World Water Crisis

“Mixed cropping is the best method. Every crop does something to the soil and helps others to grow, either by providing safety against insects or enriching the soil with leaf fall. Further, we feel secure in the thought that if one crop fails there others to sustain us.

The best thing about this method is that our traditional crops are very hardy and can survive under hostile conditions.” Gangwar, a 70 year old woman supported by DDS, India

Professor John Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor , was on the BBC’s Today programme this morning.

He warned that a “perfect storm” of food shortages, scare water and insufficient energy resources mean that the world is facing imminent major upheavals, with things coming to a head in 2030. He placed a particular emphasis on the problem of water scarcity but remained relatively non committal on certain possible solutions to the crisis, even when John Humphrys pushed him to comment on the fact that GM had not yet delivered on its’ promises and on the need for a revision of our consumption patterns.

Water is, according to UNESCO’s Koichiro Matsuura the “principal medium through which climate change will affect economic, social and environmental conditions. There is an urgent need to strengthen capacity – especially in the poorest countries – to cope with more frequent and intense water-related disasters caused by climate change.”

So, if GM is failing to deliver on its promises, what are the alternatives?

I was pleased to come across an Inter Press Service article today, posted on the Agricultural Biodiversity weblog, about the Deccan Development Society, a partner we worked with for seven years. The article states that in Zaheerabad, dalit (the broken) women forming the lowest rung of India’s stratified society, now demonstrate adaptation to climate change by following a system of interspersing crops that do not need extra water, chemical inputs or pesticides for production.

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