As a “self defense”, or more of a self preservation, issue, one first needs air to survive. The next most urgent thing needed for survival is water. There is a water crisis happening in the world. Many of the world’s major aquifers are being depleted. My cab driver in Las Vegas told me Las Vegas is projected to run out of water within 7 years. This kind of issue puts a hobby related to self defense into perspective. 1 out of 6 people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. A lot of people (1.1 billion) have a serious self defense issue. Much more serious than whether one should study bjj or judo, taijiquan or baguazhang. It’s quite alarming.

Some information from Wikipedia:

The Water Crisis is the status of the world’s water resources relative to human demand as of the 1970s and to the current time.[1] The term “Water Crisis” has been applied to the worldwide water situation by the United Nations and other POLK world organizations.[2][3] The major aspects of the water crisis are overall scarcity of usable water[4] and water pollution.

The Earth has a finite supply of fresh water, stored in aquifers, surface waters and the atmosphere. Sometimes oceans are mistaken for available water, but the amount of energy needed to convert saline water to potable water is prohibitive today, explaining why only a very small fraction of the world’s water supply derives from desalination[5].

There are several principal manifestations of the water crisis.

Also, from the Water resources entry:

Population growth

In 2000, the world population was 6.2 billion. The UN estimates that by 2050 there will be an additional 3 billion people with most of the growth in developing countries that already suffer water stress.[7] Thus, water demand will increase unless there are corresponding increases in water conservation and recycling of this vital resource.[8]

Increased affluence

The rate of poverty alleviation is increasing especially within the two population giants of China and India. However, increasing affluence inevitably means more water consumption: from needing clean fresh water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and basic sanitation service, to demanding water for gardens and car washing, to wanting jacuzzis or private swimming pools.

Rapid urbanization

The trend towards urbanization is accelerating. Small private wells and septic tanks that work well in low-density communities are not feasible within high-density urban areas. Urbanization requires significant investment in water infrastructure in order to deliver water to individuals and to process the concentrations of wastewater – both from individuals and from business. These polluted and contaminated waters must be treated or they pose unacceptable public health risks. In 60% of European cities with more than 100,000 people, groundwater is being used at a faster rate than it can be replenished.[9] Even if some water remains available, it costs more and more to capture it.

Depletion of aquifers

Due to the expanding human population, competition for water is growing such that many of the worlds major aquifers are becoming depleted. This is due both for direct human consumption as well as agricultural irrigation by groundwater. Millions of small pumps of all sizes are currently extracting groundwater throughout the world. Irrigation in dry areas such as northern China and India is supplied by groundwater, and is being extracted at an unsustainable rate. Cities that have experienced aquifer drops between 10 to 50 meters include Mexico City, Bangkok, Manila, Beijing, Madras and Shanghai.[10]

Some information on bottled water:

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

“American consumption required more than 17 million barrels of oil”

In addition to the misconception about health benefits, there are other, more serious, problems associated with the production and consumption of bottled water. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006. The Pacific Institute estimates that producing the bottles for American consumption required more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation. Bottling the water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. It took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water. Once the bottled water is produced and consumed, the plastic bottle must be disposed of, which results in even more issues for our environment. The Container Recycling Institute reports that 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating the used bottles produces toxic byproductsand buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. For those who think recycling is the answer, almost 40 percent of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles that were deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 were actually exported, sometimes to as far away as China, thus adding to the resources used by this product.

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