Making the food system sustainable is one of the major challenges of this decade. Beyond health, there is growing evidence of the impact of the food system on climate, the environment and access to water. Climatologists warn that this link must be considered to achieve the SDGs.
Rain, snow, fog, hurricanes, mangroves, semi-desert, forests… In the La Guajira peninsula, the Wayuu culture has been forged in almost all scenarios and treasures a close and vital relationship with water. Mining, global warming, and neglect threaten the “children of the rain god and Mother Earth.” The short film The children of the rain, afinalist at the We Art Water Film Festival, offers us a beautiful image of their spiritual relationship with water.
We are under-investing in ocean science. We need to know more about such harmful mechanisms as ocean acidification, warming, and pollution. So far, the oceans have protected us from the worst effects of climate change, but there is great uncertainty about their ability to continue to do so in the future.
India is the world’s largest groundwater extractor. The country is home to 16% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the planet’s freshwater resources. Many of its aquifers are overexploited. The solutions lie in promoting efficiency in local water management. This will only be possible if communities are involved in solutions and if they acquire knowledge and governance rights. A role model for dryland agriculture.
Concurrent droughts, occurring at the same time in different regions of the world, are the most concerning phenomena for ending hunger. Their effects, combined with economic crises, wars and political instability, are often devastating in humanitarian terms for the poorest countries and have dire consequences on a global scale. Climate science is redoubling its efforts to improve forecasting. But international political action is essential.
Spain is one of the most water-stressed industrialized countries in the world. The country faces the challenge of ensuring long-term water security. Water governance is endemically lagging in promoting investment and public-private partnerships. Citizens need to be part of the solutions, understanding the complexity and cost of the whole water cycle. Spain's actions can be a hopeful reference for the more than 2.5 billion inhabitants of the world's drylands.
“Groundwater: making the invisible visible.” The theme of this World Water Day should make the world understand the fragility of the source of life we have underground, which must be urgently saved. Adequate management of agriculture, irrigation, and livestock is the fundamental pillar to stop the deterioration of groundwater that threatens food security and the world’s environmental balance.
“Drylands” occupy approximately 41% of the Earth’s land surface and are home to more than 2.5 billion people. They are the most water-stressed areas globally and contain essential biodiversity for mitigating and adapting to climate change. These territories are the key to curbing desertification and ensuring the maintenance of 50% of livestock and 44% of the world’s food. Understanding the relationship between aridity and water is the first step to achieving it.
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