Water is among the natural resources—including oil, fish, timber, and minerals—that face increasing demand as a result of population increases and economic growth. “A report reflecting the joint judgment of US intelligence agencies warned last year that the use of water as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism would become more likely in the next decade in some regions. The InterAction Council, comprising more than 30 former heads of state or government, has called for urgent action to prevent some countries battling severe water shortages from becoming failed states. The US State Department, for its part, has upgraded water to ‘a central US foreign policy concern.'”
What’s the Big Idea?
A greater stressor on world water demand than livestock production or economic growth is, surprisingly, the growth of humanity’s waistline. “The average body mass index (BMI) of humans has been increasing in the post-World War II period, but especially since the 1980’s, with the prevalence of obesity doubling in the past three decades. Heavier citizens make heavier demands on natural resources, especially water and energy. The issue thus is not just about how many mouths there are to feed, but also how much excess body fat there is on the planet.”