From time to time we all start wondering how our life would be without the things we consider indispensable (no, I am not talking about your BlackBerry!!!). As the list gets longer and longer and we all keep getting used to this comfortable life, we do not realize how important everyday things are in our life until–for some reason–we lose them.
This morning was freezing at home, so I put on my robe and ran quickly to the bathroom to take a hot shower. I closed the door, turned on the lights (that is the correct order so I don’t wake my wife up–as she instructed me), got into the shower, spun the water knob and voilà–there was no water!!! I completely freaked out. It was not only about the shower, and the shaving, and the cleaning teeth, and the hot tea–it was everything!!! I was stuck there and boy it was cold!
Suddenly, I realized I had spent two days researching and writing stuff about bio-fuels, wind and solar power, and some other alternative sources of energy, but the truth is we have no substitute for water.
The UN says it is predictable, if present consumption patterns continue, two out of three people will live in drought or water-stressed conditions by 2025 (yes, less than 20 years from now). And it is not about having a hot shower every morning, it is about surviving.
Did you know agriculture is accountable for about 70 percent of all fresh water withdrawals? I certainly didn’t. The problem is, since global population keeps growing, more water will be required for domestic and industrial use, so it will be impossible for farmers to keep up this rate of consumption.
Water shortages throughout critical times of the growing season are going to be a major problem for farmers around the world. Climate changes are also expected to lead to drier conditions and more frequent droughts in some parts of the world. Agriculture must find a way to reduce the use of water and increase the yields to face the growing demand for crops for both food and fuel–at the same time. So, without water you are not going to have food either, but do not worry, the odds are you are not going to starve to death; you are more likely to dehydrate first.
Over the last several years, the ag industry has focused biotech resources and expertise on the discovery and development of drought-tolerant traits and, again, Monsanto is leading the crusade. Its pipeline of biotech crops is focused on environmental-stress adaptation. Included in the pipeline are drought-tolerant crops and nitrogen-efficiency genes. Drought-tolerant crops are designed to provide greater yield stability in years when crops would otherwise suffer due to drought conditions. These products will take some of the risk out of farming in both developed and developing countries. Nitrogen-use efficiency can potentially contribute to a significant reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining high grain yield at lower nitrogen levels.
GM crops that are drought resistant may be grown by farmers around the world within 4-5 years. Drought-tolerant oilseed rape plants have been in field trials in the Mid-West, Colorado and California for four years now and are at the most advanced stage of development. A drought-tolerant variety of maize has been tested too, but only for about two years. Also, biotechnologists are working on modifications for more efficient water use, larger seeds, heat tolerance and increased biomass.
The biotech industry has found a way to decrease the use of water for future generations and let agriculture keep providing food resources for the world growing population. Now, it is time for us improve our abilities to reduce our water consumption.
10 Reasons We Do Need GM Foods
- Why we need GM Foods
- “The future rests in the soil beneath our feet”
- It is about improving nutrition
- The World is Bigger Than Your House
Santiago is a Manager of Public Affairs at Monsanto. He was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, post-graduate studies in Social Communication & Media and an MBA in Marketing Management. Prior to working at Monsanto, Santiago taught PR for almost seven years while working as a Communications Advisor for several organizations and industries. He also worked for a multi-national IT company and an Oil & Gas company as PR Manager.