“Thanks to irrigation, Saudi Arabia has been able to grow its own supply of wheat for more than 20 years.  But wheat production is collapsing because the aquifer used for irrigation is almost depleted.  Water supplies and grain production are also declining in Syria and Iraq.  Wells are starting to go dry in parts of India.  China is over-pumping water, especially in the North China Plain.  About half of the world’s population lives in countries where the water tables are falling.  Saudi Arabia, China and South Korea have been leasing or buying land in other countries, especially Ethiopia and Sudan, to grow grain for their citizens.  The potential for conflict between countries over water is very high, says environmentalist Lester Brown (Foreign Policy, May/June).”  “Century Marks,” The Christian Century, 14 June 2011, page 9.

I can’t help but wonder how global climate change is going to impact this situation.  The scientists tell us that, in general, global warming will affect dry climates by making the drier and wet climates by making them wetter.  When these dry places have even less water, what will they do to feed their people?  With Saudi Arabia and China (and to a lesser extend South Korea) being global financial powerhouses, how will they use this power in the face of climate change?

While I don’t have answers to these questions, it is clear to me that addressing climate change is a moral issue.  It’s about feeding people.  It’s about the moral use of power.  It’s about peace.

Maybe sometime (soon, I hope), the world’s political leaders will see this reality and fulfill their leadership obligations to cooperatively address the issue.

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