Blog Post 3: The Freshwater Crisis, Agriculture, and Climate Change, who’s responsible?

Developing Third World countries are the ones who will, ultimately, be negatively affected the most by climate change but it is the First World countries that are the ones who are causing it. It’s hard to admit to yourself that despite how much you care, living in a first world country, especially the United States, that you are part of the problem. Buying meat specifically, and other foods from grocery stores that are supplied by large food corporations alone is essentially feeding the climate change issue.

According to the Climate Institute, 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions (the most abundant of the GHGs) is due to agriculture. Main factors of agriculture contributing to global warming are deforestation, fertilizers that are fossil fuel based, and the burning of biomass. 30% of the world’s land is dedicated to agriculture, and first world countries like the US, Europe and Australia are the only ones who benefit. All of this pertains also to the freshwater crisis.

Thirty-seven different nations on this planet suffer from freshwater depletion, and a big part of this is due to climate change. Agriculture is not only a large factor in global warming but also a massive user of freshwater. 98% of the world’s water is saltwater while the remaining 2% is freshwater. 70% of that 2% is snow and ice, 30% is groundwater, and less then 0.5% is surface water;lakes, rivers, and streams. Because of the emissions produces from agriculture the sea ice and glaciers are melting, causing the freshwater to mix with the oceans, erasing said freshwater from existence. That’s not all: the higher the temperature the more water evaporates into the air causing either too heavy of a rainfall or severe drought.

All of this is happening because of the first world countries who have set the world on a path of destruction, all because we feel that we need more and more food. While we grow the food we need and raise thousands of cattle for slaughter even more people on the other side of the globe are suffering from hunger and lack of freshwater to drink, cook, and bathe with.

What needs to happen now is first world countries, need to fix it. They need to find ways to farm organically and in more efficient ways, they need to find ways to desalinate ocean water, create reservoirs to store it and pipe systems to transport it so that a mother in Ethiopia can give her child a glass of water instead of walking forty miles to get water that causes a plethora of waterborne diseases to infect said child. We have to do something about it because not only do we have the resources but we’re also at fault.


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