You Want to Help Out in the World? Take 5-minute Showers

by Laura-Camille on January 29, 2017 - 7:48pm

From January 19th to January 21st 2017, in Berlin, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture shed light on the on-going water scarcity crisis, and on the importance of acting now. The theme of the yearly Forum was ‘’Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World’’.

Following this meeting, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published an article (January 20th 2017) arguing the worrying state of water scarcity and the impact it is having on agriculture. Amongst several panelists, the FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva explained and argued the extent to which water scarcity impacts people from everywhere around the world. At the moment, people living in developing countries, especially family farmers, are the most affected. However, with a predicted World population of 9 million people in 2050, UN members are already trying to find ways to halt the conflicts that may arise from a lack of freshwater. Such disputes are already present in developing countries, where farming is the main source of revenue for families. However, agriculture is not only affected by water scarcity, but can also be a cause for the poor quality of freshwater; the pesticides and chemicals used for farming pollute the water. To change this complex issue, UN leaders created a sustainable development goal on water (SDG): Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Graziano da Silva insisted on the importance of such an SDG, stating that water was directly related to other environmental and social issues and other SDGs, such as famine and extreme poverty. Moreover, this conference gave the opportunity for the FAO to launch a ‘’global framework for coping with water scarcity in agriculture to support such efforts’’.

Although ‘’ordinary citizens’’ cannot elaborate global projects like SDGs and global frameworks, Graziano da Silva did ensure that anyone can take on small actions to use water efficiently. Amongst other things, cutting back on our use of water, such as taking less time in the shower, could help in the long-run. The FAO Director-General also suggested a more surprising but still very efficient solution: cutting back on food waste. Indeed, worldwide, every year, one third of the food produced is lost or wasted, making the agricultural water used wasted as well. Hence, buying less food per week but knowing that all the food we did buy will be consumed could contribute to reducing water scarcity.

For the complete report of the global meeting, consult the original article: This article was published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on January 20th 2017, which makes it a reputable source as it is a direct report of the Forum. It restates facts and arguments made during the conference, and supports them with statistics from the FAO’s research. There is no author, indicating that the article was reviewed by multiple people at the UN before it was published.

For an elaborated explanation of the sustainable development goal on water, consult the following:


Great writing piece, I really enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot about this situation by reading this piece, I hadn't heard about this issue before and it was great to hear about it. I will try to be more conscious of my water use in the future!

your article is very well written, a lot clearer to me than the very article consulted. (which i read as well) The way you've written it is simple to understand yet still informs readers of the impacts we can make, no matter how little we believe our actions to be.

good research, work and expression! well done!

From the beginning of this article, I was aware that I was reading the work of someone who is passionate and meticulous. The topic of aiding the world is one that is most noble but unfortunately taking lightly by most. Through your work it is visible that the global population needs to make serious changes to avoid a dark future.

The topic of helping out the world seems hard but with your quirky title of simply taking shorter showers it makes the task of saving the world much easier. As you put in your article, "ordinary citizens" can do their part but don't have as much as an impact as international organizations. It was relieving to learn that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is making global initiatives to aid worldwide. Throughout your article, the statistics and information were relevant to addressing the severity of many crises, especially the water crisis. The sources that you used for your information are clearly highly reliable as they're a part of the United Nations and provides the most dependable facts.

To aid your quest for a better future, I thought I would suggest looking into the power and resources used by buildings and especially skyscrapers. The recent innovations in buildings are to reduce the usage of energy as they consume a massive amount of global energy. Here are links to the Canadian and the UN's perspective on building energy:

Your article was educational and fun to read. Thanks for the lesson and for also commenting on my own article.

I really must praise you for writing a summary that is so succinct and all encompassing are yours, it does an excellent job of pointing not only the important ideas from the article, but also pointing out what their importance is, all while maintaining an easy to read summary with good flow.
I’m happy you pointed of that by making sure food doesn’t go to waste people can reduce their freshwater foot print, but did you know that people can reduce their footprint even more, by paying attention to what they eat? It’s true, different amounts of freshwater are require for growing food and hydrating animals. For example, per kilogram, Beef and chocolate require more freshwater than most other foods. For a regular 100g chocolate bar, it takes about 1700 litres of fresh water to actually produce the chocolate; by comparison, a regular human might drink around 1100 litres of water in an entire year. Of course this, is the water that goes into growing the cocoa plant, and for the most part, some of the water is recycled back into the water cycle. However in a time where fresh water is becoming scarcer, one can see that there might be better places to use this water. Anyway, food for thought you might say.
For anyone interested in reading more, here're my resources:

About the author

Small town girl (livin' in a lonely world) passionate about music, peace, human rights and universal love. People that surround me sometimes say that I should not talk about certain "controversial" issues, but I am stubborn and persuasive.