Dear Next President:
In many cases, it is human nature to look more at the short term than the long term. Staying up late and regretting it when you have to go to school the next day, procrastinating on an assignment until the day before it’s due, hurriedly writing down answers to get the homework done and then realizing you didn’t even know what the chapter was about when the test comes up, all scenarios we know too well.
This is what is happening with arguably the most important issue to the human race: saving the environment. Perhaps “save” isn’t the correct word, as humans have already destroyed this planet beyond repair. What we can do is slow the damage and try our best to erase what damage we can.
One of the more specific problems under the broad topic of “environment” is the massive consumption of fresh water. In the article “Water Wars: The Next Great Driver of Global Conflict?” from The National Interest magazine, the topic of water wars is discussed. This may not be something we, in America, think as much about, because we are a first-world country with access to an abundance of resources many other countries cannot afford. The article touches on many important points.
First, it discusses the common hope that since water wars have not happened before, they will not happen in the future. However, the future is a vastly different place than the past. With the rate we are consuming resources and the amount of waste that we produce, it is undeniable that the world from the past can be no more.
This is another point the article touches on, the fact that we may be entering a new age (the Anthropocene) because the effect humans have had on the Earth’s natural cycles has been so great. The most important feature of this new age is an unstable climate, as seen already in the rise of natural disasters such as wildfires, droughts, and floods.
The resource that links them all is one that is invaluable and under appreciated, one vital to the very existence of life: water. Fresh water. Already we see groundwater reservoirs being consumed faster than they can be replenished. Add on the unpredictable weather patterns global warming and the destruction of the planet have contributed to, and what we’re looking at is an uncertain, unstable, and devastating problem with fresh water that has the potential to turn into a deadly and worldwide conflict.
The people that will be most affected by the deterioration of the environment are the ones that have no say in and have no ability to prevent it from happening; the next generation. That is why we have a responsibility to discuss and find solutions to the problem now. America, as a developed country and one with more access to water than most others, has the responsibility to lead the international conversation on the future conservation and replenishment of this valuable resource and its use.
There is no downside to starting the conversation and every downside to remaining silent until the problem reaches a critical point, with no turning back.
Tags: Climate Change environment Okemos High School water water wars