What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Are oil and water inextricably linked?

Maude Barlow: They really are linked in a whole bunch of ways. We need a great deal of water to produce energy, hydroelectricity of course, and then through that the dams, the major dams that we use, of course, are one of the big issues we have around water.

We are destroying water to get at new sources of energy like in the Tar Sands in Northern Alberta [Canada]. Or coal methane gas mining, which uses a huge amount of water, but it also takes a lot of water to produce energy.

If you are turning to nuclear power because you want to save money on-board, cut down on fossil fuels [Inaudible] then you are destroying a lot of water to produce the energy through nuclear power.

Biofuels is a perfect example of the combination. Here we are trying to cut down on fossil fuel production, so we don’t need to use so much in our cars, right. So, we grow industrial biofuels that destroy huge amounts of water. And it is almost like the part of government that is giving subsidies for biofuels isn't talking to the part of the government that is putting out the stats on the declining water sources. [Inaudible] talk to each other man. You think you can somehow solve a problem by destroying something else?

And we are going to have to live differently a little bit.

I was at a conference yesterday [March 16, 2008] and heard a 91-year-old activist talking about that we are going to have to live more simply so that others can simply live, which I felt was a lovely term.

But this notion of continued growth, which one, environmentalist in the US has said has the same DNA as the cancer cell, that it has to turn on itself in order to survive, it is not sustainable.

We are going to have to import less and buy less and eat more sustainably, grow our food differently.

And we are going to have to ask the question, everything we do, everything we grow, everything we produce, everything, what is the impact on water? How much water was used for that? Can we afford that? Who should be paying for that if you are using more than your share? How do we do that?

So far, water has been a free for all. We have got tons of it. It comes out of the sky. What the heck? We got to stop that thinking and when we do, we will design our cities and our food production and our lives quite differently .

Recorded On: March 17, 2008

 

Are oil and water inextrica...

Newsletter: Share: