As the unofficial beginning of summer took place on Memorial Day, I posted a blog about WATER the very next day. As we all know, water is not just for fun in the summer, it is that critical resource upon which life on this planet totally depends. And, it is a finite resource — there has always been the same amount of water on the planet. All creatures have drunk the same water for million of years.
But only in the past few hundred years have we begun testing our finite water supply. During that “blink of history” our human population has grown from less than one billion to the seven billion that we have today. And, as I mentioned in my post earlier this week, we have begun eating in a manner that requires an incredibly large amount of water per calorie of food — as compared to the “water-friendly” whole, plant-based foods.
Our continued population growth coupled with our inefficient use of water to feed ourselves is beginning to take a serious toll — prompting an Op-Ed on 6-1-11 in the New York Times by Lester R. Brown. (See link to complete article below my signature.) He leads off that article with…
A NEW scramble for Africa is under way. As global food prices rise and exporters reduce shipments of commodities, countries that rely on imported grain are panicking. Affluent countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and India have descended on fertile plains across the African continent, acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice and corn for consumption back home…
…These land grabs shrink the food supply in famine-prone African nations and anger local farmers, who see their governments selling their ancestral lands to foreigners. They also pose a grave threat to Africa’s newest democracy: Egypt…
Then, he talks about population growth: Egypt’s plight could become part of a larger, more troubling scenario. Its upstream Nile neighbors — Sudan, with 44 million people, and Ethiopia, with 83 million — are growing even faster, increasing the need for water to produce food. Projections by the United Nations show the combined population of these three countries increasing to 272 million by 2025 — and 360 million by 2050 — from 208 million now.
I encourage you to read his entire article. What he is talking about is a combination of too many people, too little land and too little water — all eventually leading to starving masses. At the end, he alludes to the deadly violence that will ensue when billions of people around the world begin to run short of these essential resources.
Clearly, in addition to curbing the world population growth, the single most powerful move that we can make to begin addressing the problem is an aggressive shift by the western world back in the direction of a water, land and energy-friendly plant-based diet. In that previous post about water mentioned earlier, I stated this powerful factoid that I learned from the movie HOME:
It takes 100 liters of water to produce one kilo of potatoes — compared to 13,000 liters of water to produce one kilo of beef.
With that thought in mind, I plan to get out on the water and enjoy my weekend. Be sure to read Mr. Brown’s Op-Ed below.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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Lester R. Brown is the president of the Earth Policy Institute and the author of “World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse.”