Cooperation On Water

When the January 2001 conflict is over,the question of how to create a true, just and sustainable peace will be on the agenda. I propose that the approach taken by Middle East Friends of the Earth approach should be expanded, and placed at the heart of the peace agenda.

There are two established principles in conflict resolution: first, find common ground that is of benefit to both parties, and second, introduce a displacement activity to divert attention away from conflict to co-operation, from destruction to construction.

The common ground for both communities is in creating a sustainable living in an arid land. The population in the Land has increased since 1946, and this means that the productivity of the land must be increased to meet the needs of the people there. Water is needed to increase productivity, and at present water is in short supply throughout the Middle East – itself a potential cause for conflict.

What we therefore need is a massive programme of investment and employment in water conservation, water harvesting, and afforestation. This will require significant financial investment, and the EU is one potential source for such, although other agencies could be tapped also. We know that peace in Northern Ireland come after massive infrastructure investment in that country.

Water Conservation

1 Recycling of grey water.
This is happening already, but it needs to be universal, and in towns some technology – such as filters – may be helpful.

2 Earth closets and composting toilets instead of water-mediated sewerage systems.
There are many working models for this approach which we can tap into.

Water Harvesting

Every roof should be a water collecting point, and every building should have a cistern appropriate to the size of the roof. This will create many thousands of jobs in both communities. It will require a large amount of guttering and cisterns, probably made of plastic, preferably recycled. Some of this may come from established and new factories in both communities, some may come from the EU.

This activity will stimulate worthwhile production and good jobs in line with Keynesian policies as a response to the global recession.

Afforestation

Forests act as aerial aquifers, conducting water inland from the sea in the evapotranspiration cycle. Wangari Maathai of the Green Belt Movement finds that an area of trees in Kenya of 15 square kilometres will create its own cloud.
Please see //www.greenhealth.org.uk/DesertRose.htmfor an outline proposal for (re) creating coastal forests, using water from solar desalination plants, and gradually working inland. As you know, trees will moderate the local (and, eventually, global) climate, and provide many other services that are advantageous to humanity.

There are already projects of this nature taking place.

By putting in place these – and other – measures, there will be plenty of work for all, with resulting increase in general prosperity, and less time and energy spent in ruminating on injustices and planning of revenge for same.

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