Friday, April 10, 2009

Darfur as a harbinger

Jeffrey Sachs has already illustrated the fact that the conflict and genocide in Darfur is largely a conflict over control of a single strategic natural resource. Not diamonds, not oil - water. Well, expect more crises of like kind. Just take this story in this week's Economist. Over 50 years our population has increased by a factor of 2.25. Water use has increased by a factor of 3. Diets have become more protein-intensive; therfore more water-intensive. Climate change has made weather patterns more extreme and less predictable while melting the icecaps. When you think about how much fighting is done over luxuries like diamonds and oil, just imagine what happens when folks need run short on water, which we have treated as free. The diamond-water paradox may play itself out not to be a paradox one day after all.

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