Heerlen (The Netherlands), 25 July 2019
Today was the hottest day ever measured in the Netherlands. Last year we already faced a severe dry summer, in which 1944’s heat record was broken. Normally, the Netherlands faces extreme drought once every three years. Today, half way through this year’s summer, many Dutch provinces surpassed the “magical forty” degree reaching an astounding 40,7 °C. When thinking about the Netherlands, you rather think of water reservoirs rather than droughts. However, the average Dutch landscape now looks more like Spain’s dry lands.
How can we face future droughts, then, if countries so rich in water resources, like the Netherlands, experience such severe water scarcities? What can we do to prepare ourselves? Is creating livable surroundings a potential solution?
Here is an example from my last year’s travel through South America, where I visited many places dealing with water scarcity issues. One of them was the desert of Peru, some miles north from the capital Lima. A former area full of sand and dust had been transformed in less than 25 years into a green oasis.
The name of the area was “Eco Truly Park”, and referred to the round eco-friendly buildings made from mud and locally recycled materials instead of cement. In addition, the Park truly strove for self-sufficiency, focusing on permaculture. Besides, the people who live there abide Hindu principles (i.e. Hare Krishna), which means that the food is vegetarian and mainly local.
The Park’s toilets used hay instead of water and residuals were used in the garden after some time. The small amount of water used was purified ocean water, as the park is located near the beach.
The Eco Truly Park is part of “Eco Yoga Villages“, a foundation with similar communities around South America and the world. Its aim is to protect the environment by promoting activities such as recycling, yoga, vegetarianism, sustainable farming, etc.
In Colombia, I visited another village fully surrounded by nature. There I could only hear the sound of a rough river in the background. I felt like time stood still for a moment, or like time did not exist in that moment. It was a place where one lived from sunrise to sunset, with electricity only available in the kitchen. A place where one used only what nature offered. That was life in its purest form, where everything related to capitalism seemed very far away. This form of life is a remedy for the materialistic world and allows you to fully disconnect from technology.
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