Friday, October 15, 2010
Blog Action Day - Water Crisis is an Opportunity to reach peace
Today is Blog Action Day, on the topic of water. Which is fine by me, as it is one of the recurrent topics on this blog.
We all know that available freshwater is the basis of life, and that it is in short supply in many parts of the earth. for the last 30 years there has been a steady trickle (sorry) of reports from people like the CIA pointing to the risk of conflict and war over water resources. It is one of the roots of the Darfur war.
This risk is real, but also, paradoxically, cooperation over scarce water resources could stimulate peace. There is evidence that sharing water is a way to peace. Given a small amount of political intelligence, states can create equitable ways of sharing water. Aaron T Wolf is your man to read up on.
The excellent Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) is pioneering collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian communities in local water projects.
I believe most strongly that the Green Party, working through its 2 MEPs and the Green Group in the European Parliament should get the EU to build on and massively expand the work of FoEME. The idea would be for the EU to donate guttering, pipes, buckets, cisterns and related gear to projects in Israel/Palestine, and encourage collaboration in water harvesting and conservation. Every drop of rain that falls on a roof will be collected and stored, for later use.
This will be a big project, and wherever practicable must engage workers from both communities in collaboration.
The idea is if you come home knackered at the end of a good day's work, you are going to be that bit less inclined to spend your evening plotting to kill your work mates.
Another aspect of this project will be the introduction of composting (waterless) toilets. We are stupid
in the UK to sh*t in our drinking water, but in arid countries it is nothing short of total madness. I use Joe Jenkins' Humanure system in my house, and can thoroughly recommend it. Not only does it save water, but also it increases soil fertility. Win-win.
The third arm of the remediation of arid countries is in reafforestation. Forests not only affecte the microclimate, but also act as aerial aquifers, enabling rain water to fall, be retained, evaporate, and fall again. It is reckoned that a molecule of H2O falls 6-7 times on the Amazon rainforest in its passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Reafforestation should start now, from the coast in. Here is a link to my outline for reafforestation in Africa, Desert Rose.
Part of Desert Rose involves solar desalination, which is a successful technology that is destined for a big future in arid countries.
Interestingly, some Israelis are doing reafforestation. (Unfortunately other Israelis, the ones suffering from the military madness, are ripping trees up. Which is a crime proscribed in the Torah - Deuteronomy 20:19).
In short, collaboration in providing for our water needs holds a promise of peace. It is up to us, the people, to think, study, imagine and propagate this notion of cooperation in securing one of the most precious resources that we have.