Mad Max, Fury road to the H2O crisis


NASA’s head water connoisseur Mr. Famigletti had said that Mad Max shows a reality of our water-less days ahead and that the dust bowls of the movie aren’t that far-gone from what California’s Death Valley will be like in half a century’s time.

“Water is the oil of the 21st century,” had asserted Andrew Liveris, CEO of DOW Chemical Company (quoted in The Economist magazine, August 21, 2008). The United Nations has projected (if current consumption rates continue) a staggering 2.7 billion people across the globe will face severe water shortages as soon as 2025. That’s more than a third of the world’s population.

Currently scientists don’t know how much longer the planets dwindling aquifers will last — 10 years? 2000 years? While the time frame is unclear, the urgency of the situation is not. We need to scale up, diversify and save at the source. That's because the tap water in Flint looks like below and can this happen in our cities too, may be very soon:

And maybe you see that and go, "So what? I've had brown water come out of my pipes a couple times. Man up, Michigan." But the water in Flint isn't just ugly: It's filled with lead. A water expert from the Environmental Protection Agency found that at least one home in the area had more than 10 times the EPA's red-alert level of lead coming out of the faucets. In all, about 9,000 children were exposed.

Some facts:

1) 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people.
2) More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.
3) Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.

The kicker is that, unlike carbon emissions, if one person conserves x amount of water, and another person on the other side of the world uses a surplus of x amount of water, it doesn’t even out. If I in Japan – a country with a high amount of rainfall – conserve water, it doesn’t do an  Australian sheep farmer a lick of good. They say all politics is local, and water usage is the same. It’s up to each local to use its supply wisely.

Hollywood will continue to play a role in the battle against water scarcity Could humanity be saved by Hollywood’s location in the drought-ridden state of California? Although its interest won’t save the world, there’s no doubt that having Hollywood on board helps activists battle water scarcity.

As Famigletti repeatedly mentions: the world of Mad Max was clearly inspired by California’s water-parched landscape. Awareness of the world’s water crisis is vital, especially in Western countries that may not, yet, be facing drought. By continuing to feature water as a coveted commodity, Hollywood has managed to bring the subject of drought to international attention.

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