Three Books Every Global Citizen Should Read

Mohammad Zia is a University of Maryland Junior majoring in Global Development. He has worked with social enterprises in Tanzania, Morocco, and Uganda.

Three books, all written recently, offer insights into the issue of global resource scarcity, and the implications it holds for the health and stability of human systems. They are excellent reviews in providing details on the impact our rate of consumption has on the world's resources. I recommend them all.

The Last Hunger Season is written by Roger Thurow. It depicts the everyday triumphs and tribulations of several farmers in rural Kenya and it paints a vivid portrait of the daily life of these farmers. The social, economic, and political impacts of hunger are viewed from the eyes of poor farmers who are at the crux of global poverty and hunger issues.

Thurow's use of the term "hungry famer" gives the reader pause. It's hard to imagine that farmers, the agricultural producers themselves, have been exponentially suffering from hunger over the past few years. Climate change coupled with globalization has created an environment for limited harvest yields and farmers and their families are facing the most severe impacts.

Water scarcity is a concomitant aspect of global hunger and poverty. The farmers described by in Thurow's book are faced with a shortage of food coupled with limited water access.

In Blue Covenant, author Maude Barlow sheds light on the severe limitation of water resources and the appalling use and abuse of these resources.

Blue Covenant will change the way you think every time you turn the tap or twist the cap. Water is arguably one of the most important resources on earth and it has many implications for health and well-being; consequently, it is imperative that health, political, economic, and scientific students and professionals study water security.

The book offers readers many insights into issues relating to water scarcity, including the concept of "virtual water". "Virtual water" is defined as the amount of water that is used in flood irrigation to harvest fruits in developing nations for sale in developed nations. These fruits are essentially depriving developing nations of crucial water resources that are bought by big Western businesses who can offer higher prices. Western demand for goods coupled with capacity and power to purchase almost anything has led to some serious questions of sustainability and morality.

The discussion on water scarcity is a complicated one that touches base with more than just hunger issues. Issues relating to water are intertwined with questions of global sustainability and climate change.

The Crash Course, by Chris Martenson, brings much-needed attention to the unsustainable frameworks of our economic and environmental policies. The book discusses global exponential growth addiction and our dependence on perceived infinite resources. The author argues that resources are finite, so our current economic and environmental policy will lead to a dangerously unsustainable future.

The Crash Course primarily discusses economics and the environment, but it also sheds light on related social and political issues. Martenson describes the military conflict that he believes will inevitably result from global resource depletion. Additionally, Martenson discusses food shortages that are causing health and development concerns, along with forced mass migrations. Martenson also provides a conclusion on what needs to be done on both an individual and global level to tackle the challenges of our unsustainable future.

All three books are excellent reads that cover compelling and controversial global issues. Read together, they weave a larger picture of upcoming basic resource scarcity and evoke a plethora of questions in the readers' minds. Although all three books portray daunting views of challenges that face global society, the readers are also challenged to think about viable solutions and formulating these well-tailored solutions is arguably the most fundamental reasons for reading the three books.

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