Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When Our Water Dries Up

I remember it as clear as a tall glass of water. I was on vacation in Palm Springs in the summer of 2000. It was hot, but I had plenty of water and I was lazing around a very inviting azure blue swimming pool. The landscape was hot and arid, but I had plenty of water within reach. I picked up the July Harpers Magazine, which featured an article titled, “Running Dry.” By the second paragraph of this exceptional exposé into humankind’s dwindling supply of fresh water, I was totally unnerved and almost in a panic, while sitting in paradise. The writer Jacques Leslie cuts to the quick when he states:

“We face an unassailable fact: we are running out of freshwater. In the last century we humans have so vastly expanded our use of water to meet the needs of industry, agriculture, and a burgeoning population that now, after thousands of years in which water has been plentiful and virtually free, its scarcity threatens the supply of food, human health, and global ecosystems. “

The article goes on, in considerable detail, to outline where, in particular, we are horribly deficient, and how we are destroying our ability to maintain safe and plentiful access to clean water. The summation of the article was, in the future, we will not be fighting over oil or ideology, we will be fighting over water. Never was I the same.

Now, some 12 years into the future, a film has quietly hit the theaters threatening to enlighten the populace (as well as seriously bum them out) with its message about water conservation and the very real danger of water scarcity. The film is called Last Call at the Oasis, and reveals some of the updated particulars of the global water crisis. See the trailer below:

While I have yet to see the film, and therefore cannot endorse it, I find the subject matter to be of upmost importance. Access to clean water, for everyone on the planet, is a (if not “the”) crucial issue of the this century, as there will be some sort of reckoning around this subject to be certain. In all truth, a part of me much rather be back at that pool living in relative ignorance of our dwindling water supply, but that is an ignorance none of us could likely afford (Check out this National Geographic water footprint calculator to get a handle on your personal water usage).

How has your awareness of the global water crisis impacted how you use and/or conserve water? What do you do to save and preserve water, either on a local or global level? Are you as scared as I am?

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