Why bring sustainability and urbanization together on June 8th at the Executive Council’s Sustainable Cities conference in New York? From The Economist: “The problem is not strictly a matter of water scarcity. Indeed, expanding the availability of water may actually increase disease…So hygiene and protected storage are essential. Yet there is a shortage of safe water for drinking and sanitation in many places, not least in the cities to which so many people are now flocking.”
Water is indeed the big issue that is only now beginning to get traction. A recent special issue of National Geographic made it clear that it is far more important than having reached peak oil. Basic availability is shifting as glaciers and snow lines retreat. Don’t live near a glacier? The food you and most of the world eats is dependent in some form on snow melt. Aging water infrastructure wastes millions of gallons a day: New York City’s alone wastes about 25 million gallons each day. However, progress can be made as evidenced in Boston.
Water scarcity — and climate change-related resource scarcity in general — and urbanization are two of what I call Pillar Trends that will reshape how we live and work. These are large, global shifts of which no single individual, organization, or nation can move the trend line yet of which all will feel the effects. It’s a case of understand and adapt — or endure the consequences.
Join in me in New York on June 8th to learn more? We’re even offering free passes to five people who offer the most provocative questions to post to our speakers (check out the Executive Council on Facebook for details or leave your question in comments section here). I hope that this post wets, er whets, your intellectual appetite.