Facing fears can lead to solutions

By: By Sheelagh Mathews

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 06:00 am

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What scares you most? What is your deepest fear? As for me, I have a few.

Like, right now, I am stuck at page 23 of Doris Lessingís novel, ďThe Cleft,Ē because early on she warns that something scary and very unpleasant will happen at page 29. I like to read just before I go to sleep at night, and I am now too scared to read past page 23 for fear of what Lessing plans to share with me. Will it be so spectacularly awful that Iíll get nightmares? Or, will it change me so Iíll never look at the world in the same way again?

A hard-hitting news program or documentary can have the same effect on me. I find itís always better to shore myself up, like an athlete doing a pre-competition warm-up, before tuning in to shows of this nature.

Turning on the news may not be an easy task for me, or for some of my friends, but in my line of work itís a necessityóeven when itís really scary. Today I have been struggling with the scary news on the topic of water, something so precious, yet so taken for granted.

When you stop to think about it, we use water for pretty much everything, from making a hot cup of coffee to industrial processes that create jobs.

For those who enjoy a cold brewski after work or while watching sports, I suggest you steel yourselves for this next news bite.

The state of Colorado, the home of brewery giant MillerCoors, is experiencing drought conditions even though it is also home to the water-giving Rocky Mountains.

These water shortages are affecting the barley crop, which ultimately means (dread the thought!) there could be a shortage of beer. Thankfully, MillerCoors has come up with some technological solutions to reduce water used in beer production as well as in the crop fields.

But, technology isnít always the answer. Sometimes itís the problem. So, brace yourselves again for whatís about to hit you, and donít say I didnít warn you.

Some of our latest technologies, like those involving oil sands extraction and fracking, have caught the eye of experts associated with the United Nations, a forum for member countries to discuss and debate world issues. They put together a report themed on water and energy, released on International Water Day 2014.

Their findings conclude that the demand for freshwater and energy will continue to increase significantly over the coming decades, and that demand in one will stimulate demand in the other. And, get this, energy demand is predicted to rise by a whopping one-third by 2035. Will there be enough freshwater for all seven-plus billion of us as we all strive to live the good life? I hope weíll be brave enough to ask the scary questions, the kind we might not like the answers to.

Like, are we over-usingóor abusingóthe water that sustains us? From what Iíve read between the lines in the UNís 2014 World Water Development Report, Iím thinking our little blue planet will be a rather dusty brown before too long. And what of our terrestrial forests and flowers and animals? Will there be enough freshwater left for them to survive? Isnít it up to us, those who make the water withdrawals, to make sure there is enough to go around?

Now that this unsettling news about water has come to our attention, how are we ever going to sleep at night? I think the only way is to start taking action, so we can at least take heart in the knowledge that we are doing all we can.

This might look like taking showers every other day. It might mean less car washing and less driving, too. It might mean less rampant consumerism, putting less demand on our worldís water in both resource extraction and manufacturing. Heavens, it might even mean drinking less beer!

No matter what solutions we come up with it, all I know is we wonít come up with any ideas until we are willing to take a close hard look at what we are currently doing.

Taking a deep breath for courage, and then facing our deepest fears so we can do something about themónow thatís in our best interest.


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