How organisms in an area lead to a




How the Rise of Populism and Nationalism Affect Water Stress


The day before Spring break, over 700 North Allegheny students gather in one of the two high school’s gymnasiums. There is only one thing on their minds: Dodgeball. Some play for the day off of school, some because they love dodgeball, but all are spending their money on a normal resource for them, water. Project Water, the organization that hosts the dodgeball tournament, sends all the proceeds to help build wells and health facilities in Africa. To the kids and staff in North Allegheny, water is plentiful. They could not imagine a life without water, but for some, living without water is reality. (Need to add some sort of thesis here)

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People in developing countries, such as Uganda, wake up and start thinking about water. In some instances they may walk for several miles to a water source, fill two buckets with water, and carry them all the way back. This process can take up to six hours to complete. 61% of people in Uganda do not have access to clean water 1. Every day, people are exhausting themselves to get a basic necessity, but over half of that water will cause illnesses. Illnesses can prevent people from getting water or put them out of work. Without a job, these people do not have the money to pay for medicines to make them better. Because of the poverty, one in three children dies before the age of ten. If kids do live into adulthood, they are malnourished which effects how their brain developed which affects their ability to work and hinders them from getting an education. Often, families are in desperate need of money and end up selling their daughters into the sex trade. This highly stressed environment is caused by a lack of water and the extreme need for it: water stress.

            In the simplest terms, water stress is when there is a higher demand for water than there is water supply. The demand comes from about everything. People need water to drink, clean, cook, and grow crops; animals and plants need water to survive. The more organisms in an area lead to a higher demand from the environment. The water “suppliers” are rivers, lakes, streams, aquifers, and precipitation. The amount of organisms the supply can support is called the carrying capacity. The higher the demand gets over the carrying capacity the more, water stressed the area becomes.

One of the most water stressed areas on the planet is the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabian Peninsula is home to around 1,000,000 people 2 each of whom only have access to 743.5 cubic meters of water a year, which is drastically below the world average of 7,240 cubic meters 3. Being almost tenfold behind the world average in water per capita means the amount of water stress they are facing is great.  Another major source of water for the Arabian Peninsula is distillation of the surrounding oceans. While effective, this method is also expensive. In 2016 the total cost for distillation was $10 billion and there was an additional $4 billion cost in energy to run the distillation facilities 4.  If the water stress on nondistilled was raised higher, people would be forced to rely more on distilled water, and it could drive up economic stress.

The term populism is being put on many movements. Populism is simply the ideology that a platform is for common good. One notable example is the populistic president Donald Trump, who promised tax cut as part of his election campaign. He brought down the tax rate from 35% to 21% 5. Although the tax cuts are expected to benefit the wealthier population more, supply side economics would argue that the tax cut would control inflation and increase production, henceforth benefiting the common people. “Populist” can be put on politicians, environmental marches, rights movements, and even nationalists. Nationalism, patriotic feelings or efforts, is a powerful tool for motivation. Nationalism is how Americans felt July 4th, 1776, when they declared independence from Britain. It was a sense of fulfillment and pride to be an American, even though they still had to fight a war. However, nationalism can also have negative effects on a group of people. For example, post World War one Germany was extremely nationalistic, and as a result, they murdered 11 million people. Nationalism is exceedingly apparent in the largest ethnic group without a homeland, the Kurds. “Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state 6.” With such a large number of people, it is easy to see how populism and nationalism could grow so quickly. With more and more Kurds being born each year, there is a greater reason to create a pro-Kurd platform and more people to support the nationalistic ideals of Kurdistan, the state the Kurdish people wish to create.

The Kurds have long lived in the area they wish to call their homeland. The first mentions of Kurdistan began after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War One, when the Allied Powers (Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States) made provision for a Kurdish state in the Treaty of Sevres 7. Their hope was short live because three years later the boundaries of modern Turkey were set up, and the Kurds were left out. In 2013, the Islamic State (IS) group led an attack on the Kurdish people in Iraq. Since then, the Kurds have been fighting the IS, but some are unable to help due to persecution from Turkey. So much so that in Turkey, Kurdish is not even considered to be an ethnicity. Instead they are referred to as mountain Turks. During this time the Syrian Kurds had also had their right revoked and over 300,000 have been denied citizenship to Syria 8. In Iran in the 1970’s, the Kurds were forcibly removed from the oil rich land of Kirkuk. They would get the land back, just for it to be taken from them in 2017 after a large number of Kurds voted for secession.

The area the Kurds want to make into Kurdistan contains the mouths of river like the Tigris and the Euphrates, two of the main water supplies of the Arabian Peninsula. Those two rivers alone send 84,000 million cubic meters of water down their banks each year 9. The two rivers each have a major dam under construction: the Atattirk on the Euphrates, and the Kiralkizi on the Tigris. Together the two dams can hold 2984 billion feet of water and produce 2,490 megawatts of electricity 10. When the two dams are completed, the areas further downstream will still need water. They may not be getting as much, and the population will continue to grow resulting on greater water stress on the Arabian Peninsula.

 (Big Point: If Kurds form their own country, they could limit water supply of nearby WS/verge of WS areas è increased water stress) {Nationalism = Kurds   ? Population = more nationalism + more need for water = less water for other areas è ? Water stress} Populism helps build Nationalism b/c common good is to create Kurdistan

·         Future effects if Kurdistan becomes a country

·         Future effects if Kurdistan doesn’t become a country



2 and some mental math