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: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/463792/icode/. 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: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg6.