Water, food, and energy are resources that play a critical role in sustaining life and life forms. The future lies squarely in supporting these very crucial resources. The world population is increasing tremendously on a daily basis and is currently approximated to be 7.7 billion. Human beings depend on water for existence and survival. Without food, life is at high risk and death becomes inevitable. Energy also is critical for human survival, without which survival chances are limited. This, therefore, brings the concept of interdependence between food, water, and energy. To produce food as a resource, a huge amount of natural water resources is consumed. Water is required for germination, growth process as well as harvesting in many food crops. Without water, food crops are stunted in growth and may eventually die. Energy plays a crucial role in the production, conservation, and processing of food resources and supply.
The resources of food, water, and energy form the topic of discussion in many national, international, corporate and business organizations. The family unit is basic setup where the three resources are discussed on a daily basis. The mention of say food leads to the mention of water and energy. This, therefore, means that the three resources work in a segment that is inseparable.
Of late, these resources have been strained to create a crisis. This crisis means that the resource is available in small amounts or not available at all. The results of the discussion define the measures and mechanisms to ensure the three resources of water, energy, and food are effectively utilized with little or no waste at all. Of major concern in households is the probable impact of depletion of clean water. In the industrial sector, the major concern is the increasing insecurity of availability of fresh food and reliable energy supply (Bazilian et al., 2011).
The three resources are depressed, and an amicable solution to save on their survival is required. The solution has to incorporate the three resources. If a common solution is not found, then the solution found must relate to one or all the three resources. For instance, if the government intends to produce more food, availability of fresh water and its reliability will be the first considerations. Freshwater plays a crucial role in irrigation farming, cooling of machines in industries and refining crude oil. To purify water, on the other hand, require energy in the industries. This shows the interrelationship between the three resources. This interrelationship makes these resources strategic.
Impacts of increased standards of living on Food, Water, and Energy
When the economy grows, peoples purchasing power is improved. This increases the demand for food, water, and energy. People tend to shift from the rural areas to settle in the cities and urban settings. Advancement in technology is an indicator of improved standards of living. Improved living standards put more pressure on food, water, and energy. When one moves and settles in the urban area, he or she puts more pressure on these resources by increasing the demand. Consequently, prices rise. There is limited space in the urban areas for growth of resources like food. This implies that much of what is consumed in the urban areas comes from the rural areas (Popp et al., 2014).
Strategies that Countries can put in place to ensure availability of Food, Water, and Energy
Food, water, and energy are scarce resources which means their accessibility is of concern. Again, the high costs involved to access these resources are alarming. This has, therefore, prompted stakeholders to revisit this issue to address the crisis. The government has played a key role by providing subsidies on raw materials especially on food products. Farm inputs have been subsidized to lower their costs so that the final product becomes affordable to the consumer. Again, formulation of policies to regulate water and energy use such that there will be little or no waste. There has been a public campaign and advertisements advising consumers and users on the most effective way to utilize the resource (Bizikova et al., 2013).
It is advisable for governments all over the world to embrace new technologies on developing alternatives for these critical resources. Water can be reused or recycled to save on the available quantities. More players have been brought on board to safeguard the resources. Natural resources that act as catchment areas have been protected through gazettement notice to avoid human settlement.
The government needs to enact policies and strategies that bring all players on board so that protection efforts are carried out by all. If one player is left out, feelings of frustration develop. This consequently frustrates conservation efforts. If the efforts are not collectively done, the economy will be negatively affected; political unrest will be rampant as demonstrators will be more in the streets. This will further create an energy crisis. The government will be compelled to release food reserves as producers will have reduced food production and supply. If possible, all idle land held by the government and other investors need to be leased for agricultural production. This will in turn increase food production.
Despite the skyrocketing demand for energy, a transition from fossil fuels to Alternative energy sources on a large scale is not expected to occur in the short term. Why?
To change from todays fossil fuel consumption to alternative sources is easier said than done. For instance, to convert wind and water into mechanical sources of energy, and to make them produce electricity is highly achievable. However, the challenge is its economic viability and storage. The challenge of storing enough for the world population is big.
The primary sources of energy today are fossil fuels. However, they are prone to depletion since fossil fuels are a non-renewable source of energy. Efforts to seek a better renewable source have not been very fruitful. Fossil fuel is greatly valuable and extensively important in households across the world (Ellaban et al., 2014).
What Actions should be taken to speed this transition?
Global warming is currently an issue of concern to scientists and politicians. Carbon dioxide emissions are directly proportional to the global warmth experienced. This exposition has reduced the compelling force to use alternative energy sources as an option to fossil fuels. The policies set on climate change need to be applied by all countries without limitations. More education forums on climate change and its effects need to be carried out.
What is the Long-Term cost of a gradual versus a rapid move to alternatives?
The global effects of climate change have always driven the campaign to the use of alternative sources of energy. The alternatives have little carbon dioxide emissions and therefore will help to reduce global warming and climate change gradually. The climate cares little about the efficiency of our machines. Machines care about the quality of fossil fuels as opposed to climate change effects.
Bazilian, M., Rogner, H., Howells, M., Hermann, S., Arent, D., Gielen, D., ... & Yumkella, K. K. (2011). Considering the energy, water and food nexus: Towards an integrated modelling approach. Energy Policy, 39(12), 7896-7906.
Bizikova, L., Roy, D., Swanson, D., Venema, H. D., & McCandless, M. (2013). The water-energy-food security nexus: Towards a practical planning and decision-support framework for landscape investment and risk management. Winnipeg, Manitoba: International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Ellabban, O., Abu-Rub, H., & Blaabjerg, F. (2014). Renewable energy resources: Current status, future prospects and their enabling technology. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 39, 748-764.
Holt, N., Shukla, S., Hochmuth, G., Munoz-Carpena, R., & Ozores-Hampton, M. (2017). Transforming the food-water-energy-land-economic nexus of plasticulture production through compact bed geometries. Advances in Water Resources.Popp, J., Lakner, Z., Harangi-Rakos, M., & Fari, M. (2014). The effect of bioenergy expansion: food, energy, and environment. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 32, 559-578.
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