environment | February 06, 2013

Shalini Kantayya: A Water Crisis Is Looming—And It's Happening Everywhere

"Water is becoming the commodity of the 21st century." Shalini Kantayya says in a new interview. "In fact, the former president of the World Bank said: if the wars were fought of the last century over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water." That is the message she conveys in her Sci-Fi film A Drop of Life—that we are all in the midst of a water crisis. As she says during the interview on Breakfast Television, she originally intended her film to be based more on fiction than science—until she found out that the things she predicted for the future were already happening today. Water is being rationed and sold, and there are many places in the world where you are not given free access to unlimited water.

Many North Americans think that water shortages are only a problem on the other side of the world. However, Kantayya says that the enormous quantities of water required for hydraulic fracturing or fracking (a process used to harness oil and other energy sources) is a major concern for those in the Western world. Jeff Rubin, a renowned economist, has written two articles recently about this very problem. However, both he and Kantayya believe that reliance on more sustainable energy solutions can not only protect our nature resources (like water) but benefit the economy as well. Rubin has said that the rise in oil prices will trigger a movement toward the use of more sustainable energy sources. And, as Kantayya predicts, "renewable energy could be the economic opportunity of the next century."

Kantayya also presented a screening of her award-winning film Drop of Life to students at MacEwan University. As part of Global Awareness Week on the campus, she presented her thoughts on environmental concerns and participated in a Q&A with the students afterward. The TED Fellow uses film as a medium to explore the intersection of human rights with concerns over depleting resources. In her talks, she discusses the path she has taken to create her films, and why the issues she tackles are important to us all.

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