The wrong conclusion

Read in De Volkskrant of 13 February 2016:

Two newspaper articles. The first one on water shortages in the world. Arjen Hoekstra, professor Watermanagement at Wageningen University, thinks at least 4 billion people in the world are suffering from water shortages during at least one month a year. That’s far more than expected. Almost half of them live in India and China, the rest in the West of the US, Mexico, Australia, North- and South-Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe. When the need for fresh water is more than double the locally available amount, the water resources will deplete, ground water level will decrease, agriculture and industry will collapse.  The use of drinking water is only 4 percent of the total use of fresh water; but one person, Hoekstra charges, uses almost 4.000 litres of water on a daily base, mostly for animal products. All world conflicts are on water shortages nowadays, indirectly they are on hunger and agricultural mismanagement, not on oil, religion, inequality or scarcity of natural resources. Drought explains the bad condition of at least half the world, our gloomy global future.

The other article was an interview with Raj Patel, British development economist and author of ‘The Value of Nothing’. Patel is worried about how to feed 9 billion people on this planet in the future, especially now that the world is confronted with climate change. His Malthusian approach brings him to the conclusion that the only way to solve this problem is to build strong local communities as a countervailing power for the big corporations and the corrupt and failing governments. While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one. He thinks the pull to the megacities is wrong. Urban people will get poor and stay poor. Is he right? I don’t think so. Cities can store and will distribute fresh water, agriculture will be become more sustainable if cities feel responsible for their food supply, and poor migrants could become a new middle class. Cities are innovative, sustainable, healthy, social, tolerant, prosperous, dynamic. Poor citizens, women in particular, are more free – more free than in rural areas. To think they are better off on the countryside would be a big mistake. Mahatma Gandhi was wrong. So is Patel.



, ,



Geef een reactie

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *