by germinatrix | October 15th, 2010
We are in trouble.
The world is running out of water, and nobody is taking it as seriously as they should.
The United Nations estimates that within our lifetimes, half of the world’s population will be living without access to clean, potable water for drinking and sanitation. Scary, isn’t it? If you think our issues with oil and energy have been problematic and have been the underlying cause for wars and “police actions”, that is NOTHING compared to what upcoming water shortages will bring. I don’t mean to scare anybody, (or maybe I DO), but for us in the SouthWest, the issue is of vital, urgent importance. Estimates say that Lake Mead, which holds the water from the Colorado river that supplies millions and irrigates farmland in Nevada, Arizona, California, and New Mexico, will be dry by 2021.
Everybody hates an alarmist. Nobody wants to listen to Chicken little chirping about the sky falling. But when the threat is an impending lack of water, people MUST listen, regardless of their political inclinations. We are now transitioning our energy system from a dependence on fossil fuel to also rely on wind, solar, and other technologies. But what is our substitute for water? Um… anyone?
My personal issue is front lawns – I’d rather see ANYTHING in that space than a water guzzling swath of turf that is only glanced at by those in passing cars. I mean really, how often does anybody hang out on and enjoy their front lawn? If you do, okay, (whatever – I’d like to see all that front yard lawn fun that doesn’t involve a mower), but if not – GET RID OF IT! Or please, at the very least, minimize it. Grow natives, grasses, drought tolerants, succulents, herbs, food – ANYTHING other than default, predictable, ubiquitous lawn. Imagine the impact on our water supplies if everyone who owns a home removed their front lawn. What to put in it’s place? Well, there was a time when the front lawn did NOT reign supreme, and people had flower gardens, vegetable gardens, spaces to sit and chat with neighbors – there ARE other options. There ARE other ways.
We gardeners can make a tremendous impact on this upcoming water problem, because between 45%-50% of residential water is used outside (according to the EPA – and this varies according to where you live). If we take serious steps to promote low water gardens in dry areas of the country, and rain harvesting gardens in areas with regular rainfall, then maybe our future won’t be so bleak.
Okay, I’m off the soapbox for the moment. But really – DO something! We each can make a difference, if we try.
Damn, I’m thirsty now. Thank goodness I can easily get some clean water to drink. For the time being.
XOXOXO your Germinatrix