The Importance of Land and Water

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Land and water are fundamental concepts that are deeply rooted in the understanding of the political ecology of the world food system. Essentially every industry is in some way or another based on land. Politically speaking land is the most desirable asset because of the minerals and potential opportunity to generate desirable goods and services. Coupled with humanity’s need for water, land is a crucial element to its circulation. Considering that most of our fresh water is located on land beneath the Earth, the ability to pump it out from deep wells can help stop desertification and bring water to remote communities.

Water is not just a biophysical phenomenon but Its use by humanity makes it a highly political ecological construct that is shaped by relations of power and authority in the world food system. For example, India’s water crisis is the result of a culmination of the overall two-year lack of heavy monsoons and has resulted in increased tension in the state-society relations there. The Indian government estimates that around 330 million people are without adequate water. What is alarming is how the drilling of more wells might not be able to meet the growing demand for water because the subsurface water levels have also decreased. India is going to have to come up with a more long-term solution if they are to expect communities to flourish in remote regions. Under the lens of political ecology, looking specifically at how farmers suffer during dry periods, we recognize the importance of water as an essential ingredient for life. Without the moisture in the soil it is useless and crops cannot be grown, which deeply affects social dynamics and the pertinent domestic/international food system.

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