Climate journalism is like being at a third-world bazar where the media behave like merchants all shouting, pitching their catastrophe stories.Die Welt’s recent piece From Proud Jordan River, To A Smelly Trickle (roughly translated) features the crisis of water consumption and the injustice of water’s uneven distribution. Now water needs to be redistributed, along with wealth and misery.
Although the article is mainly a rant against Israeli water policy, its other objective is to admonish western societies for their profligate use of water.
This is a theme that’s steadily gaining traction on the environmental front here in Europe – along with biodiversity, ocean acidification, manmade microscopic aerosols and climate change. It’s the latest hot-seller catastrophe joining the enviro-bazar.
Die Welt doesn’t hold back citing environmental and activist groups for its reliable, “unbiased” and shocking information. At first the story focusses on Israeli water management and how it’s unfair to neighboring countries.
Die Welt writes:
According to Amnesty International, the average Israeli consumes 300 liters of water daily, while a Palestinian consumes only 70 liters. In poor regions a mere 20 liters is available daily for each person.
At the end of the story, Die Welt admonishes western lifestyles and its excessive use of water.
The story concludes with a photo gallery that informs readers how much water consumption is needed to manufacture some basic daily products we enjoy in our daily lives. Examples:
1 hamburger: 2400 litres
1 hardboiled egg for breakfast: 135 litres
1 slice of bread: 40 litres
10 grams of cheese: 50 litres
1 cup of coffee: 140 liters
1 German breakfast: 365 liters
200 grams of potato chips: 185 liters
2-gram computer chip: 32 liters
1 sheet of paper: 10 liters
1 cotton T-shirt: 4100 liters!
1 pair of cowhide shoes: 8000 liters
1 new car: 450,000 liters
The idea is to tell us consumers that we are simply consuming too much water and that it’s having catastrophic impacts on the environment and poor people. It’s unfair and it has to be regulated. We need to feel guilty about it.
Wikipedia lists the potential manifestations of excessive water consumption:
There are several principal manifestations of the water crisis.
– Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people
– Groundwater over drafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields
– Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
– Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare.
Expect the water crisis to get worse (not in reality, but in the media and political world). Get ready to hear a lot more about this in the future. Water-saving devices will be joining energy-saving devices soon in the government’s force-the-people-to-buy-list.