We hear about oil every day on the news, read about it in newspapers, and find articles about it online. Oil plays a pivotal role in our society. Oil companies have a monopoly, and so prices continue to go up and up. People cut back on buying gas as much as possible, but it still takes a certain amount to power our country. It is estimated that gas will go over the $ 5.00 per gallon mark later this year which will be the highest it has ever been. No wonder oil has been called “black gold”, and everyone considers it one of our most important commodities. However, would you believe that there's another approved resource that plays even a larger part in our society than oil does?
We tend to take it for granted so much that few people would probably list water as one of our most valued resources. As long as we all can remember, we've just had to turn on a tap to gain access to all of the clean, fresh drinking water we need. Most of us think that we have a never-ending supply; however, fresh resources are dwindling, and the problem is only expected to get worse. Whereas we will not be as mobile without gas for our vehicles, we will not be alive at all if the water were to run out. Water is the most important substance to all living things, and without it, life can not be sustained.
Experts with the United Nations have predicted that by the year 2050, at least 48 countries in the world will run out of fresh water alike. Even though it looks like we should have plenty of water on our planet, especially when we look at the amount of blue on a globe, we have to realize that between 97 and 98 percent of all the water resources are saltwater. Of the 2-3% that is fresh water, the majority of it is contained within the polar ice caps and glaciers. The bottom line is that the water sources we have in lakes, rivers, and streams only makes up about 1% of all the world's water. Such a small number to be staking all of our lives on.
You might think that global warming will lead to melting of more fresh water to help augment our dwindling supply; however, that's far from the case. Instead, it will cascade into saltwater sources which will make it too salty to drink. In addition, it will raise the levels of the oceans significantly which could mean that saltwater will run over and taint fresh water resources in the coastal areas of the world. So instead of the melting ice caps adding more water, it may actually decrease our supplies. At the same time, world population continues to grow by leaps and bounds. You do the math!