Water, Plain and Simple

Water, Plain and Simple








“I study the future,” says a smiling Adil Najam, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “and we know enough to begin implementing a whole range of ‘no regret policies’ that is, guidelines that will definitely improve the situation, and equally, won’t make matters worse.

We have some challenges ahead if we’re to successfully tackle the causes of rising sea-levels, drought and hurricanes; these climactic problems are already creating social insecurities. For instance, we can see a direct relationship between water resource shortages, and the terrible civil unrest in both Rwanda and Darfur. By 2020, between 75 million and 250 million people in Africa alone, are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change.

Fossil fuels, which have taken many centuries to develop, release their carbon over just weeks and days. We need to do more than plant trees to remedy this. To scrub the atmosphere clean of the carbon dioxide generated by our current output, would take many, many planets the size of Earth covered in trees. An integral part of the solution is therefore to have better technology, in both the production and use of energy.

The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones, and the Fossil Fuel Age won’t end because we run out of oil, coal and gas. This is a matter for citizens, consultants, corporations, NGO’s and politicians to choose what kind of future we want. The good governance we need is the sum of all these responses. It’s down to us.”

© orlando kimber

Image: Dry Riverbed in Kenya, by Matt and Kim Rudge.

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