The debates on climate change are not going away. The COP26 climate change summit has begun in Glasgow, and the key discussion is centered on limiting CO2 emissions. However, everyone agrees in unison that manifestations of climate change spin around the water. Extreme torrential rains, floods, droughts, food insecurity, rising ocean levels that bring climate risks are associated with water.

Sufficient water is vital for humans and all ecosystems. Water is the key to everything, therefore also to climate protection and consequently global security.

How come that there is no life on Mars or the Moon? Even though there is CO2 in their atmosphere, there is no liquid water to support life. Since there’s water on planet Earth, there’s photosynthesis. For photosynthesis to occur intensively, we need energy (we get it from the Sun) and CO2 (we have it in the atmosphere), and water, which is present on the Earth’s surface and in the soil.

Soil moisture supports life if humans do not alter the watersheds, draining the rainwater and sending it out to the sea, regulating the streams into straight concrete river highways.

The abundance of water on the land is provided through the process of biomass production during photosynthesis. These natural resources ensure the existence of all life and cultivate civilization by accumulating capital through the development of technology. The wealth of society multiplies when humans manage to spread information.

I label this process a water rotor. It permanently needs ample water to function effectively, and this water is supplied by rain. If we limit rainfall accumulation in the water rotor, its functionality slows down and ceases to produce natural resources.

It’s a fact that water can’t be lost from planet Earth. Unfortunately, there is always human error and a lack of understanding. Anthropological land-use changes altered the hydrologic cycles.

Humans altered the watersheds to develop large industrial and agricultural practices that require extensive soil drainage. If they limit rain infiltration into ecosystems, people need to realize that water is lost from water rotors.

Instead, heavily regulated streams speed the drainage of the watersheds out to the sea, and the rainwater accumulates in the rivers instead of ecosystems, causing floods and droughts.

That’s one of the reasons why our ocean levels are rising.

Over the past 60 years, we have damaged 19 million km2 of ecosystems where the functionality of the water rotor is completely failing.

If there is enough water in ecosystems, photosynthesis runs at full capacity, and there is enough food for humans, biodiversity, and even for the climate. Why?

Through biomass, water evaporates into the atmosphere. It prevents heat accumulation near the Earth’s surface because evaporated water transports the water vapor in latent heat from the troposphere to the cooler layers of the atmosphere.

To add it all up, if we want to address the climate change consequences, we have nothing left but to restore water rotors at the root of the damages. We need to increase the global water capacity of continents by more than 700 km3.

Suppose we will increase carbon storage in biomass by 10 billion tons per year within the next ten years. In that case, we would reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration by the end of 2050 to the levels comparable to 1960.

Are we solving the right problem when we address the climate change? A lot is at stake! 

Why are we focusing on a solution that does not provide enough water for people, nature, food, and climate?

Author:  Michal Kravčík

Translation: Zuzana Mulkerin

October 31, 2021

The original article was published in the Slovak language, in 2019

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