Our Human Family’s Water Crisis

waterFrom the results of our last survey, the global water crisis was the top urgent concern of readers. This post will give you a number of resources to explore the crisis and its possible solutions.

Here are some daunting facts from the Wikipedia article called Water Crisis:

> Inadequate access to safe drinking water for about 884 million people
> Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people
> Groundwater overdrafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields
> Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
> Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare

From the World Water Council site we have:

“While the world’s population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources has grown six-fold. Within the next fifty years, the world population will increase by another 40 to 50 %. This population growth – coupled with industrialization and urbanization – will result in an increasing demand for water and will have serious consequences on the environment.”

At Water Partners International there are many more facts about the crisis as well as a strong reminder that a Water Crisis induces a Sanitation Crisis…

And, for an interesting view on how the water crisis is also inducing more strain on the economic crisis see the story, Preventing a water crisis, at The Boston Globe.

Spiritual Quote:

“The conservation and protection of the environment must be addressed on the individual and societal levels. Shoghí Effendí, in a letter written on his behalf, states:
We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”
Conservation of the Earth’s Resources, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, p.101.

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Religion and Wildlife

animalIn a story from OneWorld, Eco-Islam: Malaysia’s Imams to preach against poaching, it says: “Muslim preachers in Malaysia are using teachings from the Koran to raise awareness and help preserve endangered species, many of which reside in the Southeast Asian island nation.”

This is an extremely hopeful sign in a prevailing culture that most often sees the natural world as a mere Resource, ripe for exploitation.

Malaysia is also one of the 18 countries considered to be MegaDiverse; in other words, “countries that harbor the majority of the earth’s species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse.”

On the World Wildlife Fund site (where you can check all the MegaDiverse countries) they say something very powerful. You may already know this but, I feel, it bears near constant repetition:

“The Earth is at a critical point where the decisions and actions taken by one species—ours—will determine the future of all life.”

For me, as a Bahá’í, religion supporting conservation of animal species is a no-brainer; but, I’d rather quote folks more eloquent then me…

Spiritual Quote:

“Among the principles guiding the Bahá’í approach to conservation and sustainable development, the following are of particular importance:

» nature reflects the qualities and attributes of God and should, therefore, be greatly respected and cherished;

» all things are interconnected and flourish according to the law of reciprocity; and

» the oneness of humanity is the fundamental spiritual and social truth shaping our age.

“Bahá’í Scriptures describe nature as an emanation of God’s will:

“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”
The Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Apr 06, Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Bahá’í Faith

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Big Green Purse ~ A Book & A Crusade

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What realizes and promotes the fact that 85 cents of every dollar spent in the marketplace is spent by a woman and that big business responds faster to consumer demand than any other market force?

Answer:

Grist, an environmental journalism site, has a compelling article on the book Big Green Purse and its author, Diane MacEachern, a longtime conservationist.

Just a few Q&As from the riveting interview:

question There’s this notion out there that you can save the world by buying all this stuff — as long as it’s green.

answer In every single chapter, the very first suggestion is buy less, consume less, reduce — clearly we have to cut back on the total amount of stuff that’s being produced. But I do think that being a conscious consumer is a very powerful tool, because consumer dollars are the lifeblood of manufacturers. So we can either use them to tell manufacturers what to make or we can just continue to let manufacturers tell us what to buy.

question Do you feel like environmentalists have been too quick to dismiss shopping as a route to change?

answer I think that the power of green consumerism has not been harnessed by the environmental movement. You’ve got all kinds of companies wanting to be green and natural and eco-friendly, and you’ve got the environmental movement saying, “Whatever you do, don’t buy anything.” … The light bulbs are a perfect example … people have to change their light bulbs anyway, so why not buy the option that makes the most sense? If you have people sit in the dark, that’s literally a turn-off.

question Does your book address the challenges of buying green on a budget?

answer First of all, there’s so much cushion in people’s budget that they don’t realize. People will say to me, “I can’t buy organic; it’s too expensive,” and then I look in their refrigerator and it’s full of bottled water. They may be spending $10 to $15 a week on bottled water, but they don’t want to spend $6 for a gallon of organic milk.

question How can the environmental movement change its message to be more effective?
answer I do think some groups are doing a pretty good job in starting to provide information … but now I think the next step is to start getting the message out to people who aren’t necessarily in the environmental community. We don’t need to talk to other environmentalists; we need to talk to garden clubs and women’s clubs and church groups and all these people who are not as fully aware of what the opportunity is.

What would be great is if Safeway would put an environmental spokesperson in the store. “On Saturday, as you’re coming through the store, there’s going to be these five people wearing green vests, and if you have any questions about green shopping, you can ask them.” Wouldn’t that be fabulous?

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