28 September 2006

Changes in Policy or Lifestyle?

I found what follows in the latest Global Development Briefing report. I paste it here because this guy is right, no efforts are ever made to change things by encouraging people to review their diet or lifestyle. Every effort to avoid asking people to do this is made. Really, people don't want to be told what to do with their lives, nor do they want to make changes in their lifestyle or diet, even when other's welfare is at stake. Take a look and see what you think:

"If there is a choice between an entrecote or a chicken filet or a fish -- which requires almost no water because it lives in the water anyway -- then you could make a more enlightened choice."
-- Anders Berntell, head of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), speaking to Reuters on the margins of the World Water Week conference, noting that most efforts to curb water use tend to focus on more efficient irrigation, which takes about three quarters of all water used by humans, rather than on ways to encourage consumers to review their diets and lifestyles. He suggested that labeling foods ranging from spaghetti to meat to show how much water is used in their production could help combat mounting pressure on the world's water supplies. A calorie of food typically demands a liter of water to produce, according to UN estimates, but a kilo of industrially produced meat needs 10,000 liters, while a kilo of grain requires just 500-4,000 liters.
A third of the world's population is suffering from a shortage of water, raising the prospect of water crises in countries such as China, India and the US. Scientists had forecast in 2000 that one in three would face water shortages by 2025, but water experts have been shocked to find that this threshold has already been crossed. The findings come from a report compiled by 700 experts over five years, the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture from the International Water Management Institute, presented Aug. 21 at World Water Week in Stockholm. About a quarter of the world's population lives in areas of 'physical water shortage,' where natural forces, over-use and poor agricultural practices have led to falling groundwater levels and rivers drying up, it said. But a further one billion people face "economic water shortages," because they lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers.

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