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“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

Overcoming Drought, Feeding Millions, and Promoting Climate Health with New Desalination Tech

Roughly 40 percent of the world’s population—2.3 billion people—lives in water-stressed areas. According to the World Health Organization, another billion don’t have access to clean, piped water. To address the issues of water scarcity and food security, many areas of the world are now using solar powered desalination plants to produce fresh water and encourage agricultural self-sufficiency.

In dry places, the benefits of boundless sunshine are overwhelmed by the extreme heat and dryness, meaning farming becomes water intensive. Containing over 97.2 percent of the planet’s water resources, the ocean offers the potential for an abundant and steady source of fresh water purified from the vast oceans. As of 2015, roughly 18,000 desalination plants were in operation worldwide, 44 percent of them being located in the Middle East and North Africa. All told, they produce 22,870 million gallons of drinking water a day. The soon-to-be-completed Al Khafji desalination plant in Saudi Arabia will produce 60,000 cubic meters of water per day while drawing power from a grid-connected solar-power plant—not only does this system reduce the plant’s carbon footprint by up to 40 percent, it drastically reduces fuel costs.

Sundrop Farms in Australia now produces 15 per cent of the Australian tomato market – all of it grown using desalinated seawater. In Somalia, Seawater Greenhouse Company’s desalination plant produced its first harvest of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes in January—less than a year after its launch. Founder Charlie Paton is driven by the challenge of enabling agricultural self-sufficiency in places where it was once deemed impossible. And he wants to leave the task of scaling up in the hands of local pastoral farmers, who make up between 55 and 60 per cent of Somalia’s population. This year he plans to build an on-site training center to teach local farmers how to grow greenhouse vegetables.

Of course, cost and power consumption aren’t the only hurdles desalination must overcome. Marine life can be suffocated from high-salinity leftovers from the desalination process. One potential solution to the intake issue is to draw the water from underground.

Despite the challenges, desalination plants are part of the many solutions to a rapidly warming planet. “Have you heard of the Shirky Principle? It’s that institutions exist to preserve the problem to which they have a solution,” Paton says. “Sending food to starving countries is this knee-jerk reaction. How much have we sent to Somalia and Ethiopia, and what dent has it really made? If some of that humanitarian aid could instead be directed towards encouraging self-sufficiency, everyone would win.”

In terms of corporate media coverage, the New York Times has published several stories about desalination plants. However, those stories, published in 2015, do not reflect the significant environmental impacts of a newer generation of technology, or their current applications in communities around the world.

Sources:

Andrew Tarantola, “Seawater Desalination Will Quench the Thirst of a Parched Planet,” Engadget, October 27, 2017, www.engadget.com/2017/10/27/seawater-desalination-quench-parched-planet.

Emma Bryce, “The Decades-long Quest to End Drought (and Feed Millions) by Taking the Salt out of Seawater,” Wired Magazine, March 20, 2018, http://www.wired.co.uk/article/charlie-paton-seawater-greenhouse-desalination-abu-dhabi-oman-australia-somaliland.

Student Researcher: Katja Jeschke (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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