11 Mar 2008

Water Wisdom

Kenneth E. Boulding's Feather River Anthology, a ten-stanza poem on water policy [here], is as true today as it was 40 years ago:
Water is needed for use as detergent
But washing is seldom exceedingly urgent
Water for drinking is all very fine
But Frenchman get by with the drinking of wine.
Water is useful for flushing the toilet,
But sewage is good if you filter and boil it
Water has many industrial uses
But most kinds of cooking can stew in its juices.
Water is flexible, water is plastic
And both its supply and demand are elastic.
So what is the fuss about, what is the hurry?
And why is this fluid the source of such worry?
The answer, perhaps, will be found in the time it
May take to ensure against the changes of climate
For water in storage, stashed safely away
Is a rainy day fund for the non-rainy day.
Boulding is credited as the founder of evolutionary economics: "The World is a very complex system. It is easy to have too simple a view of it, and it is easy to do harm and to make things worse under the impulse to do good and make things better." He died fifteen years ago, on March 18. R.I.P.

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