Although our rationality suggests the importance of facing problems before they get out of hand, it seems that politics and economics have completely forgotten a problem which could lead to very dramatic consequences for the future of mankind: water stress. With this expression we mean the progressive and persistent reduction of water resources, which are necessary to life (not only from a biological point of view) considering the impact of this element on all the human, social and productive aspects. hydric stress

The topic of the excessive exploitation of Earth’s riches is known to most people, but it seems that those who are supposed to plan a smart managing of the resources have abdicated: The World Resources Institute, after analyzing the availability of natural resources in relation to the needs of over 150 sovereign countries, has published a study the results of which are really disturbing: in just over twenty years, the drastic reduction of natural resources is going to cause a devastating effect on the population of many areas of the world.

hydric stress

Within twenty years, large parts of the world will suffer from thirst (and not just that)

By 2040, about thirty countries situated in regions which are not particularly rich in groundwater will have to face an extremely high risk: fourteen of them are in the Middle East, and it’s very likely that such a problem could strike the final blow on the already unsteady political stability of those areas (think of Syria or the conflict between Israel and Palestine.)

Believing that the potential collapse of entire portions of the planet does not directly affect us is an illusion: other than the fact that these are obviously global problems which can have an impact on the opposite side of the world, Europe (and the other economic powers, first and foremost China, India and the USA) as well will need to get ready to tackle an emergency which is likely to affect large parts of their territories.

hydric stress

In Italy, this issue will be particularly significant in the south, but also those regions that are historically famous for their rich water resources, such as Lombardy, won’t be exempt from drought.

So, we are talking about what we can do now to safeguard our and our children’s future: starting from the simplest adjustments (avoid wastage while brushing our teeth, taking a shower or watering the garden), it is essential that we build a collective consciousness, so that national governments and international bodies really understand the need to embark on a new journey toward conscious and wide-ranging climate policies.

The interactive maps of the World Resources Institute

For those interested, the World Resources Institute provides beautiful interactive maps where you can look into the current and the future situation (there’s also the opportunity to refine the results, specifying several parameters): you can find them clicking on this link or on the picture below.

hydric stress

PENNY, JUPE & AMY

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