The two most vital resources that humans need for survival are water and land. Both resources are environmentally, politically, and ecologically significant as they support the food production system for human survival and sustainability. As the world population grows larger, there is a growing concern for providing food, for generating food into biofuels, and people wanting to move up the food chain. Other major concerns are centered around the supply chain such as climate related changes in increasing temperatures, soil erosion, smaller harvests, and diminishing aquifers.
What is most revealing, are the solutions that governments and countries are implementing in order to tackle the land, water and food shortage. Countries with major over-populations, like China, and countries that are desert terrain; Saudi Arabia, UAE, Dubai, have already planned to tackle the food issues by renting land from other nations, mainly in Africa and some parts of Asia. This is a great way to farm and package food for export back to their own countries for consumption. In his book, ‘Full planet, empty plates’, Lester Brown refers to this solution as a ‘land grabs’, where wealthy nations are renting the land for food production from countries like Sudan and Ethiopia.
Without water crops would not grow, which prompts countries such as Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and India to review their water supply. In the TED talk by Anupam Mishra, he discusses the ancient methods that people employed to collect and conserve water when farming was not industrialized. In his presentation, India’s rural population has relied on and is completely self-sufficient on rainfall and the underwater aquifers to use for farming and drinking. In Israel, the geographical location of the Golan Heights was a point of contention between itself and its neighbor Syria as it was the central water supply for both countries. Israel now manages the Golan Heights water supply although the river has depleted so much that Israel promoted conserving water through ad campaigns teaching people to be conservative with water use and wastage. In the end, the government successfully managed to have a surplus of water that it eventually shared with the people of Palestine. Another solution that helped with irrigating farm land was water de-salinization directly taken from the sea. The de-salinization plants also provide electricity and drinking water.
In summary, the World Bank report also emphasizes that although we do not control how much rainwater we will get, we can be pro-active with how we use water and ensure that it is used wisely.
Brown, Lester R. Full Planet, Empty Plates: the New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. W.W. Norton, 2012.
www.youtube. The ancient ingenuity of water harvest.
www.youtube. How Israel became a leader in water use in the Middle East.