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Friday, 31 August 2012

World Water Week - Water and Food Security

Source: earthshare.org

Since 1991, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has organised an annual World Water Week to put the spotlight on water topics.  This year’s World Water Week is being held this week under the theme ‘Water and Food Security’.

The trailer of a new documentary, ‘Taste the Waste’, makes the link between water and food waste.  We know that global water resources are limited but do we connect food waste and water issues?  Global food losses and waste add up to more than a quarter of our water use for irrigation.  And it is almost unbelievable that the food thrown away in Europe and North America would be enough to feed all the hungry people in the world three times over.

There are many impacts of World Water Week including giving us pause for thought about where our world is going.  According to the SIWI report, one big question arises - if we can’t feed the one billion under-nourished people out of our 7 billion population, how can we achieve food security for the projected 9 billion people we will have in 2050?  The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) states that this will require an increase in food production by 70%.

More food production?  Agriculture is already responsible for more than a third of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide as farming requires energy, water, fertilizers and land.  And more than half of our food lands in the rubbish bin.  Along with water.  According to the World Water Week report, we throw away 365 trillion gallons of water with our food every year.

So on one hand we have increasing drought causing wildfires, increased food prices and chaos (check our previous blog) and on the other hand we have water and food waste.  Will we be able to find a balance between all these elements and keep our planet a safe place to live?  The researchers of SIWI are positive according to their report.  As for me, not so much, I have lost faith in governments’ abilities to tackle environmental issues.

Blog by Aris Koutentakis

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