Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sustainability Update 8-14-07: Water, Water
Image: Frida Kahlo, Love Embrace of the Universe
The ancient Khmer city of Angkor in Cambodia was the largest preindustrial metropolis in the world, with a population near 1 million and an urban sprawl that stretched over an area similar to modern-day Los Angeles ... The city's spread over an area of more than 115 square miles was made possible by a sophisticated technology for managing and harvesting water for use during the dry season -- including diverting a major river through the heart of the city. But that reliance on water led to the city's collapse in the 1500s as overpopulation and deforestation filled the canals with sediment, overwhelming the city's ability to maintain the system ... Thomas H. Maugh II, Angkor was a city ahead of its time. Los Angeles Times, 8-14-07
Today, the United Nations says 20 percent of the world’s population in 30 countries faces water shortages.
By 2025, the UN warns, 30 percent of the world’s population in 50 countries will be affected.
As the population grows, by 2050, double the current amount of food will be needed to feed the global population, which also doubles the amount of water needed to produce that food. ENS, 8-13-07
Sustainability Update 8-14-07: Water, Water
By Richard Power
Did you expect me to write about Karl Rove's long overdue departure from the White House? Oh, I will have a lot to say about it in the course of time, but cultivating global perspective, global priorities and global proportionality is central to the work of Words of Power, and Karl Rove is not at the center of planetary life or consciousness.
Yes, I cover the evil doings of Karl Rove very closely (and I do not use the term "evil" in a casual or cavalier way), but I also track issues of much greater significance, e.g., the world's water crisis.
Here are brief excerpts from three important stories with links to the full texts:
The United States, China, India must commit themselves to take action against global warming to ensure that more people will have clean water, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told the opening session of World Water Week today in Stockholm.
Controlling climate change is necessary to make the most of an increasingly scarce resource, the prime minister said, urging the completion of a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol by the end of 2009, when Sweden holds the presidency of the European Union.
"I see success in fighting global warming as much of the success we need to be able to solve today's and future problems concerning our waters," Reinfeldt said. "I also see success in solving the problems with our waters as one of the keys to tackle global warming. One simply can’t be done without doing the other."
At least 2,000 water stakeholders from 140 countries are participating in the 17th annual World Water Week conference hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute from August 12 to 18 ENS, 8-13-07
A new report has warned Australian cities must find new sources for water supplies within a decade and household water charges will have to increase to help fund the costly infrastructure needed.
The Australian newspaper outlines the key findings of the Water Services Association of Australia annual report on its member utilities.
The report says after a decade of reduced rainfall and run-off, all capital cities except Hobart will need to find new water sources - such as from desalination and recycling - within five to 10 years.
It warns that utilities will still struggle to provide enough water due to an ageing workforce and a massive skills shortage.
Even Darwin is vulnerable if the monsoonal patterns don't fill the Darwin River Dam, the water report says. The Age, 8-14-07
Plans to hold the highly symbolic interfaith forum on the right to water at the National Mosque, a major landmark in the capital Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday had to be scuttled when the organisers were suddenly forced to shift the venue to a location five km way.
But, the last-minute change did not stop prominent leaders of the Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Sikh faiths from signing a landmark joint declaration on water and affirm that the element is a sacred gift bestowed by the creator to people to be conserved and used to fulfil the basic needs of all living things on earth.
''It symbolises life in its pristine form,'' they declared. ''The right to water is intrinsically linked to the right to life.'' They also stressed that the right to water entitles everyone to ''sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water''. The use of prepaid cards and water disconnections would be in violation of this right, they noted. The State needs to uphold and promote the right. ''Access to water therefore cannot be premised on profitability. People should enjoy this right without discrimination.'' Inter Press Service, 8-10-07
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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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