Related News

Home » World

Activists say water can be the oil of the 21st century

IF water is the new oil, is blue the new green?

Or: if water is now the kind of precious commodity oil became in the 20th century, should delivery of clean water be the same sort of powerful political force as the environmental movement in an age of climate change?

And, in another sense of green, is there money to be made at a time of water scarcity?

The answer to both questions, according to environmental activists watching a global forum on water, is yes.

The week-long meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, that ended yesterday, International World Water Day, was an annual United Nations event that began in 1993 to focus attention on sustainable management of fresh water resources.

The yearly observance recognizes water as an absolute human need: People can live as much as 30 days without food but only seven without water. How long can a person live without oil?

More than a billion people lack access to clean water, and 2.5 billion are without water for sanitation, with 80 percent of all diseases borne by dirty water.

Warming world

This may seem ironic, since Earth is literally a blue planet when seen from space - most of it is covered in water. But what humans need is water that is fresh and clean, and most of Earth's water is salty or dirty.

What was clear at this year's World Water Forum in Turkey was the notion that clean, fresh water supplies are waning due to a warming world.

"As climate change accelerates and we see a changing hydrological cycle, diminishing access to resources, there are direct human impacts that are water-related," said Jonathan Greenblatt, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles and an adviser to the Obama transition team.

If sea levels rise, coastal regions may see increased salination of aquifers - natural underground reservoirs - which will affect access to fresh water, Greenblatt said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend