As Floridians, we are surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful waters.
However, we are currently facing a hidden water crisis that risks ruining our beautiful state and the entire global community.
Floridians can expect to feel the impacts of a water crisis as sea levels rise, our fisheries are threatened and our aquifers are depleted.
By 2050, as many as 6 billion people worldwide will face water insecurity, leading to disease, conflict and the death of those most vulnerable, especially children. A global water crisis is on the horizon and, for the sake of our generation’s future, action must be taken now.
Our political science class at the University of North Florida presented a series of ambitious policy recommendations to officials in Washington in hopes of ending the global water crisis before it is too late.
Our work was well-received, but we discovered a stunning lack of urgency. It is clearly up to us to make waves and have our actions ripple throughout the global community.
The global water crisis must be elevated within the U.S. bureaucracy by creating a U.S. Ambassador for Global Water and a National Security Senior Director for Global Water. The administration should promote the cultivation of water sustainable crops, including reducing the stigma of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by rebranding the label to Sustainable Agriculture for Everyone (SAFE) and introducing Water Agriculture Sustainable Products (WASP) standards to encourage low water use. This would result in the use of more products that have a low water footprint.
We must also promote the development of new technologies with the goal of finding innovative solutions to the water crisis. We should change our desalination efforts to more efficient reverse osmosis plants and implement UV water disinfection.
Globally, the full financial burden of fossil fuel subsidies, along with the resulting environmental and social impact, is more than $5.2 trillion. To fund these solutions, the U.S. government should redirect our $20 billion in annual fossil fuel subsidies to fund these new technologies. Similarly, these global subsidies can help the world reach the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal on achieving universal access to clean water.
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