Sunday, October 14, 2007

Water: The Next Natural Resource to Peak

Today is Blog Action Day and this blog entry is the fulfillment of my promise to participate in the initiative to bring awareness to our environment's sad state due to our mismanagement or over indulgement. As of right now, there are over 14,000 blogs participating in the initiative with a combined readership of over 12,000,000. What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day?

One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

"Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi -

Rachel Carson, who through her activism was instrumental in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, once wrote, "In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water has become the victim of his indifference."

As civilization continues to increase developments in a uncivilized manner, we see flood plains and wetlands destroyed, industrial growth that continues to pollute our waterways, and water consumption rates that overtax mother nature's regeneration abilities. Now on top of this progress, we have privatization from corporate interests that are turning our public water resources into their economic gain. We can't keep ignoring what is taking place, and we must understand that we are drawing near the point where we will require more than our world has to offer!

Our global demand for fresh water is now doubling every 20 years! This is more than twice the rate of our global population growth. This can be broke down by sectors and varies greatly between regions across the globe. But globally, the numbers are 69% for agriculture, 23% for industry, and 8% for our domestic purposes.

Agriculture uses the largest portion of our fresh water. So let's summarize the impact this sector has on our global water demand:

For rice alone, it takes 1,000 tons of water to produce 1 ton of rice. The impact of agriculture on the demands for water can't be ignored, especially on the global scale. According to Bridget Scanlon, senior researcher and hydrolgeologist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, irrigated agriculture has increased by 480% over the last 100 years, and is expected to increase by another 20% by 2030 in developing countries. Scanlon and her colleagues also state that irrigation across the globe has accounted for almost 90% of our freshwater consumption on a global basis! And there is worry over the increased interest in ethanol because it takes 4 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of ethanol. And much of the water used in the industrialized world is subsidized which means there is little incentive for agribusiness to introduce any sort of conservation measures. An assessment of the benefits, costs, and impacts that agriculture has had on our water, can be found at the CGIAR website. And just for a reference point, take a look at one of our world's largest aquifers located here in the United States...The Ogallala Aquifer whose supply of groundwater is being used four times faster than it is naturally replaced!

Privitization of our fresh water resources is having a huge impact on our future. Here's a glance at who and how this will impact our future:

Vivendi, now known as Veolia claims to be the world's largest water controller in the world. This is how their corporate/lobbyist powers that be sum it up..."Water is a critical and necessary ingredient to the daily life of every human being, and it is an equally powerful ingredient for profitable manufacturing companies."

As private companies increasingly control water resources, the people's needs for survival no longer rank up at the top of the's the bottom line which holds the number one position on the list. Our poorest countries around the world are constantly being forced by multinationals to turn over their water systems in exchange for debt relief. As corporations control water, the rates go up while the services go down! And as the people who can't afford their prices are forced to drink unsafe water, they risk their very lives.

In the book, Blue Gold, the authors provide a look at the growing Global Water Lords and the possibility of a Water Cartel where fresh water will play a huge role in global trade in the near future!

As we continue to use more than can be reintroduced, the more we will see privatization allowing corporations to gather up control of fresh water supplies throughout the world. And the United States isn't immune to this type of water privatization. And the more this happens, the more people are going to suffer from lack of fresh water resources!

The world faces a massive crisis. About one fifth of our fellow human beings on Earth do not have daily, immediate access to the most basic of necessities: safe drinking water. That's 1 out of 5 people, or 1 billion people, who do not have adequate water to drink. As a result, there are almost 6,000 deaths each and every day due to lack of safe drinking water. It has been estimated that half of the world's hospitals are full of people who suffer from water born disease.

But there are efforts being made to raise awareness of our looming crisis and to solve the problem of providing safe drinking water to the people who currently do not have access to enough fresh water. Projects such as the Blue Planet Run Foundation:
Blue Planet Run Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to raising global awareness about the lack of safe drinking water, and funding working solutions today for the billion people living without ready access to this life sustaining resource.

BPR Foundation initiated a drive and an awareness campaign, "Thirty Dollars". Thirty dollars is all it takes to furnish a lifetime of safe water for one person. Below is the three part video produced by Blue Planet Run entitled appropriately, "Thirty Dollars"

And we can't let ourselves off the hook either. There are many ways we as caring human beings can reduce our usage of our precious water resources. We need to remind ourselves and others to begin thinking outside the bottle and support the people over the corporations! We must fight to protect our water because nobody will do it for us! It's as simple as that! It's our chore in life to protect our lives and the lives of those who will be coming after us! It is our responsibility to be caretakers of our earth rather than thoughtless consumers of it!
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