June 29, 2010

There is no “Post Water” Economy

“There is no “post water” economy” says Gerald Butts CEO of the World Wild Life Fund at the Canadian Water Summit. He goes on to explain that Global economies are focused on the post carbon economy but there is relatively little talk and action on the most unifying issue of humanity, water.

Leaders in Water policy and business at the Summit declare there is a growing business opportunity within the water focused Cleantech sector. There are many challenges and opportunities with water. From desalination to the removal of industrial pollutants and there is no end of opportunities emerging in this dialogue.

The great challenge in my view is finding the appropriate financial resources to protect the few unspoiled aquifers, lakes and rivers remaining in the world. As Sarah Harmer sings “we’re two thirds water….what do we really need”. When I hear this I think of the superfluous consumables that pollute our local water table through waste disposal, and the toxic industrial effluent that overwhelms ecosystems in places like China. If you haven’t seen the Story of Stuff, you can learn more here.

Complicating the story of water is the story of oil, a contaminant that plagues our society from airborne emission to runoff from roadways. The connection between water and oil goes deeper. The inexorable connection between water and energy is strengthened as we need to process water from desalination and detoxification. Agriculture, oil and water and food security are all entwined in government subsidies, regulation and ownership tensions. As we experience peak oil and as governments awaken to the need to retract oil subsidies to bring market balance to the world economy the issues of water as a human right are becoming increasingly concerning.

I strongly urge you to develop an understanding of your local water issues from invasive species to industrial effluent. Water is after all a local issue, unlike carbon. Protection of water resources is the most important issue facing our global society today. Understand the connections to local energy and agriculture. Get involved in pristine resource preservation.

Recommended Reading/Watching


Marq De Villers, Water

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