Why Freshwater Under-pins all Sustainable Development Goals

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/website-drinking-water-cycle.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

On 1st January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a UN Summit — officially came into force. The Sustainable Development Goals are an interrelated set of Goals, Indicators and Targets that UN member states are expected to use, to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. These Goals follow on from the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by governments in 2001 and expired at the end of 2015.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is only in safeguarding the global water cycle and so having adequate quantities of freshwater, that any of these Goals can be realistically achieved.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/water-leaf.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Considering that the stated aim of these Goals is to bring an end to all forms of poverty, whilst leaving no one behind, it is important that they are established upon common universal foundations. It is clear that they can only be achieved if there is long-term environmental sustainability and this is only possible if the global water cycle continues to function effectively. Therefore in order for there to be any lasting benefit gained from all the work that has gone towards sustainable development since 1992, safeguarding the global water cycle needs to given top priority. One of the significant Targets within the 2015 SDG’s is Target 6.6. This states:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”  

Download: UN, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/un_the_2030_agenda_for_sustainable_development.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

We have created a document, which provides a potential framework for implementing this wide range of Sustainable Development Goals and Targets. It explains the clear link between the availability of fresh water and how it underpins the potential for achieving each Goal. It outlines the interconnectivity between the Goals and aims to make the task of achieving them more viable. View Full Paper by clicking on the image below:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”https://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/approaching_the_2030_agenda_from_a_hydrological_cycle_based_perspective_looking_beyond_the-goals-image-1.jpg” image_height=”600″ link=”https://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/a.r-input-for-global-sustainable-development-report-2019.pdf” target=”_blank” crop=”true”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

On March 22, 2012, the US National Intelligence Council released the unclassified report, ‘The Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security’. Findings in the report reinforce the view that water is not just a human health issue, not just an economic development or environmental issue, but a peace and security issue and is central to National and International security.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]The essential and central role of ecosystems in achieving water security has been emphasised on numerous occasions and needs to be acted upon[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Ensuring that ecosystems are protected and conserved is central to achieving water security – both for people and for nature. Ecosystems are vital to sustaining the quantity and quality of water available within a watershed, on which both nature and people rely.”   

Download: A UN Analytical Brief 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.unwater.org/downloads/analytical_brief_oct2013_web.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Recognising that achieving fresh water security is central to national and international security, it should therefore be included as a crucial element within any long-term global defense strategies. This needs to include protecting and restoring the ecosystems, which are essential for rebalancing and maintaining the entire global water cycle.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Therefore at least 1% of the annual defence budget of all countries, within the U.N, should be allocated for achieving water security.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In 2016 we created a Report that further elaborates upon this subject and which provides a method/plan of action for implementing Target 6.6. This has been accepted as a model for climate adaptation by the UNFCCC and can be found on their website. We hope that you find this Document informative and that you Share it.

[mk_padding_divider]
[mk_button url=”http://www.activeremedy.org/news-posts/recent-document-submitted-to-the-unfccc-outlining-the-sggc-method/” target=”_blank” bg_color=”#334d5c”]View Report[/mk_button]
[mk_page_section]
[/mk_page_section] READ MORE


How Important is the Global Water Cycle for Climate?

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/hurricane_storm.jpg” crop=”true”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Although we hear about it almost daily, how many of us really understand the nature of climate and how it functions?[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Because it effects us all and the choices that we make effect it, then we all need to have a far greater understanding of what regulates climate and how it relates to our day-to-day lives. This would be much more productive than trying to adapt to the increasingly extreme weather conditions or waiting for governments to eventually make decisions that consider the long-term good of the many. An important point that is often missed out of climate change discussions is the fact that the water cycle and climate cycle are not two separate systems.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The water cycle plays a key role in the maintenance of the climate system as a moderator of the Earth’s energy cycle. It is through the water cycle that incoming solar energy is redistributed through the Earth system via the atmosphere and oceans.”

Download: USGCRP, Draft White Paper, Chapter 7, ‘The Global Water Cycle and its Role in Climate and Global Change’, 2002.Pdf[/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]This may seem simple but unless climate and the water cycle are put in their right context side by side, efforts to address either water or climate problems will be seriously undermined.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The global water cycle and climate change need to be addressed together, recognising that anything that impacts upon the water cycle, also impacts upon climate and vice versa. For example – mass deforestation sets off a chain of reactions that destabilise the water cycle, which then have knock on effects upon climate systems. These effects can range from cyclones and hurricanes, to flooding and drought. Generally these alarming repercussions are looked at in isolation but it is only really by looking at the entire water cycle and climate system collectively that cohesive solutions can be applied.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]”While attention thus far has focused on the impact of climate changes on the water cycle, the altered paradigm recommends concentrating attention on the impact of changes in the water cycle on climate changes.”   Download: M. Kravcík et al. Water for the Recovery of the Climate – A New Water Paradigm, 2007.pdf   [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Water_for_the_Recovery_of_the_Climate_A_New_Water_Paradigm.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Up until recently the concept of climate included the global water cycle in its three phases of liquid, solid and gas. It was clearly understood that it was changes in this cycle, which were altering climate and the US Global Change Research Program, involving NASA was initiated in the 1990’s to gain greater understanding of the processes involved. In September 1999, as an essential element of this multi billion-dollar program, a water cycle study was initiated. This was with the aim of determining whether human induced changes were affecting the intensification of the water cycle and how this affected climate. One of their conclusions was that changes in land cover and land use can have significant, even drastic, impacts on the water cycle at local and regional scales. Seeing that massive deforestation programs have been happening globally, these impacts are also at international scales.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The hydrological cycle is the life-blood of many of the organisms that inhabit the Earth. At the same time it is, in many ways, the engine of the climate system. Human activities are now influencing the cycle at the global scale.” 

Download: W. Steffen et al. , ‘Global Change and the Earth System A Planet Under Pressure’, 2004.Pdf[/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]More attention needs to be given to the significant effects that water vapour greenhouse gas has in the atmosphere.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Water vapour in the atmosphere acts as a powerful greenhouse gas and nearly doubles the effects of greenhouse warming caused by carbon dioxide, methane and all similar gases.” Download: Moustaffa T Chahine, ‘The hydrological cycle and its influence on climate’, 1992.pdf

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Increased quantities of greenhouse gases in the upper atmosphere are widely recognised to be a major cause of the amplification of climate change. However water vapour is not often mentioned. This seems to be a great oversight because water vapour is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. According to studies it accounts for approximately 60% of the greenhouse effect. Whereas Carbon Dioxide accounts for approximately 26%. Therefore as the global water cycle becomes destabilised and there are larger quantities of water vapour in the atmosphere, it has a direct feedback effect on climate.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“For many, the term ‘climate’ refers to long-term weather statistics. However, more broadly and more accurately, the definition of climate is a system consisting of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Physical, chemical and biological processes are involved in interactions among the components of the climate system. Vegetation, soil moisture, and glaciers, for example, are as much a part of the climate system as are temperature and precipitation.”   Download: Pielke. R. Sr, A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system, 2008.pdf   [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Pielke_A_Broader_view_of_the_human_role_in_the_Earth_System_2008.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Because of the complex interconnectivity between the water cycle, climate, ecosystems and other Earth systems, we cannot look at something like climate change in isolation from the various environmental elements, which regulate climate. There is a sound, scientific basis for the need to preserve essential life supporting ecosystems. This subject was discussed in the Talanoa Dialogue and on the 12th December 2018 The Presidency of the COP 24 to the UNFCCC and COP 23 Presidency issued the Talanoa Call to Action, which calls for the urgent and rapid mobilization of all stakeholders to step up their efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]A world of clean air, climate-resilient food production; healthy lands, forests and oceans; an end to ecosystem degradation; and, sustainable lifestyles worldwide.” View Full: UNFCCC, ‘Call for Action’, Talanoa Dialogue, 2018.Pdf

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The climate system is a complex, interactive system consisting of the atmosphere, land surface, snow and ice, oceans and other bodies of water, and living things.”   Download: IPPC. Historical Overview of Climate Change Science, 2001.pdf   [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IPPC_Historical_Overview-of_Climate_Change_Science_2001.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

For too long now the essential connectivity between the global hydrological cycle, climate and human induced climate change has been sidelined in international climate talks and water conferences. Instead the idea put forwards at the International Conference on Water and the Environment held in Dublin in 1992, where it was stated that: “Water has an economic value in all its competing uses and should be recognized as an economic good.”, became the favoured approach.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Trophic cascades give a clear and simple example of the connectivity that exists between biodiversity, ecosystems and Earth systems.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]However reducing the status of water to that of an economic good does not serve the fundamental needs of the majority of humanity nor the other living species on Earth.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Although water is the foundations and bedrock upon which all economies rest, viewing water in this way has allowed it to fall into the category of ‘valuable, limited commodity. This is bringing about the mass privatization of freshwater. It is now being treated as a marketable good that can be sold at any price, water companies wish to place upon it. In the meantime safeguarding the global water cycle and implementing effective solutions, which include preserving the ecosystems, which maintain it and dealing with rebalancing the quantities of atmospheric water vapour greenhouse gas, are being ignored.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The construction of dams on major rivers worldwide has affected flow regimes, and with them C and N fluxes and ecosystem dynamics. Changes in erosion and sedimentation alter channel and floodplain morphology, with important feedbacks to water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles. Further, sediment from erosion can have long-lasting influence on river hydrology (e.g., Meade 1982) Land use changes affect hydrological processes and these interact with carbon and nutrients in many significant ways.”  View Full: National Science Foundation ‘A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle’, chapter 4, 2003[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/flooding_disaster1.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Because freshwater, as we know it, only exists as part of a three phase recycling process known as the hydrological cycle, then any group claiming ownership of it, should also be obliged to bear the responsibility of all it’s three phases. They would therefore be accountable for all damages brought about by its instability. This includes extreme weather events related to the intensification of the water cycle and the severe reduction in quantity of freshwater worldwide, linked with aquifer depletion and glacial melt.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The hydrological cycle influences climate in a variety of ways. The exchanges of moisture and heat between the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface fundamentally affect the dynamics and thermodynamics of the climate system. In the forms of vapour, clouds, liquid, snow and ice, as well as during phase transitions, water plays opposing roles in heating and cooling the environment. Fifty per cent of surface cooling results from evaporation.” Download: Moustaffa T Chahine, ‘The hydrological cycle and its influence on climate’, 1992.pdf

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Water privatisation is not a viable option when considering all the implications. It only distracts attention and resources away from re-stabilising the global water cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“There is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being.” View Full: Union of Concerned Scientists, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, 2004.Pdf

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

If we truly wish to leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a world in which they can live in some kind of peace and harmony, which accords in any way whatsoever with the ideas of sustainability and human rights, then addressing human induced climate change needs to include the rebalancing of the hydrological cycle.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The restricted definition of ‘‘climate change’’ used by the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) has profoundly affected the science, politics, and policy processes associated with the international response to the climate issue. Specifically, the FCCC definition has contributed to the gridlock and ineffectiveness of the global response to the challenge of climate change. This paper argues that the consequences of misdefining ‘‘climate change’’ create a bias against adaptation policies and set the stage for the politicization of climate science.”

Download: Roger A. Pielke Jr. ‘Misdefining ‘‘climate change’’: consequences for science and action’, 2005. Pdf[/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The water cycle is now widely recognized as one of the dominant causes of uncertainty in climate change projections. Moreover, most major impacts of climate variability and climate change on human activity and natural ecosystems directly involve precipitation processes or water and energy cycles.”

Download: Draft White Paper: The Global Water Cycle and its Role in Climate and Global Change, Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program, November 2002. Pdf  [/mk_blockquote]

READ MORE


How Freshwater Circulates Around the World

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/tap.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is now time to think past our kitchen sinks and to consider the nature of the water cycle and how freshwater circulates around the whole world before it reaches us.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The hydrological cycle traces the largest movement of any substance on Earth. Water has always had, and will continue to have, a controlling influence on the Earth’s evolution. Although the impact of human activities on climate cannot be used without including the role of water in all its phases, our quest is handicapped by the lack of quantitative knowledge about the distribution of water and by the need to understand reciprocal interactions with the climate system.”

(View Full PDF. Moustaffa T Chahine, ‘The hydrological cycle and its influence on climate’, 1992)

[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

During the latter part of the 20th century and even in the beginning of this one it was understood that it was the functioning of the global water cycle, which underpinned climatic conditions. In 1999 the National Research Council on Hydrologic Science emphasized the central role of water in the Earth’s climate-system. Nowadays this vital connection is greatly under emphasised, leading to ineffective actions in dealing with global water shortages and human induced climatic changes.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”] “Water is at the heart of both the causes and the effects of climate change. It is essential to establish rates of and possible changes in precipitation, evapotranspiration, and cloud water content” (USGCRP, ‘A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cyle, Chapter 1, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In many places in the world it is hard for people to understand the implications of a freshwater crisis. In the UK, and many places in Europe, America and Canada people often feel that there is too much rain and hence it is hard to conceive of water shortages. However this is not the case everywhere on Earth and it won’t even continue to be in water rich areas, unless greater effort is made to safeguard the global water cycle.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]The water cycle is a global cycle and if this cycle ceases to function the majority of life on Earth will become extinct.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/thirst_drought.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The magnitude of the global freshwater crisis and the risks associated with it, have been greatly underestimated. One billion people on earth are without reliable supplies of water and more than 2 billion people lack basic sanitation.”   (View: U.N Water Security, 2012.pdf ) [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Global-Water-Crisis.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This is an immensely important issue and the well being of all of our families will be determined upon whether we deal with this crisis or not. Since the 1990’s world governments have chosen not to address this situation but have instead preferred to leave it to private companies to deal with it. Unfortunately these companies have often had their own business agendas, which have complicated matters. However now the problems are too great to ignore and so the fragmented approaches to the management of freshwater urgently needs to be revised and this fresh approach needs to include safeguarding the hydrological cycle from a far more holistic perspective.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The hydrological cycle is the life-blood of many of the organisms that inhabit the Earth. At the same time it is, in many ways, the engine of the climate system. Human activities are now influencing the cycle at the global scale.”   Download: W. Steffen et al., Global Change and the Earth System, A Planet Under Pressure, 2004.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Global_Change_and_the_Earth_System_A_Planet_Under_Pressure-2004.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Therefore we need to think past our taps and consider how fresh water reaches us. We also need to gain an understanding of the nature of the global water cycle and the part that it plays in the functioning of all our weather patterns and the overall global climate. At present it is in serious danger of breakdown. However there is still a strong chance that it can be repaired. The remedy to this problem is based upon ecosystem restoration, inter-linkages and conservation. The crucial point is that this needs to be applied as fast as possible.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Accordingly, the global water cycle is an issue of central concern in the USA

and in every other country of the world. The needs for adequate supplies of clean water pose major challenges to social and economic development and to the management of natural resources and ecosystems. These challenges grow ever greater as variations and changes in climate alter the hydrologic cycle in ways that are currently unpredictable. Therefore we need to think past our taps and consider how fresh water reaches us. We also need to gain an understanding of the nature of the global water cycle and the part that it plays in the functioning of all our weather patterns and the overall global climate. At present it is in serious danger of breakdown. However there is still a strong chance that it can be repaired. The remedy to this problem is based upon ecosystem restoration, inter-linkages and conservation. The crucial point is that this needs to be applied as fast as possible.” (View PDF: USGCRP, Draft White Paper, Chapter 7, ‘The Global Water Cycle and its Role in Climate and Global Change’, 2002.Pdf)

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/vanishing-snow.jpg” crop=”true”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Freshwater is carried around the Earth, above and below the surface, via a cycle known as the water cycle or hydrological cycle. It is utterly dependent upon healthily functioning ecosystems such as mountains, glaciers, mountain forests, rain forests and wetlands. Mountains on the other side of the world help to regulate the freshwater supply and climate wherever we are. In this respect Himalayan mountain ecosystems affect the fresh water supply and weather of the whole world. Provided that there is an adequate quantity of these necessary ecosystems, freshwater is a fast renewable unlike resources such as coal, oil and gas. One of the marvels of the water cycle is that it has the ability of cycling water around the world very quickly. However it cannot function adequately if the ecosystem inter-linkages are missing.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]These crucial ecosystems have been and are being massively depleted worldwide. This along with the privatisation of water is threatening all life on Earth[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

We need to consider what will happen if this cycle ceases to function, what it is dependent upon and co-operate together on a global level to preserve the natural ecosystems, which sustain it.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Earth’s vegetation plays a pivotal role in the global water balance.”   Download: Dieter Gerten et al. Terrestrial vegetation and water balance—hydrological evaluation of a dynamic global vegetation model, 2004.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Terrestrial_vegetation_and_water_balance.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Regardless of where in the world we live, our stability is based on the state of ecosystems, which are both regional and global. This is why worldwide social and ecological co-operation is so essential. There is an urgent need nowadays for humanity to work together to protect the ecosystems which maintain the global water cycle, while we still have time to do so. On 22/3/13 the UN Secretary General stated:

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“One in three people already lives in a country with moderate to high water stress, and by 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity, with demand outstripping supply by 40 per cent.”   View: UN Secretary-General’s Message for World Water Day 2013[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Why are we having major water problems on a planet with so much water?[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

When one hears about the vast numbers of people around the world living with water crisis and inadequate access to safe drinking water, one may find it hard to understand, considering that there is so much water on the surface of Earth. Although water covers more than three quarters of the Earth’s surface, only approximately 3% of it is fresh water. Of this, approximately 2% is found in ice caps and glaciers and 1% in underground sources, rivers, streams, lakes and the atmosphere. This unique combination of the three phases of water works as an interrelated, dynamic, regenerative system and provides sufficient freshwater for all, so long as the forests and vegetation, which are a vital part of its functioning are not destroyed.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“There is abundant evidence that changes in land cover and land use can have significant, even drastic impacts on the water cycle at local and regional scales.” (WUSGCRP Report, ‘A Plan for a New Science Initiative on the Global Water Cycle, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]The global water cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Water is constantly changing between being a liquid, vapour or ice. Although the balance of water on Earth remains fairly constant over time,water molecules are constantly moving, in and out of the atmosphere. The proper functioning of this cycle is dependent upon and regulated by a combination of ecosystems that are fundamental for maintaining it.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Even with the immense body of knowledge, which is widely available, these ecosystems are still being destroyed on a vast scale. According to the FAO during the 1990s, 16 millions hectares of forest were cleared annually and between the years 2000 and 2010 around 130 million hectares of the Earth’s forests were lost.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]““The current pace and scale of human development is altering the hydrological cycle in ways that has eroded the capacity of ecosystems to provide life-sustaining functions and services. Rivers that for centuries ran from source to sea now run dry in many years due to damming, diversion and depletion of glaciers and water resources.”   Download: U.N Water Security.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Global-Water-Crisis.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

As a consequence of such vast destruction of biodiversity nearly all of life on Earth is presently being subjected to and threatened by the same looming freshwater crisis. This is regardless of status or species. It’s just a matter of time and there is not so much time left in which to deal with this emergency. This is a far greater threat to life and the very foundations of human existence than any economic crisis.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The centrality of water in our lives—social, economic, political and spiritual—cannot be overestimated. Nearly every decision we make is directly linked to the use and availability of water. Water quality reveals everything, right or wrong, that we do. Its abundance is an indicator of social development. Its lack is an indicator of poverty” “Unlike the energy crisis, the water crisis is life-threatening. Unlike oil, fresh water has no viable substitute. Its depletion in quantity and quality has profound social, economic and ecological effects. Water is a particularly vital resource. Without water, ecosystems are destroyed. Economic activities halt. People die.”   Download: UNEP, Water policy and strategy, 2000.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/United-Nations-Eviroment-Programme-water-policy-2000.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Nowadays it is clear that most of the crises, which threaten humanity and other species, are not isolated to specific countries or regions.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The cycle of water through the land, atmosphere, and oceans is intimately tied to the Earth’s climate through processes such as latent heat exchange and the radiative effects of water in its vapor, liquid, and solid phases. Water, and its cycling in the Earth system, is critical for human populations and ecosystems. The National Climate Assessment process is clearly identifying changes in the timing and availability of water as central to an understanding of the effects of climate change.” (View: USGCRP, ‘Our Changing Planet’, 2001.Pdf)
[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

They are effected by and affect the environmental conditions in other regions and countries. That is why, preserving and maintaining freshwater and vital ecosystems, needs to be done through global cooperation and collaboration. Issues such as the environment, water security, food security, economics, energy and social care are not separate. They need to be addressed in a manner that recognizes the inherent connection between them.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“These are not separate crises: an environmental crisis, a development crisis, an energy crisis. They are all one.”   Download: Our-Common-Future-Brundtland-Report-1987.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Global-Water-Crisis.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Unless adequate solutions are applied, poverty, hunger, inequality and conflict will inevitably increase.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This will not only happen in developing countries, it will also happen in places, which are presently enjoying relative stability. This will not only happen to poor people, although they will experience the problems more acutely initially. This is a worldwide situation and it needs concerted global action.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Recognising the vital importance of this for global water security and all that it entails, world governments have recently committed themselves to action.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In Goal 6 under Target 6.6 ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ world governments made the following commitment:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes” Download: UN, Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,2015.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/70/L.1&Lang=E”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]This is a matter of survival so it would be in our best long-term interest to make this issue a top priority at national and international levels and undertake the work that needs to be done.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Understanding the role the hydrologic cycle plays in key planetary processes is essential to our nation and societies around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that one of the most significant challenges of the coming century will be to ensure the availability of an adequate supply of water for the world, particularly in light of potential changes in that supply due to climate variability, climate change and other natural and anthropogenic influences.” ( National Science Foundation Arlington, Virginia 2223, 2003)
[/mk_blockquote]
READ MORE


The Importance of Ecosystems for Fresh Water

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/8707199344_fed7c6c6c0_o-e1412530299808.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Certain ecosystems are vital in maintaining both quantity and quality of freshwater. These include mountains, mountain forests, rain forests and wetlands.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The critical roles that they play are increasingly being recognized as essential for the long-term continuum of life. This vital issue was acknowledged by the UN Water Security Task Force as the central factor in achieving global water security in an Analytical Brief which was released on 22/3/13 and sent to all UN Governments for serious consideration, regarding water security as a matter of National and International concern. Thus conserving and restoring ecosystems is not a side issue but rather an intrinsic part of providing a life support system for all life on Earth.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Ensuring that ecosystems are protected and conserved is central to achieving water security – both for people and for nature. Ecosystems are vital to sustaining the quantity and quality of water available within a watershed, on which both nature and people rely. Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems is essential for supporting the diverse needs of humans, and for the sustainability of ecosystems, including protecting the water- provisioning services they provide.”   

Download: U.N Analytical Brief, 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_analytical_brief_2013.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is also understood that forests and vegetation play an essential the workings of the functioning of the Earth’s climate and that major deforestation negatively affects weather patterns all around the world.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Today, there is increased recognition that land-use change is a major driver of global change, through its interaction with ­climate, ecosystem processes, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity”   

Download: IGBP Report 48, Land-Use and Land-Cover Change (LUCC) Implementation Strategy, 1999.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/IGBP_Report_48_land_use_land_cover_change.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is clear that protecting and restoring the ecosystems, which maintain the water cycle, is necessary in order to resolve current and future water crisis. It will also help aid in addressing many other social and environmental challenges.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Ecosystems maintain all of our livelihoods. Because freshwater is so crucial, a worldwide understanding and recognition of the vital roles that certain ecosystems play in maintaining quantity and quality of freshwater is essential. This widespread understanding and the implementation of remedial action is of utmost importance, if humanity and most other species on Earth are to survive for much longer.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“This natural cycling of water is now perturbed by human activities. Together with changing vegetation patterns due to land management practices, these factors complicate the prediction of the consequences of climate change on the Global Water Cycle.”  View Full: USGCRP, Draft White Paper, Chapter 7, The Global Water Cycle and its Role in Climate and Global Change, 2002.pdf[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Certain ecosystems are pivotal for maintaining life on Earth.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

These include mountain regions and their mixed forests, wetlands, rain forests and oceans. The vital role that mountain ecosystems play in maintaining freshwater quantity is increasingly being recognized as essential.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/mountain_forests_web.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Mountain ecosystems such as mountain forests, cloud forests, wetlands and grasslands play vital roles in water storage and supply, erosion prevention, reduction of peak flows, reduction of flood risks, water filtering and improvement of water quality.”  

Download: UNESCO, 2013,Climate Change impacts on Mountain Regions of the World.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco_2013_climate_change_impacts_on_mountain_regions_of_the_world1.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

These ecosystems underpin water security, food security and all forms of development. Due to these ecosystems having suffered widespread degradation on a global scale the water cycle has been seriously compromised and threatened, which impacts upon climate and climatic instability worldwide.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“It must be understood, however, that human interaction with the environment is at the centre of water security. We should never forget that nature is a silent stakeholder in all water use. The issue of water security ultimately will only be addressed when humans can find a way to satisfy their growing needs without compromising the ecosystem services they depend upon to fulfill those needs, and to do so in a sustainable way so as to ensure water and environmental security for future generations. These are immense challenges, but they can be addressed in a timely way through innovation, creativity, investment and cooperation.”  

Download: UN, The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue, 2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_the_global_water_crisis_addressing_an_urgent_security_issue_2012-2.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

The protection, conservation and restoration of all ecosystems and watersheds, which the global water cycle is dependent upon has been recognised by the UN as central to achieving national and international security. Thus, maintaining healthy ecosystems is not a luxury but rather an intrinsic part of providing support and security for all.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The lives, livelihoods and well-being of people and the health of the environment are interrelated and interdependent. Social, cultural and economic systems cannot be separated from the ecosystems of which they are a part and that provide them with natural resources and life-sustaining services. Where an adequate flow of clean fresh water is ensured for the environment, it subsequently benefits people and communities by enhancing their health and well-being.”  

Download: UNEP,The Greening of Water Law: Managing Freshwater Resources for People & the Environment, 2010.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unep_the_greening_of_water_law_managing_freshwater_resources_for_people_and_the_environment2010.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Without sufficient amounts of these ecosystems in a healthy state the water cycle becomes unable to function effectively.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“There is abundant evidence that changes in land cover and land use can have significant, even drastic, impacts on the water cycle at local and regional scales. Also, according to climate model predictions, the most significant manifestation of global warming induced by greenhouse gases would be an intensification of the rate of the global water cycle, leading to increased global precipitation, faster evaporation, and a general exacerbation of extreme weather and hydrological regimes, including floods and droughts.” (Executive Summary (USGCRP, 2001, Executive Summary of the Water Cycle Science Plan)

 [/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

The conservation and restoration of natural water provisioning infrastructure such as mixed mountain forests is far more essential than constructing and maintaining the built infrastructures that provides technological services for societies as they underpin all present and future success.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Goals for conserving and sustainably using nature and achieving sustainability cannot be met by current trajectories, and goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors.” View Full: IPBES, Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2019.Pdf[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]The primary objective for long-term success in securing a globally sustainable freshwater supply for present and future generations is to protect, restore and maintain the ecosystems, which the renewable and recharge functions of freshwater are utterly dependent upon.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

This has to be done while it is still potentially possible, as a matter of urgency. Adequate supplies and quality of freshwater are dependent upon such action. It could be as straightforward as a worldwide concerted mountain region reforestation and rehabilitation program.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_image src=”https://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/richard-st-barbe-baker-quote.jpg” link=”https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/richard-st.-barbe-bakere28099s-environmental-fears/5706672″ target=”_blank” title=”Listen to Radio broadcast” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Habitat is a requirement for all species, and habitat loss and degradation accounts for more species extinctions than any other cause. The main cause of global habitat loss and degradation is human use of the land: changes in land use and land cover are important global changes.” View Full: USGCRP, Global Change Report Ecosystems Research.pdf[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

This is not a new conversation. UN conferences to consider environmental and water security have been occurring since the 1970’s. These include the UNESCO Belgrade Charter on Environmental Education 1975 and the first UN water focused conference in Mar Del Plata in 1977. Yet too often concerted action has been delayed in favour of short-term economics.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The current lack of consensus on a guiding ethic for water policy has led to fragmented decision- making and incremental changes that satisfy no one.”  

Download: Threats to the World’s Freshwater Resources, P.H Gleick et al, 2001.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ph_gleick_et_al_2001_threats_to_the_worlds_freshwater_resources.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Now this trend needs to change. We need to use the good knowledge and capacities that we have and act upon them.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.” Richard St Barbe Baker, The New Earth Charter[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The natural resources of the Earth including the air, water, land, flora and fauna and especially representative samples of natural ecosystems must be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planning or management as appropriate.”  

Download: UN Conference on the Human Environment Stockholm, 1972.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_conference_on_the_human_environment_stockholm1972.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]In order to conserve, restore and manage these ecosystems in a holistic manner, it is necessary to recognise that the different ecosystems around the world are interrelated and interdependent.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“For future food security, land and water management needs to preserve ecosystem functions and ensure the future of the resource. Sustainable management of ecosystems, and an ecosystem’s approach to water management from local to continental levels is key to ensuring quantity and quality of water for food security and nutrition in the future.”  

Download: FAO/HLPE, Water for Food Security and Nutrition, 2015  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/HLPE_Report_9_EN.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

This vital link between ecosystems and water quantity was recognised by the US Intelligence Services in 2012 and the USGCRP provided them with adequate information previously but it has been seriously neglected. This plays a major part in massive environmental problems to may millions of people throughout the world, along with the potential extinction of many species and increased climatic instability.

 

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]changing land-use patterns, such as deforestation and soil grading, will reduce the supply of water that would otherwise be available.” (US Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security, 2012)[/mk_blockquote]
READ MORE


Mountain Ecosystems Impact upon the Water Cycle

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/mountain-ecosystems.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Quantities of fresh water and global water security are critical issues. Yet most people do not realise the vital link between these and healthy mountain ecosystems.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The magnitude of the global freshwater crisis and the risks associated with it, have been greatly underestimated. One billion people on earth are without reliable supplies of water and more than 2 billion people lack basic sanitation.”   Download: U.N Water Security.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Global-Water-Crisis.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Mountain ecosystems are amongst those crucial ecosystems, which are necessary for the healthy functioning of the hydrological cycle. They play a key role in maintaining freshwater quantity and quality worldwide.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Given their important role in water supply and regulation, the protection, sustainable management and restoration of mountain ecosystems will be essential.”  

Download: UNESCO, 2013,Climate Change impacts on Mountain Regions of the World.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco-2013-climate-change-impacts-on-mountain-regions-of-the-world.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is the intensification of the global water cycle, which is bringing about major instability in global climate systems.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The world’s mountain regions source between 60% and 80% of the Earths freshwater. Many streams and rivers would cease to flow entirely if their headwaters and watersheds were not fed by the seasonal melting of these snows. Such valuable storage of freshwater is vital for all life on Earth. However mountain ecosystems have suffered widespread degradation on a global scale. This seriously compromises and threatens the hydrological cycle.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems before they become compromised is an essential component of achieving water security and reducing the potential for conflicts. The continuous pace of human development is threatening the capacity of ecosystems to adapt, raising concerns that ecosystems will reach a tipping point after which they are no longer able to provide sustaining functions and services, and will become unable to recover their integrity and functions.”  

Download: U.N Analytical Brief, 22/3/2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_analytical_brief_2013-3.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]An ecosystem approach is essential for resolving climatic instability and for securing a long-term, freshwater supply, for all living beings[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Mountain environments are extremely important to the world’s water resources, weather systems and populations.”   

Download: Mountain Hydroclimatology,De Jong et al, 2009.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/c_de_jong_et_al_2009_mountain_hydroclimatology.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is estimated that one in two people worldwide depend on freshwater mountain sources. Whatever happens in upland watersheds has a massive impact on the water supply of downstream areas and the destruction and disturbances of mountain ecosystems have wide-reaching global consequences.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The degradation of mountain ecosystems – home to 600 million people and the source of water for more than half the world’s population – threatens to seriously worsen global environmental problems including floods, landslides and famine,”  

View: UNU, contribution to the Agenda 21, Chapter 13: Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development,1992.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://archive.unu.edu/env/mountains/findings.html”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Deforestation_mountain_foothills_New_Zealand.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Mountains are often called nature’s water towers. All of Earth’s rivers have their headwaters and origins in them. They intercept air circulating around the globe and force it upwards where it condenses into clouds, which provide rain and snow. They also store water in various ways, including the formation of snow and ice, which is later released as melt-off during warm seasons.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“More than half of the accessible fresh water is used directly or indirectly by humankind and much of this precious resource has its origins in mountainous regions”   

Download: Schär C. and Frei C, Orographic precipitation and climate change, 2005.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Orographic_precipitation_and_climate_change.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Another essential source of fresh water is glaciers and mountain snow. During winter months snow accumulates in the mountains. It slowly melts over the summer, generating fresh water for streams and rivers and the needs of humans, plants and animals. Nowadays mountain snows and glaciers are melting and receding at an unprecedented rate.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Scientist are alarmed by the rapid retreat of mountain glaciers worldwide.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“For people living in the lowlands below, the storage of winter precipitation as snow or ice is especially crucial, because this melts when temperatures rise in the spring and summer. The water that is released enters the rivers, flowing downstream exactly at the time when it is most needed in the lowlands, sometimes thousands of kilometres away, for irrigation and other uses.”  

Download: UNU, Key Issues for Mountain Areas, 2004.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/UNU_Key_Issues_for_Mountain_People.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

As has been noted by many scientists, these glaciers are not only a major source of fresh water for more than half of humanity; they are also a fundamental part of the planet’s climate cycles. Either positively or negatively they effect weather patterns on a global scale. Therefore they effect us all.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The importance of seasonally and permanently frozen land surfaces extends far beyond surface hydrologic processes, however. These areas also interact significantly with the global weather and climate system, the geosphere, and the biosphere.” (USGCRP. A plan for a new science initiative on the global water cycle, chapter 2, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/water-mountains.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

We all generally understand the temporary crisis we would experience, if the water tanks in our homes were not operational. In this case however, we are talking about the water towers of Earth and the potential global crisis that would occur if they should cease to function. Therefore it is of paramount importance that these irreplaceable ecosystems are given immediate attention and that all is done to protect and restore their mixed biodiversity. We cannot afford to loose this biodiversity because it plays a vital role in precipitation and the creation of snows at high altitudes.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Earth’s mountain regions with their mixed biodiversity are an essential and vital part of the global water cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Seasonal snow cover and glaciers store large amounts of freshwater and are therefore critical components of the land surface hydrologic cycle.” (USGCRP. A plan for a new science initiative on the global water cycle, chapter 2, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Problems related to their degradation are not simply problems for those living in mountain regions. All of life on Earth is affected. Through deforestation, dam building and the mass burning of fossil fuels, humanity has inadvertently brought about these problems Therefore it is the responsibility of the international community to do everything possible to fix them. If we do not take concerted unified co-operative action now it will only get far worst.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]The Himalayas, also known as the Third Pole, are important in regulating the climate of the whole Northern Hemisphere.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Mountain ecosystems such as mountain forests, cloud forests, wetlands and grasslands play vital roles in water storage and supply”  

Download: Climate Change impacts on Mountain Regions of the World, 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco-2013-climate-change-impacts-on-mountain-regions-of-the-world.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

On 1st January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a UN Summit — officially came into force. The Sustainable Development Goals are an interrelated set of Goals, Indicators and Targets that UN member states are expected to use, to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. Target 6.6 sets a mandate for world governments to protect and restore water related ecosystems, as they are essential for realising access to fresh water for all.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”  

Download: UN, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/un_the_2030_agenda_for_sustainable_development.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]This has been known about for decades. Now governments need to honour their obligations and actually deal with mountain ecosystem degradation[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Mountain ecosystems are a major part of the Earths’ cooling system and the global water cycle, making them intrinsic to climate and weather throughout the world. This affects all life on Earth, beyond country, location and even social boundaries. There is a direct correlation between the melting glaciers in these regions and the melting claviers of Greenland and the Polar regions. It is all interconnected.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Water is at the heart of both the causes and the effects of climate change (NRC, 1998)” (USGCRP. A plan for a new science initiative on the global water cycle, chapter 1, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Fresh water security has already been recognised as central to global security and the ecosystems which regulate this has been recognised as central to water security. Therefore this needs to be included as a crucial element within all global defence strategies.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The importance of seasonally and permanently frozen land surfaces extends far beyond surface hydrologic processes, however. These areas also interact significantly with the global weather and climate system, the geosphere, and the biosphere. Whether surface water is liquid or frozen has important consequences for surface albedo and net radiation, as well as for latent energy exchanges.” (View Full: MFS, ‘The Global Water Cycle’, 2001)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Because it is an issue of both National and International security, at least 1% of the annual defence budget of all countries within the U.N, should be allocated for dealing with this.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Ensuring that ecosystems are protected and conserved is central to achieving water security – both for people and for nature. Ecosystems are vital to sustaining the quantity and quality of water available within a watershed, on which both nature and people rely. Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems is essential for supporting the diverse needs of humans, and for the sustainability of ecosystems, including protecting the water- provisioning services they provide.”   

Download: U.N Analytical Brief, 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_analytical_brief_2013.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is not a case of not being able to afford to deal with this. We cannot afford not to.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”https://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/approaching_the_2030_agenda_from_a_hydrological_cycle_based_perspective_looking_beyond_the-goals-image-1.jpg” link=”https://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/a.r-input-for-global-sustainable-development-report-2019.pdf” target=”_blank” title=”Read Full Report” crop=”false”]
READ MORE


Biodiversity is Crucial for Fresh Water

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/mountain-forests-water-sml.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]When we think about fresh water it is important that we think about it in relation to mixed forests and biodiversity. This is because they play an absolutely indispensable and pivotal role in maintaining the global water cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The ecological linkages between water, wetlands and forests represent the intricate interdependence of our ecosystems and our resources. Forests play a pivotal role in the hydrological cycle by affecting rates of transpiration and evaporation, and influencing how water is routed and stored in a watershed.”  

Download: UNEP, CBD, 2010, Water, Wetlands and Forests.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unep_cbd_2010_water_wetlands_and_forests1.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Forests purify air and water and they stabilise and moderate the Earth’s climate, renew soil fertility, recycle nutrients and seed clouds.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Water and forests are constantly interacting to produce healthy and productive ecosystems. Acting as enormous sponges, forests provide natural filtration and storage systems that supply a high percentage of freshwater globally. Their roots and leaf biomass affect water balance and create conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil and then into the groundwater and aquifer systems.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Shifts of woody and herbaceous vegetation with deforestation, afforestation, and woody plant encroachment typically alter the depth and distribution of plant roots, influencing soil nutrients, the water balance and net primary productivity”  

Download: R B Jackson et al.,Below Ground consequences of vegetation change and their treatment in models, 2000.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=152882&fileOId=625297″][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/donate.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Mixed forests and biodiversity play a crucial role in the renewal and recharge functions of the hydrological cycle by affecting rates of transpiration and evaporation and influencing how water is routed and stored in watersheds.They also play a fundamental role in climatic conditions at both regional and global levels.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]Vegetation, soil moisture, and glaciers, for example, are as much a part of the climate system as are temperature and precipitation.” (Pielke et al. A broader view of the role of humans in the climate system,2008)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Deforestation is posing a major threat to climate and the quantity and quality of available fresh water globally. According to the FAO the loss of forest cover can adversely affect freshwater supplies, threatening the survival of millions of people.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Forests, trees and forested watersheds provide multitude of services. The loss of forest and tree cover and conversion to other land uses can adversely affect freshwater supplies and compound human disasters resulting from hydrometeorological extremes. Also, loss of forests and trees can contribute to local and perhaps regional climate variability.”  

Download: Piekle et al. Interactions between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems: influence on weather and climate, 1998.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Piekle-et-al-1998-GCB.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Mixed indigenous forests and biodiversity provide irreplaceable natural services. They are an absolutely vital part of the global water cycle and climate.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Water is unique amongst Earths natural resources because whilst it is renewable, it is not replaceable and virtually all-terrestrial life is dependent upon it. There are various substitutes for presently used energy sources but there is no substitute whatsoever for fresh water. However the renewability of fresh water is dependent upon a healthily functioning water cycle. This is utterly reliant upon biological diversity to function effectively and provide adequate quantities of fresh water.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Ecosystems and landscapes sustain water resources. Forests play a major role in the water cycle, ensuring quantity, quality and stability of water for human use.”  

Download: FAO/HLPE, Water for Food Security and Nutrition, 2015.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FAO-HLPE-Report-9_20151.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/biodiversity-and-water.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Most people in the world are dependent upon groundwater. However ground water availability is related to the recharge aspect of the hydrological cycle and high areas, such as forested mountains and hills are typically where aquifers are recharged. They are naturally recharged by rain and snowmelt and the roots of these forests help to channel the snowmelt into the underground water systems, which feed into aquifers.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The availability and especially the quality of water are strongly influenced by forests and thus depend on proper forest management”  

Download: FAO, 2007,Forests and Water.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/fao_2007_forests_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Recharge is critical to maintaining the abundance, quantity, purity and quality of groundwater. It provides a constant supply of freshwater to wells, springs, and wetlands. Therefore the necessity of forests, particularly mixed indigenous mountain forests, for freshwater and the entire global water cycle becomes starkly evident.

This indicates that protecting, conserving and restoring these forests is absolutely essential for water, food, development and the well being of all worldwide.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Forests also play a vital yet generally overlooked role in the Earth’s climate system[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cloud-foests.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“In Earth System science, climate is not the long term average of weather statistics, but involves the non linear interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, continental ice, and land surface processes, including vegetation, on all time scales.”strong>  

Download: Pielke et al. Non Linearities in the Earth System, 2003.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Pielke-et-al-Non-Linearities-in-the-Earth-System-2003.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Forests, influence the hydrological cycle by directly affecting rates of transpiration and evaporation and by influencing how water is recycled and stored in watersheds.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Mountain forests of all kinds have great value as protective cover on the steep slopes of headwater catchments. Mountains have been called the world’s ‘water towers’, and forests the stabilizers that guard water quality and maintain the natural flow regime of streams and rivers emanating from these mountain headwaters. Soil surface erosion and occurrence of shallow landslips are minimized, by natural healthy forest cover. Cloud forests on tropical mountains not only fulfill this protective role admirably, but they also provide additional hydrological benefits. Because of their frequent exposure to fog, cloud forests enjoy an additional source of water compared to forests situated below the average cloud base. During dry spells in otherwise humid areas, and in places with low rainfall but frequent low cloud, the ‘stripping’ of wind-blown fog by the vegetation becomes particularly important.”  

Download: UNESCO,2002, Decision time for Cloud Forests.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco_2002_decision_time_for_cloud_forests.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is important to note that it is the mixed native forests with their great variety of biodiversity, which are really so fundamental for maintaining the health of rivers, streams, watersheds, aquifers and springs.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Transpiration is the movement of water through vegetation and soil and it accounts for 62% of annual globally renewable fresh water”  

Download: CBD, Drinking Water Biodiversity and Poverty Reduction, 2010.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CBD-Drinking-Water-Biodiversity-and-Poverty-Reduction-2010.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Therefore the presence of forests and plants seriously affects the hydrological cycle and rainfall patterns and its large-scale removal significantly changes these patterns globally.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“The effects of land-use and land-cover change are almost always felt initially at the local scale and thus seem to be limited in scope and are not initially perceived as a global change issue. However, when aggregated over larger space and time scales, and when the impacts further along the chain of reverberations are considered, land-use and land-cover change are a potent driver of changes to Earth System.”   

Download: W. Steffen et al. Global Change and the Earth System A Planet Under Pressure, 2004.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Global_Change_and_the_Earth_System_A_Planet_Under_Pressure-2004.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Regardless of where we live on Earth, it is imperative that we take care of the natural world and all water resourcing ecosystems. This will safeguard the long-term well being of all of our families.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The mass of research that indicates the crucial function of biodiversity and forests is irrefutable. Thus the protection and restoration of ecosystems is a vital and essential contribution for protecting the global water cycle, which in turn is essential for water and food security. Population growth is often considered to be one of the main threats to these. However if the essential ecosystems are not restored and preserved then water and food security is not achievable regardless of population growth.

Our lives depend upon water and food. Therefore our lives depend upon global biodiversity and ecosystems. Life on Earth is interconnected and we are all interdependent and intrinsically linked.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Fresh_look_at_water.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Effects of vegetation on the hydrological cycle can also be seen at the global scale. For example, differences in the variability of annual run off among continents are controlled not only by differences in precipitation amount but also by the geographical distribution of evergreen and deciduous vegetation (Peel et al., 2001).”   

Download: Dieter Gerten et al.,Terrestrial vegetation and water balance—hydrological evaluation of a dynamic global vegetation model,2004.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Terrestrial-vegetation-and-water-balance-hydrological-evaluation-of-a-dynamic-global-vegetation-model-2004.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]

Population growth is often considered to be one of the main threats to these. However if the essential ecosystems are not restored and preserved then water and food security is not achievable regardless of population growth. Our lives depend upon fresh water and food. Therefore our lives depend upon global biodiversity and ecosystems. Life on Earth is interconnected and we are all interdependent and intrinsically linked.

[mk_padding_divider size=”10″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Water and ecosystems are fundamentally linked through processes, structure and function. Human society is responsible for the management of these ecosystems and, de facto, the management of water. Ecosystems should not be viewed as consumers of water, but rather they are essential elements of natural infrastructure within water management.”   

Download: UNEP, 2013, ‘Natural Solutions for Water Security.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unep_2013_natural_solutions_for_water_security.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

READ MORE


The Human Right to Water

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/7288209594_477f9a409c_o.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]All Human Rights have their basis and foundations in freshwater security. Fresh water security is dependent upon the adequate quantity of fresh water. This is in turn dependent upon a functioning renewable, global water cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is unfortunate that within the Human Right to water debate, the ecological side of the equation is often overlooked. This is a significant oversight because regardless of who is responsible for governing and providing fresh water, if there are inadequate quantities of fresh water, how can water security be realised?

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“On 28 July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights. The Resolution calls upon States and international organisations to provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.”  

Download: UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292, 2010.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_general_assembly_resolution_64292_2010.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The Right to Water emphasizes that water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic good. It also stresses that the manner in which this right is realized must be sustainable and in the interest of all, ensuring that the Right can be realized for present and future generations.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]A future where freshwater is regarded as a finite resource and available only to a privileged few, is a very disturbing concept that should not be allowed to become reality.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“The human right to drinking water is fundamental for life and health. Sufficient and safe drinking water is a precondition for the realization of all human rights. Overcoming the world water crisis – achieving water, food and environmental security simultaneously – is one of the most formidable challenges for sustainable development.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Agenda 21 included an objective to ensure that adequate supplies of water are maintained for the entire population of the planet, and specifies that the right to water includes access to a sufficient quantity and quality of water. According to Professor Peter Gleick in 1996, an adequate supply requires a minimum of 50 to 100 liters per person per day.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“All States parties have an immediate obligation to ensure satisfaction of, at the very least, the minimum essential level of the right to drinking water. In its General Comment No. 3 the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights asserted that even in times of severe resource constraints, vulnerable or marginalized groups must be protected by the adoption of relatively low-cost targeted water programs.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]However it is crucial to note that universal access to clean drinking water and sanitation is not the same as the Right to Water.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This was explicitly expressed in the Open Working Group 10 Sustainable Development meeting in the UN buildings in New York, between 31/3/14 and 4/4/14, when the Chinese government representative said:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Water and sanitation should be addressed through an “access” approach, rather than a rights-based approach.”  

Download: ENB Summary OWG 10 SDG’s, 2014.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/enb_summary_owg_10_sdgs.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Most of us take our right to water for granted. We also assume that the global water cycle will continue functioning and delivering our freshwater supplies as it always has. The present environmental and social conditions mean that we need to become more conscious and become more involved in preserving our water cycle and our common rights.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/water-bottles.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“The right to drinking water entitles everyone to safe, sufficient, affordable and accessible drinking water that is adequate for daily individual requirements (drinking, household sanitation, food preparation, and hygiene). The adequacy of drinking water should be interpreted in a manner consistent with human dignity, and not in a narrow way, by mere reference to volumetric quantities and technologies, or by viewing water primarily as an economic good.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Governments have not only agreed upon obligation to supply fresh water in relation to maximum resources, they have also committed themselves to the responsibility of proactively protecting, safeguarding, and maintaining this vital resource. This necessitates the protection of all the vital ecosystems, which maintain the global water cycle and the protection of the cycle itself, so that adequate supplies of fresh water can be produced and provided.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“All human rights impose three types or levels of obligations on States parties: the obligations to respect, protect and to fulfill. The obligation to fulfill requires States parties to adopt the necessary measures directed towards the full realization of the rights. The obligation to fulfill (facilitate) means that States must proactively engage in activities intended to strengthen people’s access to and utilization of resources and means to ensure their livelihood.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

However regarding the adoption of necessary measures directed towards the full realization of the rights to water, there are major ecological factors, which have been overlooked. The protection and restoration of water resourcing ecosystems such as mixed mountain forests, rain forests and watersheds has not been prioritised and has often been largely neglected. This has been in favour of privatization and management schemes, which do not include securing these environmental crucial factors.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]This approach is unsustainable and threatens the functioning of the global water cycle and with it the majority of life on Earth.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“It is now widely accepted that – on the one hand – poverty should not be seen only as a lack of income, but also as a deprivation of human rights, and – on the other hand – that unless the problems of poverty are addressed, there can be no sustainable development. It is equally accepted that sustainable development requires environmental protection and that environmental degradation leads directly and indirectly to violations of human rights.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Since Rio+20 in 2012, it has been affirmed and clarified by experts that the ecosystems and environments which maintain essential services needed for the very survival of life on Earth, such as the hydrological cycle, are threatened with collapse if not given appropriate and immediate attention.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems before they become compromised is an essential component of achieving water security and reducing the potential for conflicts. The continuous pace of human development is threatening the capacity of ecosystems to adapt, raising concerns that ecosystems will reach a tipping point after which they are no longer able to provide sustaining functions and services, and will become unable to recover their integrity and functions (Maas, 2012).”  

Download: The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue 2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_the_global_water_crisis_addressing_an_urgent_security_issue_2012-2.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

On October 28, 1982 the World Charter for Nature was adopted by UN member nation-states. It proclaims five principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged. Principle 1 states:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.”  

Download: UN World Charter for Nature,A/RES/37/7.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_world_charter_for_nature.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]The global water cycle is an essential process that supports all other natural life processes.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/drinking-the-water-cycle.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

To achieve the Human Right to Water, it is fundamental and vital to have an adequate supply of fresh water. This can only be achieved through protecting and securing the global water cycle and the ecosystems, which it relies upon to function effectively.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]”We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and support actions within the respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems.”  

Download: UNCSD,The Future We Want, Paragraph 122,2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_the_future_we_want_rio20_para_211_2012.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The human right to adequate fresh water and the responsibility of governments to maintain this resource has been reiterated on numerous occasions.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Yet world governments are still neglecting their responsibilities of care regarding this critical issue and millions of people in both developing and developed countries cannot access adequate amounts of freshwater.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“We reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, to be progressively realized for our populations with full respect for national sovereignty.”  

Download: UNCSD,The Future We Want, Paragraph 122,2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_the_future_we_want_rio20_para_211_2012.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“The call for the right to water came out of the suffering and struggles of people in thousands of communities around the world seeking the simple dignity of clean water for daily living and basic sanitation services, as well as the protection of their local water sources from government or corporate abuse. While it might seem at first glance to be a given that water is a human right, many powerful forces came together to prevent it from being officially recognized for many years.” (Maude Barlow, ‘Our Right to Water’)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In May 2013 the UN Secretary General spoke of the world running out of fresh water, yet although this was alarming, it was not new information to world leaders. In 2002 world governments were warned of the problems, which would occur if water-resourcing ecosystems were not given appropriate attention.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Drinking water access and quality continue to be a fundamental problem, since some 3 billion people are expected to suffer water shortages by the year 2025; Many of the world’s current conflicts are caused, or exacerbated, by the lack or insufficiency of water; Moreover, the continuing deterioration of water resources is exacerbating existing poverty and discrimination. Realizing the human right to water in a sustainable manner must therefore be considered a vital component of poverty reduction policies to achieve sustainable development.”  

Download: Human Rights, Poverty Reduction & Sustainable Development,Health, Food &Water,OHCHR,2002.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ohchr_2002human_rights_poverty_reduction_and_sustainable_development_health_food_and_water.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Even with all this knowledge in November 2013 the US government used its power to eliminate essential elements within the contents of the Human Right to Water and consequentially undermined all human rights agreements.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Until moments before its adoption the draft UN General Assembly resolution had recognised that the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation entitles everyone without exception to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.”  

Download: Amnesty International, Public Statement, Nov 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/amnesty_international_public_statement_nov_2013.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

If these basic needs for life that affect all humanity are being deliberately removed from UN Resolutions, what is really being proposed when universal access to water is being shouted from government and UN pulpits? Even those who currently have access to basic drinking water do not have a guarantee of price regulation or continued access. In the meantime governments are favoring market solutions to resource allocations and major world banks and billionaires are buying up the world’s water supplies.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

When considering water as a natural resource that is in a constant process of recycling; how can ownership rights ever have been considered, especially given that domestic water cannot be legally separated from the broader hydrological cycle?

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]If safeguarding the global fresh water cycle and the rights to fresh water are not enforced; the costs will be a huge loss of current human rights and an extraordinarily high loss of human lives.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

We can either unite and take concerted global action or we can wait for the inevitable problems, which will occur if we wait for others to deal with this issue for us. Taking an ecosystem approach, as was agreed upon by world governments in September 2015 is still possible. This entails stopping the deforestation of mixed forests and the reforestation of mountain regions with mixed forests. These regions are where fresh water is stored in glaciers and snows and they are the sources of Earth’s rivers.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”  

Download: UN, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/un_the_2030_agenda_for_sustainable_development.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
READ MORE


Who Gets Water and at What Cost?

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/who-gets-water-and-at-what-cost.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Nowadays the social, political and economic impacts of water scarcity are a threatening dilemma, with water-related conflicts springing up around the globe.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The UN has recognised that water security is a central issue that underpins all environmental and social issues. It has even been recognised as central to both National and International security.However there is a growing global concern about resource scarcity and future freshwater shortages with demand exceeding supply. Many ecosystems, which are critical for maintaining the renewable function of the water cycle, have been massively depleted worldwide.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This is a looming global problem and many corporations have become involved. However there is a real danger that fresh water will be treated simply as a valuable and limited commodity and that it will be privatised globally. Richard Sandor, an analyst at Environmental Products, who also founded the Chicago Climate Exchange stated:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]”Water is posed to be the commodity of the 21st century.” (Richard Sandor, Chicago Climate Exchange)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]This approach treats freshwater as a limited resource and overlooks the fact that as long as the appropriate ecosystems are in place, the water cycle is a regenerative and renewable cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Therefore it is dangerous to view fresh water as a dwindling finite resource. Rather, the main focus for safeguarding freshwater needs to be directed towards protecting and restoring the ecosystems, which maintain the water cycle. This way it is possible to have adequate supplies of freshwater for both present and future generations.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Water, economic and environmental security are inherently interconnected. Human life is intimately linked to, and utterly dependent on, the functions and services provided by freshwater ecosystems.
  

Download: U.N Water Security paper August 2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_water_security_august_2012-2.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This situation needs to be given urgent and immediate attention. If the renewal aspect of the global water cycle is yet again ignored and not attended to, we will soon all be asking the question:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]When considering access to fresh water, we need to ask the question “Who gets water and at what cost?”[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“We humans have allowed the planet’s fresh water to be used as a resource for the modern world we have built, rather than seeing it as the essential element in a living ecosystem.”(Maude Barlow, Blue Future: A new water ethic, Council of Canadians, 2013)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]It is of immense importance to think beyond the commodification of water[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Unlike other essential resources, which are used as commodities to power economies, water is not only something, which humans and other life forms need for survival; it makes up a significant fraction of the human body. By weight, adult human beings and most animals are composed of between approximately 60% and 70% water and the majority of trees and plants vary between 50% and 75%.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“As the water crisis intensifies, governments around the world—under pressure from transnational corporations—are advocating a radical solution: the privatization, commodification and mass diversion of water. Proponents say that such a system is the only way to distribute water to the world’s thirsty. However, experience shows that selling water on the open market does not address the needs of poor, thirsty people.”  

Download: Blue Gold.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/bluegold.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In contrast to inert non-renewable natural resources such as gold and oil, water is a living substance, which is constantly moving, recycling and regenerating. Not only is a river a body of water and part of the global hydrological cycle, so are we. We not only depend upon the water cycle for life, we are all collectively part of it. It is important to think about this because then we can understand how water links all life on earth and cannot be wholly contained, nor commodified as a limited resource.So now we need to think really clearly about the immense and vital importance of the global hydrological cycle and our common heritage.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]We really need to question the ideology behind the privatization and commodification of water, which is being proposed, as the way to ensure water security? What exactly is being privatized and what is being considered for sale in future water markets?[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

In general the propositions to date from various water companies, multinationals and corporations do not include the preservation of the whole water cycle and the ecosystems upon which it relies to function effectively. Meanwhile organisations as influential as UNESCO are pinpointing the necessity of these ecosystems for freshwater.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Given their important role in water supply and regulation, the protection, sustainable management and restoration of mountain ecosystems will be essential.”  

Download: UNESCO, 2013, ‘Climate Change impacts on Mountain Regions of the World.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_water_security_august_2012-2.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Without addressing the entire water cycle, freshwater security is impossible.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/water-cycle.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Commodifying water and regarding it as a finite dwindling resource will distract attention and resources away from preserving the fundamental yet endangered ecosystems, which maintain the water cycle.In March 2013 the UN Water Task Force created an Analytical Brief to guide governments on how to address global water security. It states:

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Ensuring that ecosystems are protected and conserved is central to achieving water security – both for people and for nature. Ecosystems are vital to sustaining the quantity and quality of water available within a watershed, on which both nature and people rely. Maintaining the integrity of ecosystems is essential for supporting the diverse needs of humans, and for the sustainability of ecosystems, including protecting the water- provisioning services they provide.”  

Download: U.N Analytical Brief, 2013.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_analytical_brief_2013-2.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

This does not suggest securing freshwater through privatisation or the commodification of water. On the contrary it points to the need of protecting and maintaining Earth’s natural ecosystems. A similar understanding was agreed upon and signed by world governments at the UNCSD Rio+20, 2012.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]”We recognize the key role that ecosystems play in maintaining water quantity and quality and support actions within the respective national boundaries to protect and sustainably manage these ecosystems.”  

Download: UN The Future We Want RES/A/66/288 para.197.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_the_future_we_want_rio20_para_211_2012.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Water comodification does not include preserving the essential ecosystems, which maintain the water cycle. It simply looks at water as a valuable product.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/the-cost-of-water.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is unsustainable to ignore the regenerative nature of water and use our time and resources in managing ever-decreasing water resources, whilst in the meantime allowing the natural water cycle to degenerate. This is like designing a house and disregarding solid foundations. Collapse is inevitable.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Wars for limited sources of fresh water are not essential if there is a functioning regenerative water cycle. Therefore global security needs to include the security of the entire global water cycle and all the ecosystems it depends upon to function.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
READ MORE


A New Water Ethic and Rights of Nature

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/rights-for-nature.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Disasters related to freshwater shortages are occurring and rapidly increasing around the world. It is therefore starkly evident that changes are needed regarding the way that humanity regards and safeguards the global water cycle.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“We must adopt a new water ethic that puts water protection and restoration at the centre of the laws and policies we enact.” (Maude Barlow, Blue Future: A new water Ethic, Council of Canadians, 2013)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

There is no basis for the assumption that our species is separate from and inherently superior to other life forms or that we have a privileged place and can negligently destroy nature for our whims. There is, however, a basis for believing that, as members of humanity and the vast terrestrial community, we have a duty to use our foresight and empathy for the benefit of the whole.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“We are convinced that in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.”  

Download: UN,The Future We Want, RES/A/66/288 para.39, 2012.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un_2012_the_future_we_want_resa66288_para212.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

There has been a worldwide tradition of thinking in terms of seven generations and it was widely recognized that the foundations of all sustainability are dependent and based upon healthy functioning environmental cycles and systems. Chief amongst these being, the freshwater cycle, which virtually all species are dependent upon.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“Civilization is rooted in nature, which has shaped human culture and influenced all artistic and scientific achievement, and living in harmony with nature gives man the best opportunities for the development of his creativity, and for rest and recreation.”  

Download: UN, 1982, World Charter for Nature, A/RES/37/7.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/un-1982-ares377-world-charter-for-nature.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Regardless of who we are or where we live it is important to understand that the water cycle and its inherent ecosystems are the life support system of the entire planet and that the responsibility of safeguarding these is a common human responsibility. It is also in our own long-term interest to safeguard these for future generations and for all life on Earth.
It is utterly unsustainable to ignore the regenerative nature of water and use existing time and resources in managing ever-decreasing water resources, whilst in the meantime allowing the natural water cycle to degenerate. This is like designing a house and disregarding the need for solid foundations. Collapse is inevitable.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]This is Our World, Our Water and Our Responsibility![/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Human life is not viable independent of other species and ecosystems. We are all interdependent and because we utterly depend upon them, we need to live in such a way as considers their needs as well as our own.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

A new ethic of coexistence with nature, all the natural worlds and the natural cycles is still possible but it ultimately depends not on law, science or monetary values but also on more ancient, natural, humanitarian principles and values. A deeper awareness and respect for nature and all natural elements such as water, air, earth and fire is essential. If humanity wishes to continue to survive and evolve on Earth, respect for the ancestors and their wisdom is crucial.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“How long can we go on and safely pretend that the environment is not the economy, is not health, is not the prerequisite to development, is not recreation? Is it realistic to see ourselves as managers of an entity out there called the environment, extraneous to us, an alternative to the economy, too expensive a value to protect in difficult economic times?
When we organize ourselves starting from this premise, we do so with dangerous consequences to our economy, health, and industrial growth. We are now just beginning to realize that we must find an alternative to our ingrained behaviour of burdening future generations resulting from our misplaced belief that there is a choice between economy and the environment. That choice, in the long term, turns out to be an illusion with awesome consequences for humanity. (Charles Caccia Member of Parliament, House of Commons WCED Public Hearing Ottawa, 26-27 May 1986.”  

Download: UN, 1987, Our Common Future Brundtland Report.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Our-Common-Future-Brundtland-Report-1987.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Maintaining the natural worlds and ecosystems that are so fundamental for human life and all life on Earth is not simply a job for a few. It is the responsibility of humanity as a whole. Because we all rely upon freshwater, the responsibility of safeguarding the hydrological cycle and the ecosystems, which maintain it, is a common human responsibility. It is also in our long-term interest to safeguard these for all future generations.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“We need nothing short of a new global ethic – an ethic which espouses attitudes and behavior for individuals and societies which are consonant with humanity’s place within the biosphere; which recognizes and sensitively responds to the complex and ever-changing relationships between humanity and nature and between people. Significant changes must occur in all of the world’s nations to assure the kind of rational development which will be guided by this new global ideal – changes which will be directed towards an equitable distribution of the world’s resources and more fairly satisfy the needs of all peoples.”  

Download: UNESCO, 1975, The Belgrade Charter.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco_1975_the_belgrade_charter.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Because humanity is an integral part of nature, in the long term humanity can only flourish if we live in accord with Earths’ natural cycles. This has been the way for millions of years and we ignore it in favour of short-term mass profit for a few, at our peril.The new global ethic elucidated by UNESCO could guide humanity beyond the present crisis.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“This kind of development will also require the maximum reduction in harmful effects on the environment, the utilization of waste materials for productive purposes, and the design of technologies, which will enable such objectives to be achieved. Above all, it will demand the assurance of perpetual peace through coexistence and cooperation among nations with different social systems. Substantial resources for reallocation to meet human needs can be gained through restricting military budgets and reducing competition in the manufacture of arms. Disarmament should be the ultimate goal.”  

Download: UNESCO, 1975, The Belgrade Charter.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/unesco_1975_the_belgrade_charter.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]Seeing that safeguarding the hydrological cycle is central to achieving water security and thus relates to global defense, 1% annually of the defense budgets of all countries in the U.N could be allocated for its protection and restoration.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

There are laws of nature, which should never have been abused and forgotten. The present crisis we face concerning water security, food security, economic instability and potential wars for water are direct results of our negligence of these laws.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“We recognize, honor and respect water as sacred and sustains all life. Our traditional knowledge, laws and ways of life teach us to be responsible in caring for this sacred gift that connects all life.”  

Download: Indigenous Peoples Kyoto Water Declaration 2003.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/indigenous_peoples_kyoto_water_declaration_2003.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]“If we are members of the earth’s community, then our rights must be balanced against those of plants, animals, rivers and ecosystems.”  

Download: Our Water Commons, Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians, 2008.pdf  [mk_font_icons icon=”moon-file-pdf” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none” link=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/our_water_commons.pdf”][/mk_blockquote]

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

Humanity is after all a part of this incredible, interrelated natural world and we have immeasurable intelligence and capacities when our minds are connected in a common collective focus, for the well being and benefit of the whole.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title tag_name=”h2″ style=”false” color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none” align=”left”]For the survival of all life on Earth, including humanity, it is imperative that we remember and appreciate our living interdependent relationship with all of nature.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
READ MORE


The Common Need For Freshwater

[mk_image src=”http://www.activeremedy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/common-drinking-water.jpg” crop=”false”]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Wherever we live in the world there are things that we all commonly depend upon. These in turn are dependent upon environmental conditions on the other side of the world.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is high time that humanity regains and works with the natural common sense and understanding of this common connectivity. We need to recognise that nature is an interconnected web of interrelated systems in the same way that the human body is and that we are an interlinked part of it and not independent from it.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

No aspects of nature show this more clearly than the atmosphere and the hydrological cycle, which supply the same fundamental air and water to all beings around the world. The same common water that supplied the needs of all our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago provides for our needs today. It is not so long ago that the water in a river in the county where we live, was in a river, lake or even aquifer thousands of miles away.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

We all depend upon a common water cycle and this cycle depends upon common ecosystems around the world to function. Amongst these, mountain ecosystems worldwide play a pivotal and essential role. Mountains are located on all continents and in most countries around the world.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]Mountain regions are essential parts of a common interconnected global system.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

If we were to consider them as the roof of a very large building with many floors and rooms, we could more easily understand their interrelated common relationship. We could more easily perceive the relationship between the different countries in the world, like the various rooms and the mountains regions like the one, all protecting, all maintaining common roof. We could more easily understand the need to take responsibility and collectively care for the whole rather than just the parts, which seem to most directly, affect us.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

As water unites all the parts of our body in one living system, it also unites all environments in one living system. Water makes up approximately 60% of our bodies and we can’t go for more than a few days without it. The global water cycle likewise unites all the regions of nature in a common relationship. Water is a common and absolute necessity.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_blockquote font_family=”none” align=”left”]“Since all people and nature are part of an integrated whole, the well being of all people and nature are essential to us all.” (Growing the Commons, 2013)[/mk_blockquote]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]With so many varied water and climate related crisis, we are all facing common problems.[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

We can no longer afford to put all our focus on maintaining local sources of water without recognising that these are dependent upon global environmental conditions. For successful outcomes, we need to also put a percentage of our focus and energy into maintaining these. Therefore we need to take common responsibility and work together on common solutions.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

It is becoming more and more evident that good international collaboration needs to take place in order to resolve these problems. This is why we need to cooperate with and support communities around the world to maintain our common interests. We also need to give support for the protection and restoration of biodiversity in the mountainous regions of the world.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]

The water cycle is the common uniting factor between all life forms on Earth and is central to life itself. This is most certainly the central commons around which all else spins and is akin to the nucleus at the centre of the atom. All of our well being is intertwined and dependent upon others. We all share a common wish to survive and be happy. We all have more in common than otherwise. We all share a common Earth. We all share a common responsibility towards our ancestors and our descendents.

[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
[mk_fancy_title color=”#393836″ size=”24″ font_weight=”inhert” margin_bottom=”18″ font_family=”none”]How can something that is as vital as water is in sustaining virtually all life on Earth and which is in a constantly changing and regenerating state be anything but a global commons?[/mk_fancy_title]
[mk_padding_divider size=”30″]
READ MORE