Week in Review – Daylight Savings Time and Icebergs as Drinking Water

Daylight Savings Time a Thing of the Past?

At the moment, a Europe-wide public consultation decides if daylight savings time is still needed. The consultation closes on August 16. The citizens of Finland filed a petition to abolish the changing of the clocks every year – the sun doesn’t rise or set for most of the year and people have enough of the inconvenient habit.

Daylight savings time was implemented in Germany in 1916 and gained importance during the energy crisis in the 1970s. It was supposed to save money. Around 70 nations worldwide change their clocks every year, among them most of Europe and North America. But since then habits have changed and many critics say that the benefits of changing the clocks are nonexistent today.

According to EU laws every member country has to follow the same changeover dates as it is important for travel and trade. Therefore, Finland wants the whole EU to abolish daylight savings time. Other countries in Europe, like Lithuania, Sweden and Poland, are on board with the citizens of Finland. And so are a few states in America, like Florida.

The importance of daylight saving time is currently being assessed. Lawmakers in Finland claim that daylight savings time makes people sick – it causes short-term sleeping disorders and impairs the performance at work as people struggle to adapt to the time change. Supporters, on the other hand, say that daylight savings time improves safety.

consultation (ˌkɒnsəlˈteɪʃən) – hier: die Rücksprache, das Gespräch
to decide (dɪˈsaɪd) – etw entscheiden
daylight savings time (deɪlaɪt ˈseɪvɪŋz taɪm) – die Sommerzeit
citizen (ˈsɪtɪzən) – der/die Bürger/in
to abolish (əˈbɒlɪʃ) – etw abschaffen, aufheben
inconvenient (ˌɪnkənˈvi:niənt) – lasting, unbequem, ungelegen
habit (ˈhæbɪt) – die Gewohnheit
to implement (ˈɪmplɪmənt) – etw einführen
to gain (geɪn) –  an etw gewinnen, erlangen
changeover (tʃeɪnʤ ˈəʊvəʳ) – die Umstellzeit, Umstellung
trade (treɪd) – Handel
to be on board (ɒn bɔ:d) – zustimmen, an Bord sein (colloq.)
a few (fju:) – einige
currently (ˈkʌrəntli) – zurzeit, gegenwärtig
to assess (əˈses) – etw einschätzen, bewerten
short-term (ʃɔ:t- tɜ:m) – kurzfristig
sleeping disorder (ˈsli:pɪŋ dɪˈsɔ:dəʳ) – die Schlafstörung
to impair (ɪmˈpeəʳ) – etw behindern, stören, beeinträchtigen
to struggle (ˈstrʌgl̩) – sich abmühen, herumschlagen

Icebergs Being Towed for their Drinking Water

As the heat wave continues some of the world´s biggest cities are short on drinking water. An engineering company in the Middle East might have found a solution to the problem. They want to tow icebergs from the Antarctica to water-starved regions like India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The idea already exists since the 1970s. Experts predict that 50% of the world will face water shortages by the year 2050.

The company will start a pilot study in November later this year and look for a suitable iceberg in the Southern Ocean. They want to lasso the iceberg with nets and chains and tow it to either Australia or South Africa, depending on which region is closer to the iceberg. The mission could start as soon as next year in April. The cost for it are estimated at around 51 million € and will be paid by private investors. Other countries could join the effort soon – France, Norway and South Africa are looking to raise funds.

It is not exactly clear yet how the iceberg will be turned into drinking water but the general plan is to crush it bit by bit. The blocks will then be hauled onto ships and sold to the government. Afterwards the ice blocks will be brought to shore where they can be purified. Then the next iceberg will be towed. Since the iceberg already broke loose from the Antarctic sheet it has o negative effect on the environment to tow it away.

It will be a major challenge to tow the iceberg as it might just break. If that can be avoided, at least 30% of the iceberg will melt away during the journey. But even after that, experts estimate that one iceberg can provide between 100 and 200 million cubic meters of fresh drinking water – enough water for 1 million people for five years.

to continue (kənˈtɪnju) – andauern, anhalten, etw fortführen
solution (səˈlu:ʃən) – die Lösung
to tow (təʊ) – jdn/etw ziehen, abschleppen
to starve (stɑ:v) – nach etw hunger, sich nach etw sehnen
suitable (ˈsu:təbl̩) – geeignet, passend
chain (tʃeɪn) – die Kette, Fessel
depending (dɪˈpendɪŋ) – abhängig von, es kommt drauf an
to join (ʤɔɪn) – etw verbinden, sich anschließen
to crush (krʌʃ) – etw zerquetschen, etw zerstoßen
to haul (hɔ:l) – etw ziehen, etw wuchten
to break loose (breɪk lu:s) – sich losreißen, ausbrechen
environment (ɪnˈvaɪ(ə)rənmənt) – die Umwelt
challenge (ˈtʃælɪnʤ) – die Herausforderung, schwierige Aufgabe
to melt (melt) – schmelzen