Jun 172017
It's been called the 'next oil'. In the coming decades, the supply of water has the potential to influence geopolitics, diplomacy and even conflict. By Bryan Lufkin 16 June 2017 The 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace pits 007 against an evil criminal syndicate bent on global domination. Sounds par for the course… but this particular network of baddies isn’t using lasers or missiles to cause havoc. Grand Challenges In this special series, Future Now takes a close look at the biggest, most important issues we face in the 21st Century. For two months, we'll bring you insight from leading scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs and influencers to help you make sense of the challenges we face in today's rapidly evolving world. No, the Quantum organisation has a uniquely dastardly plan: seizing control of Bolivia’s water supply. While the evil syndicate’s role in the film might not be entirely realistic, this piece of fiction does raise a scenario that is worth considering seriously: what would happen if a country’s water supply was cut off? What would be the global fallout? Think about it: sure, we need water to survive. But it also fuels a country’s commerce, trade, innovation and economic success. This has been the case for time immemorial, from the Nile in Ancient Egypt to the Amazon in the Brazilian rainforest. While bodies of water typically help form natural borders of countries, several nations tend to share access to rivers or lakes – the Nile runs through nearly a dozen countries alone, for example. Given how conflict-prone humankind is, it’s surprising there haven't been more dust-ups of a “hydro-political” nature.   Bodies of water have always formed natural boundaries between countries, forcing people to figure out ways to share water peaceably. (Credit: Getty Images)   Experts agree: if there was no access to water, there would be no world peace. That’s why one of the grand challenges of the next few decades could be maintaining this ultra-sensitive stasis of water management. In the 21st Century, freshwater supplies are drying up, climate change is raising sea levels and altering borders, explosive population growth is straining world resources, and global hyper-nationalism is testing diplomatic relations. Meanwhile, water demand is expected to go up 55% between 2000 and 2050. In the coming century, in terms of its value as a global resource, it’s been described as “the next oil." So what can we do to guarantee global access to (more…)
Dec 172011
Award-winning featured documentary narrated by Malcolm McDowell. Global Warming is an issue of ‘how’ we live, the water crisis is an issue of ‘if’ we live. DVD at http://www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com   httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikb4WG8UJRw Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)
Apr 302011
Huffington Post Green Erik Rasmussen CEO, Monday Morning, Founder, Green Growth Leaders Posted: 04/12/11 11:11 AM ET   Every minute, 15 children die from drinking dirty water. Every time you eat a hamburger, you consume 2400 liters of the planet’s fresh water resources — that is the amount of water needed to produce one hamburger. Today poor people are dying from lack of water, while rich people are consuming enormous amounts of water. This water paradox illustrates that we are currently looking at a global water conflict in the making. We are terrifyingly fast consuming one of the most important and perishable resources of the planet — our water. Global water use has tripled over the last 50 years. The World Bank reports that 80 countries now have water shortages with more than 2.8 billion people living in areas of high water stress. This is expected to rise to 3.9 billion — more than half of the world’s population — by 2030 in a ‘business as usual’-scenario. The status as of today is sobering: the planet is facing a ‘water bankruptcy’ and we are facing a gloomy future where the fight for the ‘blue gold’ is king. The growing water scarcity is a primary driver for insecurity, instability and conflicts and is currently setting the stage for future water wars — unless global action is taken. This was the main message from a report released last month from the US Senate “Avoiding Water Wars: Water Scarcity and Central Asia’s Growing Importance for Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan”. The report warned of coming water wars in Central and South Asia due to water scarcity and predicted that it “will be felt all over the world”. A looming crisis As little as 0.75 percent of the total water available on earth is accessible fresh water. These 0.75 percent are perhaps the world’s most important resource. Our global economy, our industries and our everyday life runs on this water. But fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource. In some places, like parts of North America and Europe, water is plentiful, but in most parts of the world the water resources are under stress due to a growing imbalance between a mounting demand for water and shrinking water reserves. This means that large parts of the world are running out of water. Sana — the capital of Yemen — is likely to be the first capital (more…)