Quite a few years ago I heard a story on NPR that gave me great pause. It was a prediction for what might ignite World War III. Initially I was skeptical. But as I listened, I thought, ‘He, Steven Solomon, may be on to something.’ Sadly, I now know it to be true.
With all the turmoil we’re seeing around the globe: the continuing crisis in the Middle East; wildfires scorching much of Australia; and today, the coronavirus pandemic, which as of the close of business March 24, 2020, has infected some 417,000 people worldwide and claimed at least 18,600 lives (53,600 cases and 690 deaths in the US alone), there is a bigger threat that will be on our doorsteps soon, inching up like the seas that are rising because of Global Warming.
World War III will not be fought over religion, politics, country borders, famine, disease—even Covid -19. It will be fought over water, Solomon predicts. Seventy percent of the planet is covered with water. But barely two percent of that water is fresh, or potable. And much of that water is locked in the polar ice caps—for now, anyway.
Second to air, and love, some would say, is the need for regular intake of H2O. Given the odd coincidence that the human body mirrors the percent of water found on Earth, it’s no wonder it’s so essential. Sadly, the amount of water we waste is criminal. Solomon cites in his book: Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization, “world water use in the past century grew twice as fast as world population.”
One issue, Solomon says, “is that water's cost doesn't reflect its true economic value. While a society's transition from oil may be painful, water is irreplaceable. Yet water costs far less per gallon.”
So, there is this dichotomy taking place. As the amount of fresh water dwindles, saltwater sea levels rise. One question that begs to be answered is, will desalinization (not to mention purification) rise to the level to keep up with demand? Another, maybe more important question is, how long before all the fresh water locked in the polar ice caps melts and inundates low-lying communities like: New York, Miami, New Orleans, and my haunt, Boston? Ponder that question during your next shower—a shorter than normal one, we hope.