Cholera may return to London, the mass migration of Africans could cause civil unrest in Europe and China's economy could crash by 2015 as the supply of fresh water becomes critical to the global economy. That was the bleak assessment yesterday by forecasters from some of the world's leading corporate users of fresh water, 200 of the largest food, oil, water and chemical companies. Analysts working for Shell, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Cargill and other companies which depend heavily on secure water supplies, yesterday suggested the next 20 years would be critical as countries became richer, making heavier demands on scarce water supplies....
John Vidal, Cost of Water Shortage: Civil Unrest, Mass Migration and Economic Collapse: Analysts see widespread conflicts by 2015 but pin hopes on technology and better management, Guardian, 8-17-06
Hard Rain Journal 8-18-06: Water, Water Nowhere, & Only A Few Drops to Sell --- An Update on the Water Aspect of the Global Sustainability Crisis
By Richard Power
Security, sustainability, and spirit are interdependent.
The global energy crisis underscores this vital 21st-Century truth.
Without turning to renewable energy resources, the great nations will consume themselves and much of the world in a increasingly violent struggle for hegemonic control over the planet’s dwindling oil reserves. In the process, your lives and businesses will be made even more insecure than the “Great Game,” and its trickster, “terrorism,” has already made them.
Furthermore, turning to renewable energy resources is also a paramount imperative if we are to come to grips with global warming and climate change.
Global warming, not terrorism, is the greatest threat to your security. If we fail to overcome the challenges it confronts us with, it will destabilize every region of the planet, and it will exacerbate every other existing threat.
But without a spiritual awakening, without moral leadership, without clarity of mind, without leaders in business and government willing to risk their careers (and probably their lives) to confront the denial that pervades our societies (particularly the USA), the downward spiral will only intensify and accelerate.
Security, sustainability, and spirit are interdependent.
But as I recently wrote in Hard Rain Journal 8-4-06: No Blood for Water? Are Lebanon & Tibet Being Robbed of The Most Vital Resource? the sustainability-security-spirit challenge of the 21st Century is not only predicated on energy security, it is just as inextricably bound up with the planet’s rapidly approaching water crisis.
Here is another update from Reuters and the Guardian:
A third of the world is facing water shortages because of poor management of water resources and soaring water usage, driven mainly by agriculture, the International Water Management Institute said on Wednesday. Water scarcity around the world was increasing faster than expected, with agriculture accounting for 80 percent of global water consumption, the world authority on fresh water management told a development conference in Canberra.
Globally, water usage had increased by six times in the past 100 years and would double again by 2050, driven mainly by irrigation and demands by agriculture, said Frank Rijsberman, the institute’s director-general. Billions of people in Asia and Africa already faced water shortages because of poor water management, he said. “We will not run out of bottled water any time soon but some countries have already run out of water to produce their own food,” he said. “Without improvements in water productivity ... the consequences of this will be even more widespread water scarcity and rapidly increasing water prices.” Billions face water shortages, crisis looms, Reuter, 8-16-06
Three visions of the future
1. Misery and shortages in the megacities and drought in Africa
By 2010, 22 megacities with populations larger than 10 million face major water and sewerage problems. The situation is gravest in China, where 550 of the country's 600 largest cities are running short. Growing demand for water by industry leads to serious over-exploitaion with less and less water available for consumers and farmers. This leads to a fall in Chinese food production, which in turn leads to more imports and impacts on other countries. Friction and unrest grow worldwide as the middle classes struggle to pay bills. Businesses are exposed to charges of moral culpability and litigation over water use. Waves of immigrants flood in to Europe from increasingly drought-torn Africa
2. China leads recycling rush as world moves to a new hydro economy
By 2010, the water shortage in many developing countries is recognised as one of the most serious political and social issues of the time. Lack of water is stopping development and in many countries the rural poor suffer as their water and other needs take second place to those of swelling cities and industry. Local government worldwide is increasingly distrusted over water allocation, and historical divides between rich and poor are exacerbated by water shortages. However, by 2025 a worldwide hydro economy is developing, led by China. Vast new investments are made in recycling water and the cost of desalination is greatly reduced. Innovative small-scale water treatment processes become the norm
3. Water is the means of social control as floods and disease devastate world
Water becomes a key symbol of protest around the world and is seen as the most serious social and political issue of the generation. By 2015, multinational companies are accused regularly of taking too much water in developing countries, cholera breaks out in London, and governments start to use water as a form of social control, subsidising some sectors and rationing it to others. Great floods follow each other in quick succession. Deforestation leads to massive mudslides in Asia and increasing flooding affects Europe, damaging industry. A second New Orleans flood destroys the city again. Global focus grows on the "export" of water via crops such as wheat or fruit. John Vidal, Cost of Water Shortage: Civil Unrest, Mass Migration and Economic Collapse: Analysts see widespread conflicts by 2015 but pin hopes on technology and better management, Guardian, 8-17-06
Hard Rain Journal 8-4-06: No Blood for Water? Are Lebanon & Tibet Being Robbed of The Most Vital Resource?
Words of Power #25: Lost Symbols, Part II -- The Rainbow Serpent Hisses, Lessons about Sustainability & Survival from Darfur, Senegal and Ecuador
Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
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