Taxi Driver – don’t you think this is something that politicians are using to get people riled up? Water is not a problem. Well, maybe in 100 years. But this is not something we should be concerned with today.
Carpet Shop Employee – it’s true that clean water is difficult, but bottled water is so cheap it is not really a problem for me. Maybe it’s more of a problem in the country.
Hotel Employee – this is a problem in Africa, right? Where there is no rain? Here we get lots of rain, so drought is not something we worry about.
I think if you asked people in any major city you would probably hear the same thing: it’s a political “much ado about nothing”, it’s about my own personal access to clean drinking water, or it’s a problem in areas with drought. Very few people seemed to see the larger picture – for instance about water privatization issues, or climate change implications, or even how the price of goods and services will rise as access to clean water becomes more expensive – or impossible to obtain.
As a sustainability consultant, it’s my job to help people understand how a simple-yet-complex issue like water can have real meaning to their lives and their livelihoods. I have to wear many hats – scientist, communicator, accountant, fortuneteller… I have to balance the realities of today with the uncertainties of tomorrow. I have to find the link between the “right thing to do” (e.g. access to clean drinking water for all) and what makes “good business sense” (e.g. let’s make sure our company’s supply chain is water-efficient). It’s complicated and fascinating work – and as I leave Istanbul I’m excited to get back to the SSC office and spend some time reviewing our consulting services to ensure that water concerns are integrated into every part of our analysis and planning engagements.