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我们从哪里获取淡水 – 译学馆
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我们从哪里获取淡水

Where we get our fresh water - Christiana Z. Peppard

出生时 我们体内大约有75%是水
At birth, our bodies are roughly 75% water.
此后我们体内保留着大部分水
We remain mostly water for the rest of our lives.
一周内没有淡水我们甚至无法生存
We cannot survive even a week without fresh water.
没有水就不会有生命
There’s no life without it
对于生态系统
for ecosystems,
社会
societies,
和个体 都同样需要水
and individuals.
那么 在地球上有多少可用水呢
So, how much usable water is there on Earth?
地球上大多数的水来自海洋
Most of the water on Earth is ocean,
准确的说 海水含盐量为97.5%
a salty 97.5%, to be precise,
而含盐量2.5%的才是淡水
and the remaining 2.5% is fresh water.
小小的一滴水维持着人类在地球的生活
That little sliver of liquid sustains human life on Earth,
水资源无疑是文明的基石
it literally holds up civilizations.
2.5%的确是一个小比例
2.5% is a small proportion to be sure,
它甚至还要分为几个更小的部分
and even that is broken down into smaller parts:
地表水
surface water,
冰冠中的水和极地地区的水
water in ice caps and polar regions,
地下水
and ground water.
先说地表水
First, surface water.
地面上所有的水都是地表水
All the liquid water above ground is surface water
在水的总数中占很小一部分
and it is a tiny blip of an amount.
0.3%的淡水是地表水
0.3% of all fresh water is surface water.
这似乎有些出人意料
It may seem counterintuitive,
但这已是把整个星球的各种溪流都算进去了
but it accounts for little streams all over the planet.
所有的河 包括尼罗河 约旦河 密西西比河
All rivers, including the Nile, the Jordan, and the Mississippi,
还有所有大大小小的湖
and lakes, large to small,
比如维多利亚湖 五大湖 贝加尔湖
like Victoria, the Great Lakes, and Baikal.
然后是冰冠和极地地区
Second, ice caps and polar regions
地球上70%的淡水都冻成了冰
freeze up to 70% of the planet’s fresh water.
这些水是十分重要的
This water is significant,
但它不能供人类正常使用
but it isn’t available for human use in a regular way.
最后 地球上大约30%的水是地下水
Finally, nearly 30% of all water on Earth is ground water.
顾名思义 就是在地下的水
As the name suggests, that’s water in the ground.
它可以在巨坑深处
It can rest still and deep in huge caverns,
它可以依偎在岩石和鹅卵石之间的小缝隙
or it can snuggle in the little crevices of rock and pebble.
这就是地下水 感谢上帝
The upshot – thank goodness for ground water!
虽然我们看不见它
It’s invisible to us,
但它比地表水丰富得多
but it is much more plentiful than surface water.
也更可靠
It is much more reliable
比从冰中获得水更容易
and easier to obtain than frozen water.
没有地下水 我们将会被渴死
Without ground water, our societies would be parched.
那么 我们是如何使用这些水的呢
So, how are we using that water?
随着工业化的兴起和人口的递增
As a result of industrialization and population growth,
上个世纪 人们对淡水的需求开始突飞猛涨
demand for fresh water skyrocketed in the last century.
水都去哪儿了
Where is all that water going?
首先 我们得清楚
First, we have to remember
淡水是个全球问题
that fresh water is a global concern,
但更多时候是局部问题
but it is always local.
环境问题
Context matters.
撒哈拉沙漠不是西雅图
The Sahara is not Seattle.
尽管如此 一些基本信息可以帮助我们
Still, some general information can help us
掌握主要趋势
get a handle on major trends.
谁用的淡水最多
Who consumes the most fresh water?
什么行业用淡水最多
And, what sectors consume the most fresh water?
首先 谁
First, who.
嗯 美国用水是最多的
Well, the United States consumes the most water
在整个世界上首当其冲
per capita of any country in the entire world,
紧接着是欧洲的部分地区
followed by parts of Europe
和一些大型工业化国家 如中国
and large industrializing nations like China.
但 这没有解释水用到哪儿去了
But, this doesn’t tell us what water is being used for.
所以我们从另一个角度的看看
So let’s look at it another way.
如果我们问 要用水的都有哪些行业
If we ask what kinds of uses water is going towards,
我们会得到不一样的结论
we see a different picture.
农业用淡水大约占全球总用淡水量的70%
Agriculture accounts for roughly 70% of global fresh water consumption.
还有 记住这个数字在各个地域是不同的
Again, remember the numbers vary by region,
但 这仍是一个惊人的数据
but still, it’s a staggering amount.
这当然是有意义的
And, this makes a certain kind of sense:
我们需要粮食
we need to eat,
需要水来使粮食生长
we need water to grow food;
人口越多
the bigger the population,
我们需要的粮食越多
the more food we need;
粮食越多
and, the wealthier we get,
就能吃得越多
the more meat we eat,
这样就需要更多的水来灌溉粮食
and the more water is required to produce our food.
此外 世上22%的淡水
Furthermore, 22% of all fresh water worldwide
用于工业需要
goes to industrial uses.
包括发电
This includes the production of electricity,
化石燃料的开采
the extraction of fossil fuels,
制造各种各样的商品
and the manufacturing of all manner of goods,
从芯片
from microchips,
到纸张
to paper,
再到飞艇
to blimps.
70%用于农业
70% to agriculture,
22%用于工业
22% to industrial uses,
还剩下的呢
what’s left?
8%
8%
属于家庭用水
All those domestic uses –
烹饪
cooking,
清洁
cleaning,
洗澡
bathing,

drinking
对于总体用水量而言 这些只是沧海一栗罢了
– it’s a drop in the bucket of overall water use.

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