Fog harvesting is real — and it's bringing clean drinking water to communities in need.
True
P&G

High in the Anti-Atlas mountains of southwestern Morocco, there are several isolated villages where the Berber people have lived for centuries.

The Anti-Atlas mountains of southwestern Morocco. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

The Berber people, also called the Imazighen, have lived in scattered settlements across Morocco and its surrounding countries for thousands of years. As the descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, their history dates back to prehistoric times. They have preserved their own language and culture despite numerous attempts to colonize them throughout history. Today, about 14 million Berber people live in Morocco.


Over the past 30 years, life has become increasingly difficult for the Berbers living in the Anti-Atlas mountains because of desertification and abnormally intense droughts, including one in 1986 that dried out the region so much that it has never fully recovered.

A Berber woman pouring hot water into a tea pot. Image via iStock.

Before, while it had always been warm and dry there, they had sufficient rainwater and well water to survive and raise livestock. But these long dry spells forced women and children to spend an average of four hours a day on round trips to gather drinking water for their families and cattle. And during particularly dry summers, they had to hike even further.

When the water shortages got dire, water had be hauled in by tanker truck, which was time-consuming and expensive. They urgently needed a solution to their water problem, especially since climate change was likely to make the task of finding drinking water even harder.

Luckily, their unique climate offered them a potential solution.

Fog in the Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco. Image by Ayman Abdelilah/Wikimedia Commons.

There is a lot of fog in this area of southwestern Morocco because of some interesting meteorological phenomena.

There is a large, stationary high-pressure system (called the Azores anticyclone) that circulates air off the coast of Morocco over a cold-water current from the Canary Islands. This causes air to pick up moisture and form clouds — specifically statocumulus clouds, which are low-lying and full of water. Wind then pushes these clouds from the coast toward the Anti-Atlas mountains, but since these mountains are high and colder than the coast, they form a natural barrier — trapping the clouds and forming fog against the mountainsides.

Fog in the Anti-Atlas mountains. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

This means that while there is very little rain on these mountains, there is a lot of thick fog, which, thanks to some new green technology, can be harnessed and turned directly into drinking water.

Dar Si Hmad, a women-led NGO in Morocco, designed and installed a fog-water harvesting system — the largest in the world to date — on the summit of one of these foggy mountains, Mount Boutmezguida.

The fog-harvesting system being installed on Mount Boutmezguida. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

The way fog-harvesting works is actually fairly simple: On the summit of Boutmezguida, high above the villages, finely meshed panels — or nets — were installed.

The mesh in the fog-harvesting system. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

When wind pushes fog through the specialized mesh, water droplets are trapped. They then condense and fall into a container that collects the water below the nets. This water flows downhill in pipes to reservoirs, where it can be stored until it is needed.

The construction team setting up pipes to capture the fog water. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

From those reservoirs, the water is piped directly to the villages and individual households. So far, this project in Morocco has provided running water to 92 households, or nearly 400 people, most of them women and children.

The best part? Fog water is pure, free from any contaminants and pollutants, so it can be used for drinking water without any treatment.

This makes fog-catching an incredibly affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly way to harvest drinking water, and it can be used in other places where there are few or no viable means to access water.

Image via Dar Si Hmad.

Dar Si Hmad’s project was awarded a United Nations Climate Change prize in 2016, and there are already plans to extend the fog-catching system to other villages and parts of Morocco.

“Where there’s fog, we can harness it for the community, store it when it’s needed and use it later, instead of looking for very expensive and fossil-based solutions like desalinizing water, or digging more bore holes looking for even deeper aquifers,” Dr. Jamila Bargach, director of Dar Si Hmad, told CNN.

Aissa Derhem, the president of Dar Si Hamed. Image by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The technique could be used in other parts of the world, as well. In fact, FogQuest, a Canadian nonprofit, has already set up fog-harvesting systems in South and Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Where there is fog, this technology has the power to not only deliver clean water, but also to change people's lives — especially women and children — all over the world. And the technology will undoubtedly become more important in the future as droughts and climate change affect water supplies globally.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

A photo of Joe Biden hugging and kissing his only living son, Hunter, is circulating after Newsmax TV host John Cardillo shared it on Twitter with the caption, "Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?"

The question is clearly meant to be a dig at Biden, whose well-documented life in politics includes many examples of both his deep love for his family and his physical expressions of affection. While his opponents have cherry-picked photos to try to paint him as "creepy," those who know him well—and who are in some of those viral images—defend Biden's expressions of affection as those of a close friend and grandfatherly figure. (And in fact, at least one photo of Biden holding and kissing a child's face was of him and his grandson at his son Beau's funeral, taken as a still shot from this video.)

Everyone has their own level of comfort with physical space and everyone's line of what's appropriate when it comes to physical affection are different, but some accusations of inappropriateness are just...sad. And this photo with this caption is one of those cases.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less
via Spencer Cox / Twitter

In the middle of a heated election, liberal and conservative Americans are at odds over a lot of issues, but there's one thing they can agree on, they're sick of all the political acrimony.

A 2018 PBS poll found that nearly three-quarters of Americans — 74 percent — think the overall tone and level of civility in the nation's capital have gotten worse since Trump was elected.

Seventy-nine percent are "are concerned or very concerned that the negative tone of national politics will prompt violence."

Keep Reading Show less