5 Aug 2014

The nexus has no clothes!

In response to this post, IO emailed:
I am interested in reading a little more about the critique of the water-energy-food nexus framework that has been on the research agenda lately. I have read your August 1st post on it and would appreciate if you could direct me towards a literature in the area.
to which I replied:
There's a huge industry of consultants, bureaucrats, funders and academics devoted to "studying" the nexus.

I am in an extreme minority that says the topic is too complex to understand -- and therefore not worth studying or "managing."

The literature supporting my perspective would say "we do not understand," but those pieces are very rarely published. One example I'd recommend is a little book of philosophy called The Emperor's New Clothes*
Bottom Line: It's hard to tell people that the best action is no action at all.**

* Note the parallels with "swindlers."

** I don't say ignore water or energy. I say "price it right" so that people make choices that aggregate (as if guided by an invisible hand) into a total demand that does not deplete water... or energy or iPhones or cereals. We're talking about commodity (private) water here, btw, not communal (public) water.