Summit on Human Dignity 2020
Water Is Life: A New Ethic for Our Most Sacred Resource
March 2 through March 12, 2020
A forum to examine and address water conservation in light of the Gospel's call to respect and promote the human dignity of each person.
Mission Statement Introduction
Investor Micheal Burry became somewhat of a household name during the Great Recession of 2008. He made millions by betting against or “shorting” the housing bubble. The epilogue of his story told in the book “The Big Short” reveals that Burry has now taken the money he made predicting the collapse of the housing market and has invested it in another commodity he believes is on the verge of a collapse — water. According to the first U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, “By 2030 humanity's annual global water requirements will exceed current sustainable water supplies by 40%. Absent major policy interventions, water insecurity will generate widespread social and political instability and could even contribute to state failure in regions important to U.S. national security.”
The reasons for this crisis are alarming and varied. In 2025, the global population is expected to hit 8 billion, rising 1 billion in just over a decade. Most of this growth is coming from the developing world where demand for freshwater will rise exponentially. This is occurring simultaneously with a massive decrease in global freshwater supplies from underground aquifers to receding glaciers. According to Global Water Security, "one-third of the world's population will live near water basins where the water deficit will be larger than 50% by 2030." Additionally the global middle class is growing and changing their dietary preferences to mirror those of the developed world which means eating more meat. “Already today, some 93% of freshwater consumed is devoted to agriculture.” Lastly, a large reason for the global water crisis can be traced to the same irritation we face every morning with the kitchen faucet that continues to drip even though we’ve been meaning to fix it — leaks. Urban “water leakage” averages 30-50% in many major metropolitan areas around the globe. We have been poor stewards of the most precious natural resource our earth has to offer. Therefore, we must re-examine our relationship with what comes out of the tap in order to make sure the tap keeps working. As a Chinese proverb states, “When you drink water, remember the spring.”