The Global Challenge
On every continent, major rivers fail to reach the sea. Lake Chad and the Aral Sea have collapsed. Wars are fought over fossil fuels. And billions still lack even the most rudimentary water supplies or electricity connections.
Humanity’s sheer weight is crushing our habitat. In two centuries, the earth’s population has grown ninefold. Half of the planet lives in cities. We are stressing and eroding the natural resource base on which all life depends.
Some 2.3 billion people from New Delhi to Las Vegas have crossed the threshold of scarce water. Due to climate change, in four decades, it is estimated that seven billion humans will face water and energy shortages.
Our demand is expanding. Subsistence families burn wood to heat a gallon of water to cook a thousand calorie stew of vegetables and grain. Affluent families burn dozens of kilowatt hours, flush a thousand gallons through their pipes and gardens, and can’t finish meals that took five thousand gallons to package, ship and produce.
Our supplies are shrinking. Global warming and climate change affects the flow of rivers and threatens the existence of wetlands & water recharge zones. Drought has cut the Tennessee Valley Authority’s hydropower in half. California and Australia are facing historic drought conditions. Brazil and South Africa, which depend on hydroelectric power, endure shortages because there is not enough water to drive the turbines.
What can we do? While our water and energy crisis is global in scope, our best hope lies in shifting the fulcrum of power to leverage solutions that are profoundly local.
In short: six billion of us possess the means to reverse the global crisis. The question is whether we will grasp the most efficient & lucrative opportunity to effect this change in time.