Watching this great documentary about the water shortage emergency in Iran brought up many ideas & feelings. Here some reflections on Water:
Water is the basis of life on planet earth. Water scarcity is the lack of freshwater resources to meet water demand. It affects every continent today. One-third of the global population (2 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity. (Wikipedia). What has lead to this situation and how do we move forward?
This comment by an Iranian farmer who lost his land still rings in my head:
"Technology created the illusion of abundance for 60y. We build our society on it. Now it all collapses."
An engineer, commenting on the massive water crisis in Iran.
"We were so proud of our engineering skills, but we lost track of reality and evoked the crisis ourselves"
Humans used to go to where the water was. Today, Water must go to where Humans are. The Iranian water crisis poignantly brings to mind the observations Lewis Mumford made over 40y ago, about the dangers of "megatechnics" and the myth of the machine.
In the act of 'conquering nature' our ancestors too often treated the earth as contemptuously, under the delusion that the losses did not matter, since modern man through science and invention would soon fabricate an artificial world infinitely more wonderful than the one that nature had provided - an even grosser delusion ― Lewis Mumford
Water will very likely be the main source of conflicts in the 21st century. Hydro politics is a tremendously important topic (even more than oil), yet not often discussed.
"There is a motto in hydro politics that states that the countries upstream are using the water to get more power. The countries that live downstream, use their power to get more water " - Hojjat Mianabadi
"Water is both a human & natural phenomena, closely linked to human activities. It is generally assumed that a water emergency leads to conflicts. But experts say lack of water can also lead to more cooperation. It is up to us what we choose, conflict or cooperation" - Hojjat Mianabadi
Our planet is gifted with Water - a truly magical thing in our solar system. Let's make sure we choose cooperation over conflict and preserve this natural wonder for future generation.
We forget that rivers are flimsy goddesses who step in a land on their own accord, and whose favours can change literally with the wind. The data is clear from history. Many civilizations perished into the desert when they did not treat water with the sacredness it deserves. But some survived all through the ages, as the rivers are pleased with how they are being treated by the people.
Massive dams, especially upstream, which block the nervous system of a river, will cause her to abandon her current home in the riverbed. It may be a matter of decades, but it is mere seconds in the geological timescale. The people upstream may be thinking their greediness is paying off. But it will be a very short time before the desert encroaches there too. The rainfall patterns will change with the wind. Rivers ought to flow till the sea. It is a connected system.
It is urgent time for global culture to re-connect with the sacred river, water and ocean gods and spirits. The technocratic irreverence for all things sacred is ultimately a form of necrophilia, which directly yields climate change and mass extinction. It is time.