As per with most subject, looking into something can provide new information and, at the same time, make us realise how much more there is to know, learn and explore.
Our global virtual water footprint is an interesting concept. And it only plays one part when it comes to our whole planet's ecosystem. This is especially clear when we consider our planetary boundaries, a framework comprising a subdivision of the Earth's systems within which us humans can safely live and operate.
Introducing this concept after a small exploration into virtual water is to show that getting to know one subject can help us connect it to others, and help us reach a wholesome understanding of the Earth's system and how they are connected.
I will let Rockström explain further.
In his presentation Rockström has the bravery to involve our planet as a stakeholder, rather than keeping his speech completely anthropocentric.
Losing system resilience and crossing thresholds means we need of a new paradigm to direct us to concrete actions that will encourage and trigger tangible change.
Considering the planet as a complex self-regulating system, and thinking of the interconnectedness of systems, shows that in addition to the main three planet boundaries of climate change, ocean acidification and ozone depletion with large-scale thresholds, there are slow variables, underlying systems which regulate and determine the state of the main 3. These include nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, land use change, rate of biodiversity loss, air and chemical pollution and freshwater use, connected to the concept of virtual water.
Once again we go back to the legislative role, mentioned by Rockström: local actors need to be governing the commons on a global scale with resilience and sustainable development at the forefront of priorities.
In fact, in order to be able to achieve a prosperous future within a safe operating space needs, first of all we have to undergo a shift in mindset, and in the past few months I have realised how important human psychology is in behavioural change, including environmental change.
Thinking of water as something that links everything we do and use every single moment of every day has added a new layer of understanding and knowledge that has been affecting my own decision-making.
Not everyone has access to the same information as me, yet whether it's the words of scientists or of poets and word artists, there is a whole lot of potential and sources of inspiration.
Prince Ea - Dear Future Generations: Sorry (3'35'' - 4'45'')
The multitude of issues we are facing as a planet are serious and critical, but needn't be overwhelming: all things which need changing in fact simply present an opportunity of improvement, from local-level tweaks to massive global shifts.
The good thing is that small improvements can be tried any day.
Due to the role of agriculture in our global virtual water footprint, we can make an effort to reduce beef consumption at any mealtime, or even better, favour plant-based food to meat and other animal products, therefore reducing water use and pollution.
By being aware and attributing the environmental value to everyday goods and services as part of a mindset shift, we could appreciate all we have access to more, taking small steps in steering the Anthropocene away from environmental degradation and towards a respectful, recovering stage.