What is causing our water crisis?
Donna Peters believes we should stop development until our current local water crisis is solved and asks “How many past civilizations have destroyed themselves by over-population causing depletion of natural resources?”
Archaeologists speculate that ancient cultures such as the Mayans and the Anasazi may have been wiped out by prolonged drought conditions. The fall of the Roman Empire may also have been partly due to climate change. In fact, the rise and fall of civilizations is inevitably intertwined with the ever-changing climate because human societies are dependent on agriculture, which in turn is dependent on the weather.
However, in my lifetime of studying ancient cultures, I’ve never heard of any past civilization self-destructing due to resource depletion caused by overpopulation. But is it a threat to our present civilization now that the world population is heading upwards towards eight billion? Indeed it is, but is it because there is not enough to go around, or is it more of a distribution problem?
According to a new report from Credit Suisse, the richest one per cent of the world population now holds over half of global assets and the richest 10 per cent own 88 per cent. Not only do these statistics reveal a huge imbalance in wealth distribution but also of the power and control that accompanies all that wealth.
Now this global aristocracy is telling us common folk that we must make sacrifices and tighten our belts or there will be nothing left for future generations. Really? Why can’t these greedy spoiled brats learn how to share? Giving up even just half of what they own would eliminate world poverty and still leave them enormously wealthy.
In addition to this imbalance of wealth distribution, what makes matters worse is the practice of “planned obsolescence” which is the deliberate shortening of a product’s useful lifespan by the manufacturer in order to increase consumption, thereby increasing profits. This wasteful policy has escalated over the past century to the present day where we see an endless cycle of plundering Earth’s resources to churn out cheap throwaway products that end up back in the environment a short time later.
But getting back to Donna Peters’ letter, is overpopulation the source of our water crisis? Or is the Catalyst mill taking more than its fair share? Water and shelter are human rights. Obviously we are experiencing a drought, but rather than stop the much-needed housing developments, perhaps we should ask that big corporation to find their own water source instead of depleting ours so they can profit?