Did you know why it is so difficult and costly to make drinking water from sea water, and why trees are actually massive sun powered water pumps? The answers to these questions, plus more, you can find in our second part of “Did you know?”
6. Did you know, that only 3% of the water consumed in an average Dutch household, is used for drinking or cooking purposes? The other 97% of the drinking water is used for showers, toilets, laundry, etc. In our post “Can we apply Europe’s water infrastructure in Asia? (1/2)” we talk about what happens with all that perfect drinking water, that is flushed down the toilet.
7. Did you know, that kidneys are in fact very efficient ultrafiltation membranes? With a pore size of 9 nanometers, kidneys filter your blood and ensure removal of water and products of metabolism. The pores are there to retain blood cells and proteins which are essential for your body function and health. Some important chemicals which pass through, are reabsorbed into the bloodstream, so they are not wasted in the urine.
8. Did you know, why it is so difficult and costly to make drinking water from sea water? Water (H2O) is a V-shaped molecule consisting of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Due to its shape and chemistry, water molecules behave like magnets. When charged ions of sea salt (sodium and chloride) dissolve in water, the molecules rush to embrace them – give them a hug. Water holds on very tightly to fellow ions which makes it very hard to separate them again. When producing drinking water from sea water (desalination by reverse osmosis) you need special types of membranes, and a lot of energy to remove salt from surrounding water. A lot of energy means lots of emissions and money. That’s why we should try to purify and reuse fresh water resources, before turning to sea water desalination.
9. Did you know, that trees are massive sun powered water pumps? To grow and photosynthesise, trees need water, which gets transported from the roots to the leaves. As water evaporates from the leaves, a negative pressure is created which pulls water through the trunk upwards through tiny hollow tubes called xylem. In the leaves, light splits water molecules to make the oxygen you breathe, and to react with carbon dioxide and make sugars. By pumping water, trees also cool the air and stabilise the soil.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the 21th of March as the International Day of Forests (IDF). This day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The theme of 2017 is “Forests & Energy”, while last year this day was focused on “Forests & Water”. Here you can read more about IDF
10. Did you know, that last year over 12.700 landmarks participated in Earth Hour? The Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate, and the Petronas Towers all switched off their lights for climate change action.
To find out what you can do, check out earthhour.org