Science has virtually reached an ultimatum. The next few years are critical to mitigating the climate crisis. We must halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 to prevent the atmosphere from warming at its current rate. Failure to do so could derail the world’s adaptation efforts in the face of droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and heat waves. Achieving this is now the priority, and we are running out of time.
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.
The Sahrawi refugees who have been living in the Algerian desert for 46 years continue to face an uncertain future. The Spanish government’s recent policy shift has rescued one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises from oblivion. The short 22nd of April by Cesare Maglioni, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows how difficult it is to wash one’s hands in Smara, one of the five camps that host them, where a daily struggle for water, malnutrition, and hygiene is fought.
What unites such diverse and geographically distant areas? The need to effectively manage water, a scarce commodity. The Smart Water, Smart (Collective) Creativity conference series ends its first phase by promoting a cross-cutting vision among some leading players in human progress: architecture, design, industry, technology, and tourism. The signing of an agreement between the Foundation and the Region of Murcia is an example of the synergies and collaborations needed to preserve the value of water.
Solving the dichotomy between the value and price of water is essential to face a future of significant water risks. Efficient management and raising public awareness of the importance of the water cycle are tools that will allow us to reach an international consensus in the face of the threat of overpopulation and climate change. On World Water Day, we discussed the value and price of water in the World Majlis at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
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.
The moorlands are home to pristine water and natural balance. They are also of immeasurable cultural value, as they are the backbone of an intense and profound relationship with nature and water. Many moorlands are at risk. The Sumapaz, in Colombia, is one of them. In El espíritu del agua (The spirit of water), Diana Moreno, finalist of the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows us how the recovery of the ancestral culture can be the most powerful action to save them.
“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.
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