings; and how to tailor these programs to meet TMDL requirements more cost effectively.
May 2nd, 2012
Limitations of Commonly Found Construction Site Sediment Control
Are your temporary BMPs reliable? Join Jerald S. Fifield and Tina R. Evans for the third installment of our advanced Sediment and Erosion Control Master Class Series and the second part of our Effective Sediment Containment Systems Series, Limitations of Commonly Found Construction Site Sediment Control BMPs, exploring temporary BMPs, their limitations (e.g., barrier BMPs), and the principals and practice in assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of barrier BMPs.
May 3rd, 2012
How to Conduct a Water Audit and Avoid the Pitfalls
Avoid the water auditing pitfalls! Join Troy Aichele, LEED AP (O+M) of Aichele and Associates LLC for How to Conduct a Water Audit and Avoid the Pitfalls on Thurs., May 3rd to learn the step-by-step process of performing a water audit; the key information, tools, equipment, rebates, and typical pitfalls in performing successful audits; and learn how to use a custom plumbing fixture water audit spreadsheet. Learn how to successfully conduct your own water audit and avoid common water auditing pitfalls to ensure your audit goes smoothly.
May 31st, 2012
How to Calculate Water Audit Payback Periods and Write Water Audit Reports
Maximize your payback! Join Troy Aichele, LEED AP (O+M) of Aichele and Associates LLC for How to Calculate Water Audit Payback Periods and Write Audit Reports on Thurs., May 31st addressing the most essential skill in water auditing: how to calculate payback period and incorporate it effectively in your water audit report. Within this discussion, Aichele will explore how to calculate water audit improvement periods using a custom-built payback spreadsheet calculator; how to calculate use rates; how to incorporate savings, rebates and utility increases into your payback calculations; and how to write a water audit report letter incorporating water audit results and payback periods.