Saturday, October 03, 2009

Water In Crisis: Future Wars?

I see the proliferation of talk regarding the water crisis now as I did the "awakening" so to speak regarding the climate crisis. We waited until the situation was so bad to even talk about it seriously. People have been warning us since the late eighties regarding water scarcity. I myself have been writing and talking about this for the last ten years. And yet, the amount of people without fresh potable water continues to rise. Can you imagine a world where 2/3 of the population is without potable water? This is the prediction for 2030 should current behaviors continue along with the effects of climate change, primarily in the form of drought.

And while this is indeed a serious prediction that has merit, I do also have to wonder just how much governments want this to get to a true crisis situation as the climate crisis, because it seems that using the climate crisis now to warn of conflict is good business for the war machine as well. Would governments actually use water scarcity to trim down the population of the world's poor? I just cannot understand why the human race can never join together in a common purpose to do what is right instead of allowing a crisis to deteriorate to the point where war has to even be an option!

I always believed that water unlike oil, is a resource that would actually bind people together in the end because of the MAD principle, meaning, that like nuclear war, countries would not wish to start wars over water because it would only wind up hurting their own people in the process. I don't know, perhaps I have too much faith in humanity even with all of my cynicism? However, there are solutions to this and the first and foremost one is changing our agricultural practices regarding wasteful irrigation, crop rotations, what crops are grown where and when; rebuilding and fixing infrastructure; stopping the proliferation of dams that siphon water from agriculture; reforestation; wasteful industrial practices and curtailing the use of water wasteful energy sources such as coal and nuclear that use large amounts of water; conservation which so many people seem to think is a dirty word; and the big one- declaring water a human right and standing up to privitization and commoditization of it globally. Desalination (which should be a last resort) should be used in the Middle East and is needed there. However, that does not mean they should get away with building more huge dams as well and using water as a political weapon.

Future wars over water can be averted if we look beyond to seeing the big picture and how not having it will effect us all equally.

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