Heads Up: Climate Changes Are Likely To Cause (Drinking) Water Shortages
We all know it (even though some refuse to believe it): our planet seems to be getting warmer, and we are to blame. Since the Industrial Revolution, our society has been polluting the atmosphere causing for the accumulation of greenhouse gases in it, which raised Earth's mean temperature surface by almost 1 ºC (1.8 ºF) from the early 20th century to this day. A well-know consequence of the global warming is the rise of the sea levels, caused by the glacier melting.
However, a recent study has pointed out another consequence which was mostly unknown: a raise in the risk of water scarcity. This study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, focuses on how water sources will be affected by climate changes, and some of the conclusions are a bit scary.
Right now, about 1-2% of the world's population faces absolute water scarcity. With the expected growth of our population this number will be increased "naturally" but, as this study shows, when we take into account the effects of a 2 ºC (3.6 ºF) increase in Earth's mean temperature, that number may get near 15% - put into perspective, this represents 40% more people with no or deficient access to drinking water.
According to the same study, the outcome can be way more shocking, given that some models predict an increase of 100% (instead of 40%) in the number of people facing drinking water shortage. Either way, an increase between 40% and 100% is truly scary - specially given that, according to scientists, that 2 ºC increase can occur around the middle of this century. Besides the obvious effects this kind of shortage has on people, it will also be a pretext for future territorial wars, just as we have them nowadays for oil.
The truth is that there is no way to stop this process other than stopping global warming. Also, we should save our reserves of fresh water, spending it wisely. This is not a frivolous subject, since it is really important to humanity: we may not feel the consequences, but future generations surely will.
Needless to say that fresh water is of major importance to all life, and specially to us, humans. It is very beneficial to us, and it can even be improved using the right tools, as I have covered before - which are getting more and more popular, according to water ionizer consumer reports.
In conclusion, we all have the power to prevent such events to happen: first, by polluting less and become more conscious consumers. Then, by being more rational when consuming water, trying to save it at all costs. We do love the world we live in, but we never forget that it is our responsibility to maintain it so that future generations can also enjoy it.
Diogo Costa • International Innovations