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Ali Pournaghsband Isfahan / Pureosity member

 

We cannot leave our children to inherit a ruined world.

 

Despite growing call for actions to tackle climate change on the global scale, the international community is hesitant to make awkward decisions. This tells us that the complexity of the challenge that world is facing with the difficulty of changing long-established patterns of behavior that people know to be in their short-term interest but which can leave a damaging legacy for their future generations.

Pureosity’s focus is to develop clean technology and harness it with the help an international community towards the challenge of sustaining our environment.

To do this we should identify ourselves, not as scientists, but as a world’s citizen. We can’t simply improve technology, we have to help the way our science benefits humanity.

We hope to communicate with more people, from inside and outside of academia, because removing the human component from a problem caused by humans does not make sense. A more comprehensive and multi-faceted will have the highest possible chance of success. By sharing our challenges, we can all achieve our common goal.

 

This time, we decided to feature our member

Dr Ali Pournaghshband Isfahani.

 

People at Pureosity come from all parts of the world.  We often ask them to join in Global Voices to get that special perspective. We asked Dr. Ali from Iran to choose a technology that really excited him to work on for the future and why.

Dr. Ali is a specialist in the field of membrane science and also, a person who has witnessed the footage of climate change in his home country, Iran. He explained that drought and desertification are a major effect of global warming and it is expected that seawater desalination technology can help solve the problem of water scarcity, particularly in the arid region of the world such as the Middle East, Africa and some part of Asia.

 

 

 

Please tell us about your hometown and what you see there as a sign of the climate change?

I was born and grown up in Isfahan, Iran. Isfahan is the former capital of ancient Persia.  In its heyday, which due to its beauty,  Isfahan was praised by the nickname, Half of the World. Even today, the city has kept reminders of its former glory .  It is famous for its historical Persian–Islamic architecture, palaces, mosques, minarets and covered bridge. Isfahan’s Naghsh-e Jahan Square is one of the largest city squares in the world and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Zayandeh-Rud was the largest river of the Iranian plateau to flow through Isfahan and a river that gave life to millions of people. Now, climate change and the resources mismanagement have led to a critical water shortage in my hometown. The river no longer flows through the city.  The problem is not simple as it is linked to so many factors such as rapid industrial development, population growth, the lack of rainfall due to the climate change, and so on.

Perhaps you could talk about what solutions are being put in place now?  And how those solutions might improve in the future?

The signs of drought in Isfahan have lasted for more than two decades.  I believe that the water problem is a man-made condition. In ancient Iran, people had managed water resources by the construction of dams and invented the ancient system of qanats. However, population growth and the rainfall decline due to climate change has put the system under pressure.

A major loss of water is through the agriculture sector. Farmers could be encouraged to improve irrigation facilities and to replace water-intensive crops such as rice and melons. Also, it is essential to have a wise management of water resources between cities, industries and agriculture. Actually Iran has access to three major seas such as the Caspian sea.  Desalination, is a technology to produce drinking water from the sea.  However the technology requires a lot of energy, and if that is generated by fossil fuels, ultimately desalination is making climate change worse than before. Scientists like me, who work in membrane based desalination can find less energy-hungry technology to produce drinking water from seawater.   

 

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