Friday, January 31, 2014
The Decline Of Glorious Babylon
Iraq's Environment, Water Supply In Severe Decline
"Iraq is losing between 5 and 8 percent of its gross domestic product to environmental degradation each year, while the amount of water available per person has dropped by more than half since the late 1970s, according to a new government study.
Backed by the United Nations and the World Bank, the report found that Iraq’s environment has suffered severe decline in recent years due to decades of war, a growing population and increasing pressure on natural resources.
The quality and quantity of the country’s water has been harmed by upstream damming, pollution, climate change and inefficient usage, and its cropland is shrinking, the Arabic-language study said.
The amount of water available per person per year fell from 5,900 cubic metres in 1977 to 2,400 cubic metres in 2009 - a situation made worse by droughts between 2005 and 2009.
The Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, Iraq’s two major sources of surface water, could dry up by 2040 if current conditions continue, the report warned."
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Environmental Degradation From Climate Change and Conflict Plagues Iraq
"Iraq is considered to be one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the Arab region. Around one-third of its surface is desert, while another 39 percent of the country is affected by, and 54 percent more under threat from desertification.
Frequent dust and sand storms are hitting the country and access to safe water and sanitation is a growing problem. Drought and water shortages have seen many communities displaced, driving an increase in urbanization as they move from rural to built-up areas.
Meanwhile years of conflict and violence have left around 1.6 million Iraqis affected by chemical pollution and unexploded ordnance."
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As someone who treasures culture and the rich historical heritage that shaped humanity I find it to be beyond sad to see the current state of Iraq- the once glorious Babylon in such decline. This was once an area of gardens, fertile farms and a rich culture where waters flowed until dictators and those who have no respect for culture or environment invaded it. Today we see nothing but the degradation of land and water due to climate change, corporate plundering, war and the destruction of the rich cultural heritage that defined human civilization. How have we become so apathetic to such blatant disregard for history, culture and life?
As the articles above indicate we see the same scenario in regards to climate change/drought/displacement playing out in Iraq as played out in Syria which led to civil war and the current tragedy in Syria. Are we to just watch the entire Arab world fall to the effects of abrupt climate change and war? The Iraq war launched by the criminal Bush administration was also a huge part of the destruction of water access and equality as well as destruction of agriculture and biodiversity as was Saddam Hussein in regards to the Marshlands. The war also opened Iraq up to terrorist elements like Al Qaeda which also has no respect for the culture or resources of Iraq.
The decline of water accessibility in this region of the world is then alarming at this point. Climate change also is causing a decline in cropland planted as temperatures and soil evaporation rates increase. We as a species must prepare for these effects as they worsen in order to ensure that people of the world have a place to grow food in order to survive. The proliferation of dam building in this area of the world on the banks of the Tigris/Euphrates Rivers as well particularly by Turkey has also increased the threat of water insecurity and scarcity for Iraq as well as the invasion of Iraq by corporations such as Becthtel, Monsanto, et al.
How could we go from this:
The Hanging Gardens Of Babylon
How much more do we need to see to know that the decline of human civilization is in full swing when a land of such treasure is reduced to a place where people cannot appreciate the life that once sprang from it? If this does not break your heart I do not know what will. We are for sure bringing this planet to a place we will not be able to recover from. Our pretenses, our self importance, our political rancor, our religious fervor- will mean nothing in the end when none of us have a world we can live on sustainably and peacefully. The people of Iraq do not deserve this. Cultures of the past cry out to us from history to learn from the mistakes of the past if we wish to have a future.
Iraq's Marshes, Corporate Control, And Water Scarcity
What Does The Arab World Do When Their Water Runs Out?
Water Shortage In Southern Iraq Threatens Two Million People
Water Shortage Crisis Escalating in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin
"The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, originating in Turkey and cutting through both Syria and Iraq, have experienced drastic reductions in water flows in recent years due, primarily, to Turkish hydro-engineering and regional droughts. This is of significance for Iraq, which has historically prospered because of the rich agricultural harvests based on water supplies sourced from these waterways. Turkish initiatives aimed at massively expanding their exploitation of the water from the two rivers have coincided with severe droughts in the region and resulted in a burgeoning water-shortage crisis in Iraq. This problem threatens an environmental catastrophe. Political negotiations between the three countries have so far fallen short of reaching agreement on providing the necessary increases in flow rates to address the deteriorating situation in Iraq."