January 3, 2008

In researching for our Moving Mountains Symposium on Water today, I was reading a fascinating New York Times Magazine article today about water issues in the West. It begins:

“As one prominent Western water official described the possible future to me, if some of the Southwest’s largest reservoirs empty out, the region would experience an apocalypse, ‘an Armageddon.'”

Click on the picture to link to “The Future is Drying Up”
from the New York Times Magazine

And later on: “The two problems — water and energy — are so intimately linked as to make it exceedingly difficult to tackle one without the other.”

The article brings up some scary statistics about the water in the West, and discusses just briefly one idea that James Howard Kunstler brought up at our energy symposium last year: in a very brief span of time from now, and directly related to the enormous population growth of humankind, there will simply no longer be enough resources to sustain us all. As population continues to grow, we’ll need to drastically curb our consumption habits—the article mentions that our “water footprint” will soon be talked about just as much as our carbon footprint—or we frankly will not survive. Or at least, many of us won’t survive.

If we’re trying to save the planet for our children, the vast majority of us should not have children in the first place. In my opinion, the root of every potential global resources shortage we are now facing is not consumption, per say (although you could easily argue that in the States our consumption is off the charts in very selfish and hedonistic ways), but rampant unchecked human population growth. If we don’t take steps to curb population ourselves, nature will do it for us.

Posted by Emily Long