Quartz members, we’re running out of water.
There are 700 million people on this planet without access to clean drinking water and if we don’t start making big changes, that number is only going to increase. Our state of play memo today examines why and where water is becoming a precious resource.
Sure, you can look a map of the world and think, “Look at all the water that’s out there! How can we be lacking any?” But the truth is more complicated than that. More than 97% of the Earth’s water is in its oceans, seas, and bays. That means it’s salty, making that water useless to most everybody and everything. Desalination has long been promised as a solution to this problem, but it has far from delivered us. The energy requirements of desalination—even more advanced reverse-osmosis facilities—are still so great that they can cause environmental problems of their own.
We’re going to have to radically rethink the way we use water. It is the source of life, but it’s increasingly the source of conflict. For a long time, much of the developed world could think water scarcity was only an issue in another part of the globe, but climate change and population growth are bringing water problems to every country on every continent. Fortunately, there are people dedicating themselves to solving this global challenge. Over the course of the week, you’ll learn more about some of them. You’ll also get:
- A revealing Q&A with Peter Gleick, the world’s foremost authority on water
- A look at the global water crisis through charts and infographics
- A photo essay showing the effects of drought on various regions
- A thought-provoking essay that will have you rethink the way you use water
- And much more
This is an important and fast-moving issue. Our ingenuity and creativity has accomplished so much thus far—we’re going to need it to ensure future generations have this necessity for centuries to come
Let’s keep learning. Send questions, comments, and innovation to email@example.com.
I hope you have a rewarding day,