Thursday, March 22, 2007

Today Is World Water Day

World Water Day

Since being designated as such by the UN in 1993, every March 22nd is World Water Day. This year's theme is water scarcity as we now see over a billion people in this world without potable water to sustain their needs with predictions of over 2.8 billion being without water within the next twenty years. With an ever thirsty world putting pressure on this precious resource through population growth, mismanagement, waste (primarily through agriculture) and most alarmingly, climate change which is ravaging Australia, Asia, and Africa with droughts, fires, and erratic weather patterns that harm the economy and the environment and cause deaths among humans and other species, this is not a crisis we can turn away from any longer.

For me this is the most important environmental issue we now face for our future sustainability, as we all know we cannot survive without water and with it dwindling more each year we not only open ourselves up to shortages and scarcity, but famine and war. Water sustainability is not only an environmental issue, it is also an economic and social issue but more importantly it is a moral and human rights issue.

NO ONE on this planet should have to go without the water they need to feed and sustain their needs and the sad thing about all of this is, is that we have enough water to sustain all life but it is being wasted by greed, gluttony, mismanagement, corruption and pollution by our own hand besides the climate change humans are contributing to that has led us to more severe and persistent droughts in Asia, Africa, and Australia that have seen farmers committing suicide because they have lost everything because of it.

That is why I was also very grateful to Al Gore for mentioning this in his tesitmony in the Senate yesterday. He talked about the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers in China that no longer reach the sea. The Yangtze is now evaporating to the point that in some areas you can actually walk on the river bed and step in puddles where there used to be a river. Lake Chad, Lake Victoria, the Danube, and even right in this country with rivers such as the Columbia, the Moreau, and the Great Lakes have also all been victims to diversion, dams, population, and climate change.

The question now is, does the world care enough to truly face this and work for solutions?

The link above will lead to information about World Water Day and events you can join. However, If you can't join an event you can still show your concern and caring in addressing and solving this crisis through a gift to many organizations that support water sustainability. The best organization I know of and am a sustaining donor of is Water Partners International Their missions bring pumps and water to those in lands that would never have it otherwise. They bring life.

And that is really what this day is about. Warning people of the dangerous road we travel on by continuing to dismiss the importance of water in our lives and how we use it especially in light of the spectre of global warming, but also celebrating the life we can create through working to see that day come when every person in this world regardless of race, creed, class, or location can share equally in this gift of life that is THEIR RIGHT to have.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Water Day: Key Development Goals Stagnating

WATER DAY:Key Development Goals Stagnating

Mithre J. Sandrasagra
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 19 (IPS) - Halfway to 2015, the year when the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are supposed to be reached, the crisis in water and sanitation as well as in water resources management remains among the great human development and environmental challenges.

In the run-up to World Water Day on Thursday, the United Nations is stressing the importance of good governance and proper management of water resources at both the international and local levels. The focus of World Water Day 2007, "Coping with Water Scarcity," will require addressing a range of issues, from protection of the environment and global warming to equitable distribution of water for irrigation, industry and household use.

"The state of the world's waters remains fragile," stressed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Available supplies are under great duress as a result of high population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, inadequate investment in infrastructure, and low efficiency in water-use." There is enough water in the world for everyone, but only if it is properly managed, according to the U.N.

Slightly more than a billion people do not have access to adequate clean water to meet their basic daily needs, and 2.6 billion do not have proper sanitation, according to the World Health Organisation and the U.N. children's agency UNICEF. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stress conditions. Those affected are already among the world's poorest, over half of them living in China and India, according to U.N. estimates.

More at the link
~~~~~~~~~~~
The key to this is agriculture, and again, moral will. This is one of the most important issues socially and environmentally that we now face as a civilization. I sure wish it got the attention it deserves in this country.

Humanitarian Disaster in the Sahara

Algeria has stranded 13,000 migrants in the Sahara forcing them to walk across it in response to EU directive to North Africa to lessen mi...