A Peek Into Several European Countries
By: Tuva Aasen
Spain has a wide range of environmental issues such as air and sea pollution, but they are also struggling with water quality and quantity nationally as well as deforestation and desertification. Over the past decade, the Pyrenees Mountains, which is the border between France and Spain, have lost close to 90% of their glacier ice. It is predicted that it will all be gone within only a few decades. It is pretty evident that this is caused as a result of global warming, but also a land development explosion. In addition, growing pressures on farmers from water transfer plants asking them to move to more thirsty crops can be a leading cause. This is a massive amount of ice melting away, considering the fact that the glaciers dividing France and Spain covered as much as 3,300 hectares of land in the past, and only 390 hectares is remaining. This will impact the summer water supply tremendously for southern grasslands in the south part of the Pyrenees.
Recently, there have been comparisons drawn between the climates in Spain and certain parts of Europe, with the Climate of Africa, called “Africanization”. Although Southern Spain has always had a desert-like climate and droughts, scientists turn to the current water crisis and predict it as a sign of a more permanent change. Spain’s Environment Ministry states that due to poor land use and climate change, as much as 33% of Spain will likely turn into a desert. Obviously, these water shortages raises concerns among farmers. Crops in Spain is extremely thirsty, and farmers argue that they now have to pay overpriced black market rates for water supply, and some foreigners are even establishing artificial farms to get water for cheaper rates. Battles over water control and between farmers have led the government to sponsor a water conference in Europe trying to come up with a way to fend off desertification. In addition they are continuing work on developing purification programs as well as techniques for more efficient irrigation systems.
If what scientist are predicting is true, that one-third of Spain will likely turn into a desert within the next decades, how can we solve this growing problem when it’s already turning into a major problem today?
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