The NATURE IN WATER SECURITY animation
The Nature in Water Security animation is the centerpiece of my Master of Environmental Studies thesis at The University of Pennsylvania. There is a growing effort to inform the general public as well as business and political leaders about the changing water situation around the world. The Nature in Water Security animation discusses a lesser-known yet fundamental aspect of our water resources.
When we look at what underlies our water supplies, we find that Natural Capital, through the ecosystem services it produces, plays a fundamental role in the provision of freshwater. Natural capital is the stock of ecosystems which yield a flow of goods and services. Trees and fish are two examples of goods and services we receive from ecosystems. If these stocks are properly maintained, they will continue to provide more of themselves. Ecosystems also filter, move and store freshwater. These services improve water quality and regulate quantity which are critical to human well-being and economic activities. It is healthy ecosystems that are the foundation of sustainably water resources. Ecosystems are water users that require their share of flows to remain healthy. These environmental flows also serve as a crucial medium to spread and support other ecosystem services with significant value to human well-being.
Our planet is intimately linked and interdependent. Living within its bounds, we must recognize that these connections and inter dependencies extend into all human activities. As water underlies and tightly links our social, economic and natural systems, it may be the most visible and widespread example of our dependence on the natural environment. In the long run, and increasingly in the short run, our cities, food and energy production depend on sustainable water resources. These resources in turn depend on healthy ecosystems. With demand for food and energy on a steep rise over the coming decades, it may be an understatement to say that business and political leaders should have a strong interest in environmental conservation for this reason.
The animation video aims to inform people about one and arguably the most important relationship we have with our natural environment. The video will be released during the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm.
~ Jeffrey Cowan M.
Master of Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania.
Thesis advisor: Carol R. Collier. Executive Director, Delaware River Basin Commission
The animation work was created by Quangstorm and his team at CGVietnam Studios located in Hanoi, Vietnam. Animation sequences were narrated by Catherine Kidd and recorded at ParaMedia Studios in Montreal, Canada.
REFERENCES & CREDITS
2030 Water Resources Group. Charting our water future. Economic frameworks to inform decison-making. McKinsey & Company, 2009.
Costanza, Robert, et al. “The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital.” Nature (1997): 253-260.
Durack, Paul J., Susan E. Wijfells and Richard J. Matear. “Ocean salinities reveal strong global water cycle intensification during 1950 to 2000.” Science 336 (2012): 455-458.
Greenwalt, Travis and Deborah McGrath. “Protecting the city’s water: Designing a payment for ecosystem services program.” Natural Resources & Environment 24.1 (2009): 9-13.
Miller, Scott N., et al. “Integrating landscape assessment and hydrologic modeling for land cover change analysis.” Journal of the American Water resources Association (2002): 915-929.
Riva-Murray, Karen, et al. “Landscape characteristics affecting streams in urbanizing regions of the Delaware River Basin (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, U.S.).” Landscape Ecology (2010): 1489-1503.
The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project. The Economic Invisibility of Nature. 2011. Information is Beautiful. 1 June 2012 http://www.accountingforsustainability.org/embedding-sustainability/the-economic-invisibility-of-nature-information-is-beautiful-images.
United Nations Environment Programme. Water security and ecosystem services: The critical connection. Nairobi: UNEP, 2009.
UNWater. Water Resources. 1 June 2012 http://www.unwater.org/statistics_res.html.
World Economic Forum Water Initiative. Water security: the water-food-energy-climate nexus. Ed. Dominic Waughray. Washington: Island Press, 2011.