2020 was a year of unprecedented events, and it ended with some disturbing news: water – the vital source of life on Earth – is being traded on Wall Street, even whilst roughly 785 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service, according to the World Health Organization. Agriculture – arguably the most important industry for our survival – consumes roughly 67% of our water supply, making sustainable agriculture and water security two urgent and interlinked challenges. Given this interconnection, water shortage means food shortage, and while climate change is putting increasing pressure on both water sources and food production, it is time to rethink the way we use natural resources to produce food. We need an alternative to current agricultural models, and aquaponics is emerging as a sustainable solution.
Alarmism is counterproductive, so it’s important to bear in mind that several experts assure that trading water on Wall Street is simply a financial mechanism to improve water management. However, what is impossible to ignore from this stock market event is that if we don’t act quickly to reassess our water use, this vital natural resource will soon be in short supply.