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Water Is Everyone's Business As World Population Tops Seven Billion

As many as one billion people may not have access to clean drinking water by 2050. Changes are needed, which may also create investment opportunities.

Water Drop
Water Drop
Kim Cramer Larsson

SANTIAGO - As the world's population grows, the demand for drinkable water grows with it. By 2050, it is projected that one billion people will not have full access to this fundamental resource.

Recent statistics and projections from the United Nations are cause for real concern. In 2050, the global population, which is now beyond seven billion inhabitants, should reach 10 billion, with a predicted 10% of them -- at current rates of access -- who will be shut off from proper drinking water.

At current rates, the per capita daily use of water in the U.S. is 600 liters . In China, the number is much lower, with only 90 liters a day consumed by each person, even though that number is beginning to rise. According to Fortune magazine, the demand for water in India will double in 10 years, and for agriculture it will increase by more than 40% by 2030.

Globally, the use of water in agriculture represents 71%, while for industry it's another 16%. Some 270 liters of water are needed to produce a cup of coffee – from cultivation until the cup of java is sold at Starbucks. The production of a glass of juice requires 7,000 liters while a pair of jeans needs 11,000 liters.

Meanwhile, climate change and pollution have turned water into an increasingly scarce resource. Putting it bluntly, water politics is heating up, and will only get hotter.

Can investors benefit from the current state of water demand and resources? Will individuals begin conserving water in order to save money? Looking around, there are indeed some companies in the water distribution business worth investing in.

At the same time, you could also invest in companies dedicated to the creation of infrastructures, water management as a resource, water bottling, and even a collective investment fund that invests in these type of companies such as Power Shares Water Resources, Guggenheim S&P Global Water Index and PowerShares Global Water.

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A Brief History Of Patriarchy — And How To Topple It

Many people assume the patriarchy has always been there, but how did it really originate? History shows us that there can be another way.

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Ruth Mace*

The patriarchy, having been somewhat in retreat in parts of the world, is back in our faces. In Afghanistan, the Taliban once again prowl the streets more concerned with keeping women at home and in strict dress code than with the impending collapse of the country into famine.

And on another continent, parts of the U.S. are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies?

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