Imagine a food crisis affecting the entire population of Michigan
June 3, 2010

A severe drought in western Africa has caused a food crisis large enough to affect 10 million people. A number that large is easy to gloss over without perspective -- but it's equivalent to the population of Michigan. Hunger on that scale is enormous and a massive direct threat to human welfare. As we've learned, it can also turn otherwise peaceful places into incubators for violence and even terrorism, which then can find its way to other parts of the world. The relationship between water and food is sometimes too easy to overlook in wealthy countries, where irrigation equipment can mask the vagaries in nature's behavior. But we are lucky that we have so many tools for producing, moving, treating, and recovering water in agricultural circumstances -- otherwise, we too would face mass-scale hunger during our own occasional droughts.

June 2010
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last revised June 2010