Water = The Next Oil

Learn Something

A stunning interactive about the Great Lakes from the Canadian government, “WaterLife” tells the story about the last great supply of fresh water on Earth. This is, of course, relevant to New Yorkers because the Empire State borders both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Despite the beautiful execution, though, the story about the Great Lakes is one of increasing pressures due to development and climate change. The water is increasingly contaminated by a myriad of chemicals and pollutants and the water is evaporating at a far greater rate than rain and snow can replenish it.

Many people don’t realize that fresh water supplies all over the world are being depleted at an alarming rate. Here in New York, it can often feel as though water is everywhere, but on a global level, only 2.5% of the world’s water supply is fresh.  If you’re curious about how geopolitics in the coming years will be affected by water scarcity, I recommend the documentary Blue Gold — many wars have broken out over water already, and the filmmakers argue convincingly that this will have an increasingly destabilizing effect. Such effects will be particularly pronounced in water-poor developing countries, where multinational utilities have privatized many water sources. In one country, even the rainwater was privatized — making it illegal for citizens to collect it and use in daily life.

Here’s the trailer:

Hat Tip: Petra