Why Is Brazil the New America? Hint: Water

Brazil is the world’s superpower of water, writes JAMES DALE DAVIDSON in the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR:

If you would like to get a firsthand peek at the bright future of Brazil, but you don’t have $7,500 for a business-class fare to Rio de Janeiro, you can learn almost as much, while having less fun, by making your way to Henry County, Ill., just east of Moline.

Drive around and take a good look at the worst drought in half a century. Remind yourself as you look at the desiccated fields that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicted a record corn crop for 2012.

It didn’t turn out that way. Current best estimates are that the U.S. corn crop will fall by one-sixth. As a consequence, the price of corn has risen by 60 percent to an all-time high. Meanwhile, this year’s corn crop in Brazil is up 27 percent year-over-year. Brazil’s farmers are growing rich as American farmers go broke.  READ MORE.

Ex-Apple Boss Tackles Poverty in India with Mobile Technology

NAOMI CANTON writes at CNN.COM:

In Juanga, India, a village of less than 3,000 inhabitants, the adults typically work as farmers on small plots of land earning less than $2 a day. They live in extended families in two or three roomed bamboo thatched mud huts, surviving on rice and dahl.

Unable to see the value of education, the parents typically take their children out of school before they turn 16 to earn money. Women frequently deny themselves trips to health clinics and they lack knowledge of basic preventative healthcare measures.

They also lack basics such as drinking water, electricity, food, healthcare and infrastructure, but cell phone towers are often ubiquitous.

One American non-profit organization is using this proliferation of phone masts to bring empowering mobile technology to these destitute villagers. READ MORE.

 

Pakistan’s Looming Water Crisis

NATE BERG WRITES IN THE ATLANTIC CITIES:

Between 2011 and 2012, the urban population of Pakistan grew by more than 2.2 million people. The country’s urban residents now make up 38 percent of its total population of about 180 million. Much of this urban growth, according to an official at Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics, is a result of rural-to-urban migration. Islamabad, for example, has seen its population grow rapidly from 800,000 in 1998 to more than 2 million today. Current estimates predict the country will shift to a majority urban population within 20 years.

Pakistan’s urbanization story is by no means unique, but it raises significant questions about its future. Sheer population growth has occurred at a swift pace. According to figures from the United Nations, Pakistan’s total population sees a net increase of more than 3.3 million people per year. As more of this growth occurs in urban areas, the country’s stressed infrastructure and public services will be put to the test. READ MORE.