Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thirsty Thursday: Dust to Dust

The theme for yesterday's International Day of Biodiversity, which I failed to mention, was water. Now this is going to be a short post, but I just wanted to point people towards a recent article in The New York Times that describes how sucking the land dry hurts not only ecosystems and biodiversity, but also the ability for people to produce food and make a living. Specifically, the piece looks at groundwater aquifer, the water equivalent of a fossil fuel. These underwater lakes of sorts require thousands of years to regenerate.

Irrigated crops tend to be more productive, and particularly during heat spells or drought, they have a greater likelihood of making it through. But as these occurrences become the norm and groundwater levels continue to drop, farmers will have to turn to more innovative responses. Switching crops, from thirsty corn to something like sorghum. Perhaps our Midwestern farmers need to take a lesson from water-scarce areas in California or Israel, where there is innovation in irrigation. Or maybe working on building up the soil organic matter to hold more water. Regardless, this is something that has become painfully clear to most - usable water is running out, and it's either going to be adapt or so long.

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