Friday, March 11, 2005

Life and Death over Jordan's stream...

Only sewage keeps the Jordan alive Guardian, International News, March 9), but it does not have to be like this. Everybody can understand that the natural world is our common inheritance. If a community or an industry draws on that commons, natural justice requires that they pay their neighbours for the common goods that they lose out on. Tradable water usage quotas would figure here, causing money to flow from Israelis to the Jordanians and Palestinians, given that the Israelis have a higher water usage. More importantly, the increased cost of water would stimulate effective water conservation measures.

The sewage problem is solved by simply requiring that the intake for any settlement is sited downstream of the discharge pipe. This would stimulate development of non-water based sewage systems. The environment in the Middle East is a life and death matter today, not tomorrow. If they fight over water and other environmental resources, it will mean death. If they co-operate in ensuring that the Middle East environment has the capacity to carry its human population, the very co-operation will divert energy, attention and resources away from the conflict that looms there, and will mean life.

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