Friday, February 27, 2009

How we can avoid a world without water

There is no more of an insidious killer than drought because of its subtlety and silence. It creeps across the land and air sucking out its moisture and leaving nothing but devastation and hunger in its wake. It robs humans and other species of the sustenance they must have to survive, and it seeks to cast a dark shadow in the background of the raging fires it precipitates. It takes great pleasure in the misery it creates and shows no remorse for the lives it takes.

Too dramatic you think? I think not. Drought has been and continues to be a persistant and severe threat upon the Earth. Only now, it is excelerating and becoming even more of a persistant and severe threat due to our own intervention. Can you imagine that? We by our own hand are exacerbating the very condition that is leading to our own demise due to our own selfish oblivious actions or lack of action regarding it.

And as we see with many parts of the world including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and now even the U.S., the balance between conservation and waste of this life giving resource is dangerously out of balance. The balance between a stable climate that supports life and an erratic climate that destroys life is also dangerously out of balance in concert with actions surrounding water resources. And its remedy now rests with human choices. So what can be done?

Besides an entire shift in consciousness and in how we see water, political will is one important way water policy is fixed from local to the federal level. However, as with consciousness surrounding the climate crisis people must be aware that there is a problem and that it effects their lives. Once that message is clear people seek to move beyond the confortable boundaries they live in to exact change. For many, severe drought in Kenya, China, or Gaza does not phase them as to them it is a world away. However, when we realize how the hydrologic cycle plays into all of our lives and how it is affected by pollution, waste, mismanagement, privitization, and now climate change, those areas of the world do not look so far away anymore.

And this is where we are at now. Looking across the great expanse of our world and seeing the effects of drought and how close to home it is to us and that its effects are not indigenous to just one part of the world. That is the first step towards action.

We need not live in a world without water, but that will mean living in a world without apathy and fear of facing problems head on to solve them. It will not be easy to do now as we already see the relentless shadow of drought moving across the landscape, but it is something we must do in order to save our most precious resource in order to save ourselves.

This article and interview with Peter Gleick gives us good insight into drought, the global water crisis, and the solutions that lie before us now.

How we can avoid a world without water

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