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Lenten Reflection

posted 6 Mar 2012, 05:38 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 24 Nov 2017, 10:40 by Websites Ahoy ]
Greetings for Lent 2012 – a time to pause and reflect, especially in this dry weather!

Most (4/5ths) of the planet’s fresh water is locked up in ice at the two poles, which are under threat of significant melting due to climate change. 96% of all glaciers are in retreat, prompting declining sources of melt-water into major river systems. Around the Mediterranean basin and elsewhere, over extraction from underground sources has caused levels to fall and aquifers are flooded with sea water. Water tables have dropped by between 30 and 300 metres in countries such as Spain and Greece.

The increasing unreliability of the rainy season in parts of Africa and Asia is prolonging droughts and causing the displacement of communities. Excessive use of water for mono-cropping, tourism and poor irrigation systems exacerbates shortages. Privatisation of water supplies for bottling also provokes problems, particularly in Latin America. Scarcity of supply in some areas is matched by extreme and unpredictable rainfall in others, leading to severe flash floods, destruction and loss of life. As usual, it is those people and places which are already at a disadvantage that are the most vulnerable.

In recent weeks, we have been aware of the lack of water in the UK – especially in the SE of England, but even affecting parts of the South West. Devon is a moderate risk drought area this Spring. The recent government White Paper, Water For Life, said the population of England will rise by just under 10 million by 2035, "with much of this increase likely to be concentrated in areas which are already some of the most water-stressed parts of the country." Demand is growing and supply shrinking…

The picture is the same almost everywhere. Water, which churches identify as a ‘gift of God and source of life’ is facing serious dangers. The effects of contamination, climate change and commodification are combining to pose huge risks to the planet’s life support systems. Our industrial activity and lifestyles are disrupting the hydrological (water) cycle to such an extent that some now talk of ‘Peak Water’ and ‘Water Wars’.

In the face of this dilemma, we all need to take concerted action to reduce our own demands on water, to refuse bottled supplies transported across long distances, to support Lenten and other timely campaigns addressing these issues, and continue to act to bring down our own carbon emissions in as many ways as possible…