Is there any chance that the great rivers on this wonderful, beautiful blue planet will not die? How can we stop this dying off of our most cherished and important natural resource before it is too late? Can we, or are we destined to watch the planet’s potable water dry up? It will happen, the only questions would then be when, and how can we, as a civilization, prepare for it? Will great rivers die? Is there even a slight chance that they won’t?
From manufacturing waste, emissions and effluent from recreational and commercial shipping to sewage from major cities being dumped into our waters directly, with no treatment at all. Mankind has done more damage to the great rivers worldwide in the past 100 years than we have in the past 10,000 years. The question now becomes when will the rest of the great rivers die?
These questions need to be addressed on a Global scale, not just in North America, where over 20 percent of the worlds fresh water is located in the Great Lakes and Canada‘s wealth of lakes and rivers.
The Himalayan Ice Glacier, which is expected to vanish within the next 30 years, provides the water for about one-sixth of the Planets’ population. How will that water be replaced? It won’t. And, that is just one Glacial river system in peril. With China, Russia, India and many other industrialized, as well as nuclear powered countries also relying on Glacial rivers for their water sources, many great rivers are in peril of disappearing, solely from Glacial disappearances. Considering Glacial runoff accounts for almost 85 percent of the Worlds’ fresh water, once they are gone, the great rivers that they feed will almost certainly dry up.
Too many Countries are relying upon these great rivers to provide hydro-electricity for powering factories, homes and businesses. Unfortunately, the method is almost always by damming a major river, making a huge depository of fresh water that is supposed to be running downstream. But this water from major rivers is now stuck in a man-made lake, evaporating at a much higher rate, warming up and killing plankton and other fish foods, and being polluted at rates that make searching for another way to harvest water power for electricity an utmost emergency for the entire world.
Irrigation systems that were reliant on these major rivers that were changed by man is drying the rivers up further down-stream. The people living in those areas had no choice, no word in the process that stole their homes and ways of life, and they are the ones most affected by it, many having to relocate to refugee camps.
Is a river owned by the country that it flows through? Or are major river systems a world asset? Why would one country, near the source of the river, have autonomy when ruining the river with excessive pollution? This one element could change the way we that we treat our great rivers, so that any people who rely upon a river system would have to be compensated appropriately for the loss of their irrigation, drinking, cooking and bathing waters, and the trickle-down economic losses.
Or, more simply, the damming of these great rivers for electricity production should not be allowed due to all of the trickle-down effects. Where would the fish come from once these great rivers are gone? Every Continent, every Country is faced with this problem. Many people make their livings off of the great rivers that have been, or are being dammed up, and the loss of those incomes and foodstuffs is more than just problematic, it is catastrophic, and irreplaceable.
Will great rivers die? If we allow them to, they surely will, and the clock is winding down.