The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has coincided with the confirmation of the increasing deterioration of climate data. Droughts, heat waves and violent phenomena are the source of famines, increase poverty and threaten to cause more damage than coronavirus in the long term. Both the health and climate crises, albeit with different time scales, are universal and require immediate action.
Covid -19 has shot to pieces all aid programs against global childhood malnutrition. The situation of extreme vulnerability in which millions of children in the poorest regions have been left is a collateral emergency to that of the virus which has already turned into a terrible humanitarian crisis. The difficulty of access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation always goes hand in hand with abandoned and malnourished children. The international reaction has already started and aid projects are greatly increasing. Together we will succeed.
Do we eat sustainably? The meaning of this sentence is different for someone living in NYC o in Dhaka, or for a farmer in the French Burgundy, in Anantapur or in the African Sahel. The responses do not allow us to draw global conclusions either. The food challenge faced by mankind is enormous: in addition to the need of water and land there is now the carbon footprint. The climate crisis is present in the diet of those who have the privilege of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. And what about all those who don’t?
Water with fecal waste is one of the main causes of food contamination and its spreading in a community. The solution is to ensure safe access to water and adequate sanitation and to implement personal hygiene practices in those who prepare the food and those who eat it. The short film Pollution Cycle, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 4, shows how easily unclean water can spread infections through a simple sandwich.
In India, the enormous challenge of achieving the sustainable growth of a country that in a few years will be the most populated in the world, should be based on avoiding the ruin of small farmers, empowering them to fight drought, the degradation of the land, single-crop farming and social imbalance. The construction of small self-managed reservoirs brings life to the most impoverished farmers and is a development model to be followed in semiarid regions.
Most of the water we use is not included in the water bill, it is hidden in every object or in food, in our trips and in our work. It is not the water that flows in the shower or out of the faucet in the bath or the kitchen, it is the water used in the supply chain of goods and services. The water footprint provides this information and informs us that we are trading with water without even realizing it. We therefore contribute to the “transfer” of millions of liters between countries and continents. It is a key factor in the equation of the planet’s sustainability.
The collection of rainwater is vital in the most arid regions of India. The severe drought and the uneven rainfall in these regions bring about a return of the ancestral rainfall collection techniques. Thanks to their regenerating effect on aquifers, they have become a key element in the fight against desertification and in the empowerment of the poorest farmers. The rains in September and October have proved that the small reservoirs and tanks such as the ones in Gajikunta and Girigetla are the basis of the life of all farmers in their surroundings.
A water drop lost in the irrigation process is a treasure lost in the soil. The farmers with an increasingly menaced future due to drought cannot stand still while the little water they have left evaporates: without it they are bound to extreme poverty. The drip irrigation systems avoid the evaporation of water and the misery of those who lose it. For all of them each drop is the treasure of a lifetime.
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