Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Episode 340 (11-2-16): Ancient Waters, Modern Water Issues, and U.S. National Elections


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:55)


Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-1-16.

TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week leading up to Election Day, November 8, 2016.

MUSIC – ~ 8 sec

This pre-election week, music by a Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based band sets an ancient stage for some observations on water’s potential place in voters’ decisions.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds.

MUSIC - ~34 sec

You’ve been listening to part of “Waters of Babylon,” performed by No Strings Attached, on the 1999 album, “In the Vinyl Tradition Volume II,” from Enessay Music.  The tune and its title trace back to Don McLean and Lee Hays on the 1971 album, “American Pie”; then to an 18th-century song by Philip Hayes; and finally to the Bible’s Psalm 137.  That psalm was a lament by Jews exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem about 2600 years ago.   At the time, Babylon was the principal city of Mesopotamia, a region centered in the area of modern-day Iraq in the fertile floodplain between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

Throughout human history, water has been at the center of civilizations and human interactions. In the 21st Century, water remains a focal point in international affairs.  According to the United Nations’ Global Water Forum, “Water security has become a central feature of the global policy agenda” and “a source of conflict not only within countries but across international boundaries.”  As a recent example, some observers believe drought in Syria—part of which is in the Euphrates River basin—was one factor increasing unrest that eventually became the country’s current civil war.  Oregon State University’s Water Conflict Management program notes that the world has 286 river basins crossing international borders, as well as shared groundwater aquifers, generating a range of transboundary water issues.  And the United States has big impacts on several global issues related to water—climate, energy, food, public health, and biodiversity.

Add that all together, and water’s clearly on the agenda in U.S. leadership choices.  In fact, when Scientific American asked 20 science questions of the four U.S. presidential candidates on the ballot nationwide in 2016, at least eight of the questions were about water explicitly or about issues directly tied to water, nationally or globally.

U.S. elections at all levels have implications for water policy and management, from federal water-quality laws to local drought-management ordinances. But in national elections, U.S. citizens’ choices can also have implications for waters far beyond our shores. That makes water one more reason to use your citizen voice and vote, however and for whomever you choose.

Thanks to No Strings Attached for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “Waters of Babylon.”

MUSIC - ~15 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463. Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show. In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“In the Vinyl Tradition Volume II,” containing “Waters of Babylon,” is copyright 1999 by No Strings Attached and Enessay Music, used with permission.  More information about No Strings Attached is available from their Web site, http://enessay.com/.  The No Strings Attached piece was based on "Babylon" by Don McLean and Lee Hays on the 1971 album, "American Pie," from United Artists Records.  According to various sources, that recording was in turn based on a song (or canon) written by Philip Hayes in 1786 that put to music Psalm 137 of the Bible's Old Testament.

PHOTO
Ruins of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate, photographed in Iraq in 1932.  Public domain photo from the Library of Congress’ Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection, accessed online at https://www.loc.gov/collections/g-eric-and-edith-matson-photographs/.   For information on the Ishtar Gate, please see Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Ishtar Gate,” online at http://www.ancient.eu/Ishtar_Gate/.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT TOPICS IN THIS EPISODE

The word “mesopotamia” is from Greek meaning “between rivers.” Source: Encyclopedia Britannica, “History of Mesopotamia, online at https://www.britannica.com/place/Mesopotamia-historical-region-Asia.

The four U.S. presidential candidates participating in Scientific American's survey of 20 science questions (published in September 2016; see citation of Christine Gorman below in Sources) were Hillary Clinton, Democratic Party nominee; Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party nominee; Jill Stein, Green Party nominee; and Donald Trump, Republican Party nominee.

If you’d like to investigate areas and issues of water in international relations, have a look at the list of projects (as of October 2016) at the “Research and Projects” Web page of the Oregon State University Institute for Water and Watersheds/Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, online at http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/research/index.html. The project titles are listed and hyperlinked below:

*Transboundary Cooperation in the International Columbia River Basin;
*Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme--River Basins Component;
*Mechanisms of Cooperation for States' Construction of Large-Scale Water Infrastructure Projects in Transboundary River Basins;
*U.S. Western Water Institutional Solutions Project;
*Human Security Dimensions of Dam Development in the Nile and Mekong River Basins;
*Integrative Dam Assessment Modeling (IDAM);
*Case Studies--Water Conflict Resolution;
*Basins at Risk;
*Indigenous Water Conflict Resolution Methods;
*Hydropolitical Vulnerability and Resilience along International Waters;
*Regional Water Governance Benchmarking Project (ReWaB);
*Mapping the Resilience of International River Basins to Future Climate Change-Induced Water Variability.

SOURCES USED IN AUDIO AND FOR MORE INFORMATION

Sources for Babylon and “Waters of Babylon”

Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Babylon,” online at http://www.ancient.eu/babylon/; “Mesopotamia,” online at http://www.ancient.eu/Mesopotamia/; and “Nebuchadnezzar II,” online at http://www.ancient.eu/Nebuchadnezzar_II/.

Bible History Online, “The Babylonian Captivity with Map,” online at http://www.bible-history.com/map_babylonian_captivity/map_of_the_deportation_of_judah_treatment_of_the_jews_in_babylon.html.

The Bird Sings Web site, “Waters of Babylon,” online at http://thebirdsings.com/babylon/.

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Babylon,” online at https://www.britannica.com/place/Babylon-ancient-city-Mesopotamia-Asia.; and “History of Mesopotamia,: online at https://www.britannica.com/place/Mesopotamia-historical-region-Asia.

Free Republic Web site, “By the Waters of Babylon,” online at http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3381872/posts.

Joan Oates, Babylon, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1979.

Don McLean Online, “American Pie,” online at http://www.don-mclean.com/?p=261.

MetroLyrics, “Don McLean Lyrics/Babylon Lyrics,” online at http://www.metrolyrics.com/babylon-lyrics-don-mclean.html#/ixzz4ODeE26Ea.

Stratfor, “Mesopotamian Vitality Falls to Turkey,” 1/5/15, online at https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/mesopotamian-vitality-falls-turkey.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Psalm 137,” online at http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/137.

Sources for Water in International Relations

Henry Fountain, Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change, New York Times, 3/2/15.

Christine Gorman, “What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science?” Scientific American, 9/13/16, online at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-do-the-presidential-candidates-know-about-science/.

Oregon State University Institute for Water and Watersheds/Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, “Research and Projects,” online at http://www.transboundarywaters.orst.edu/research/index.html,

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Global Water Forum, “International Water Politics,” online at http://www.globalwaterforum.org/resources/education/international-water-politics/.

Terje Tvedt, Graham Chapman, and Roar Hagen, eds., A History of Water Series II/Volume 3: Water, Geopolitics and the New World Order, I.B. Tauris, London/New York, 2010.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the “History” or “Overall Importance of Water” categories.

Another episode on a worldwide water topic is World Water Needs, Episode 122, 8-6-12.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) INFORMATION FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

The episode may also help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

This episode may also help with the following Virginia’s 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS. 10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.6 - past and present trends in human migration and cultural interaction as influenced by social, economic, political, and environmental factors.
WG.7 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.10 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.13 – U.S. foreign policy since World War II, including the role of the military.

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT. 12 – role of the United States in a changing world, including responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and national security.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs, which become effective in the 2017-18 school year:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.
WG.4 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.15 - migration and cultural diffusion, including effects of environmental factors.
WG.18 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.13 – U.S. foreign policy since World War II, including the role of the military.

Government Course
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT. 12 – role of the United States in a changing world, including responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and national security.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.