Global Insights: Mongolia

By Marcelo Kawanami

Recently I hadthe chance to watch a Khövsgöl Nuur v1documentary regarding Mongolia. This far land located between China and Russia, the country has a strong influence from both countries but had the ability to develop a unique and rich culture. One of the things that called my attention the most was Khövsgöl Nuur. Known as the Blue Pearl of the Mongolia, Khövsgöl Nuur is an extraordinary lake that stretches 136km deep into the Siberian taiga. The lake and mountains that surround it form the basis for this popular national park, a major destination for both Mongolian and international tourists.

In surface area, this is the second-largest lake (2760 sq km) in Mongolia, surpassed in size only by Uvs Nuur, a shallow, salty lake in the western part of the country. But Khövsgöl Nuur (sometimes transliterated as Hövsgöl or Hovsgol) is Mongolia’s deepest lake (up to 262m) as well as the world’s 14th-largest source of fresh water – it contains between 1% and 2% of the world’s fresh water (that’s 380,700 billion litres!).

Khövsgöl Nuur v2Khuvsgul is one of seventeen ancient lakes in the world being more than 2 million years old, and the most pristine. The Lake area is a National Park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and the Siberian Taiga. Despite Hovsgol’s protected status, illegal fishing is common and prohibitions against commercial fishing with gillnets are seldom enforced. The lake is traditionally considered sacred in a land suffering from arid conditions where most lakes are salty.

The Park is home to a variety of wildlife such as ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose, and sable.

Can oceans really solve our freshwater crisis?

By Marcelo Kawanami

This week CNN released an article and a video showcasing how oceans can solve our global freshwater problem. We have already discussed this topic here in the blog, when we talked about some of the ongoing projects taking place in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, it is crucial do also discuss the environmental impacts that these desalination projects have on the environment. According to the California Coastal Commission, a proposed seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach could significantly harm parts of the Southern California ocean environment unless substantial changes are made in its design and operation.

The commission staff estimates that the project would annually suck in more than 80 million fish larvae, eggs and invertebrates along 100 miles of the Southern California coast, including a number of Marine Protected Areas.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please click in the video below to watch it and read the article written by CNN.


Curious Facts!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Today I was researching some interesting topics for the blog and I crossed many interesting facts and figures that I thought very interesting to post here! Did you know that:

  • Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s lakes?
  • Lake Karachay, Russia, is considered the most polluted lake in the world? It was used as a radioactive dumping ground for years.
  • the Caspian has characteristics common to both seas and lakes? It is often listed as the world’s largest lake, although it is not a freshwater lake.
  • Lake Titicaca in Peru is the highest navigable lake in the world? It is about 12,500 ft (3,810 m) above sea level. This lake is also South America’s second largest freshwater lake.Lakes
  • the lowest lake is the Dead Sea (it’s considered a lake but called a sea), which is in the Jordan Valley of Israel? The surface of the water is 1,340 ft (408 m) below sea level. Almost nothing can survive in it besides simple organisms like green algae.
  • Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and it’s also the freshwater lake that covers the greatest surface area in the world?
  • Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake and is located in Siberia, Russia, north of the Mongolian border? It is 5,369 ft (1,637 m) deep – more than one mile straight down.

Global Insights: Middle East

By Marcelo Kawanami

Picture 1

The lack of fresh water is an increasing global concern for many cities and villages. Thisconcern is aggravated in deserted areas such as the Middle East. Nevertheless, they are studying sustainable and smart ways to overcome the dryness of the area and use the local resources to build a magnificent oasis in the middle of the desert.

To discuss this topic, I would like to share some insights and pictures brought by Raquel Laé, a close friend and world traveler. Raquel is a content editor and web writer who is always searching for new adventures across the world.

1) Tell me about your recent experience in the Middle East.

It was an incredible experience. I was very impressed with their urban development and how they manage their resources in order to maintain and improve the landscape of the city. Walking through cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, I realized how critical water is to these thriving countries. One of the local projects that deserves attention is the seawater desalination. With the UAE’s growing economy and rising population, it is crucial that they identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet their long-term water needs.

Picture 22) Could you share some insights regarding this project?

They are partnering with global research centers and universities in order to find renewable and energy-efficient solutions for their desalination process. Just for you to have an idea, the Gulf region represents 50% of the world’s desalinated water. They have already started to run some pilot plants with renewable sources with the aim of building a full-scale plant by 2020. It is undeniable though that they still have a lot of work to do once the desalination process requires huge amounts of energy and leaves behind hazardous waste.

3) What are the main challenges that they still need to overcome in order to achieve a sustainable development system?

From my point of view, the main challenge is to change the mindset of locals that are very accustomed with the abundance of this precious resource despite the lack of the same in the region. When you drive through Dubai, the lack of a water control is outright on the gigantic shopping malls that boast not only the requisite air conditioning, but also waterfalls, ice rinks, fountains, and event an indoor ski hill and an aquarium.

I would like to thank Raquel for providing these amazing pictures and this insightful interview. For more information on her world trips, check her blog: