Not long ago I read in Newsweek a short review of Brahma Chellaney’s Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis,* in which it was stated that “by the 2020’s two thirds of the world’s population will face problems getting enough of the stuff” – the “stuff” being water.
I felt like I was taken back a few decades, to my childhood and youth, where we were told that people in Africa don’t have enough water and are dying of thirst. This was the prelude to telling us kids to stop wasting water. Small changes might have occurred, you know, turning off the tap while brushing our teeth or shampooing our hair, but nothing major. Some years later the toilets with two different flush sizes came on the markets, but that was about the end of that. I haven’t heard anyone talk about water shortages in years, and it is certainly not something I or those around me take into account in our lives, no matter how socially and ecologically conscientious we try to be in our daily choices. I can personally say, for example, that I have learnt to LOVE a long hot shower on a cold evening...
And yet, in a few years’ time TWO THIRDS of the world’s population will face problems getting enough water. That should be a huge problem and a scandal on a global scale.
What is it that turns an imminent humanitarian crisis into news and a global scandal? Do we just have too many of them, so we have to select which ones to attend to? What else is happening out there, as potentially disastrous and large in scale as the developing water scandal, that I know nothing about, because for some reason it has not made it into mainstream media – or if it has, then only into a tiny article in Newsweek that I might as well have missed?
*Christopher Dickey, “Big Think: Water Wars”, Newsweek, 22 April 2013