Seattle Could Learn a Thing or Two from India

I was shocked to learn about the intricate systems of rainwater harvesting in India.  Not only that, but how long they have been place, some of the for hundreds of years.  Anupam Mishra mentions in his TED talk titled The Ancient Ingenuity of Water Harvesting that the reasons these systems have been in place for so long, in a place that sometimes see only 16 cm of rain water per year, is because of RESPECT.  Respect from generation to generation to maintain the structures and not to upset the water collection areas, which we saw are just marked by statues.

Here in Seattle we frequently think of ourselves a green community, a place where recycling is common, and treating the environment positively is encouraged.  I live and used to work in a building that considers itself and is certified Built Green which doesn’t sound as important after taking this class.  It seems more like a corporate certification invented to sell apartments to individuals as consumers of sustainability.  There are newer buildings in Seattle that have gone a step farther and make use of rainwater catchment systems, similar to the ones we see in Mishra’s TED talk.  After watching his talk and learning more about water harvesting I think Seattle can learn a lot from the people of the Golden Desert.  The rain fall in Seattle on average is about 4 times that of The Golden Desert and they use that water for more than just irrigation.  Imagine what we could do with our rain if we invested in it.  Imagine what we could do if every place that saw the greatest rainfall worked together to take advantage of the rain that we take for granted and wish away?  Could we help our close neighbors in California or places like Puerto Rico after the devastation of natural disasters?  I leave you with an article from the economist which discusses some of these ideas.

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