“The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World” – a new book (2016) co-authored by Bob Sandford and Jon O’Riordan, water champions


A ‘Perfect Storm’ is Impending

“Secure supplies of water, food and energy are essential to human dignity and well-being around the globe. In turn, the vitality of these three depends on a thriving biodiversity supported by healthy ecosystems. The complex interdependence among these four factors is known as the Nexus,” explains Bob Sandford, co-author of The Climate Nexus.

bobsandford_2016_160p“Global demand for the first three elements is increasing due to population growth and rising per capita incomes in developing countries, with steadily worsening consequences for the fourth of these elements.”

“The four Nexus elements are also coming under increasing pressure from climate disruption: more frequent and severe flooding and storms, droughts, extreme heat, and pest outbreaks. What’s more, Nature’s capacity to moderate these impacts is being steadily eroded by rapid, widespread land-use development and associated pollution.”

“This impending ‘perfect storm’ of increasing demand, decreasing supplies and rapidly changing hydro-climatic conditions throughout the Nexus requires transformative policy responses that encompass economy, equity, social justice, fairness and the environment.”

“This book outlines these challenges and offers a pathway to resolving them,” concludes Bob Sandford.

About Bob Sandford

Bob Sandford is the EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. He is the co-author of the UN Water in the World We Want report on post-2015 global sustainable development goals relating to water.

In his work Bob Sandford is committed to translating scientific research outcomes into language decision-makers can use to craft timely and meaningful public policy and to bringing international example to bear on local water issues.

He began his career as a park naturalist, and then struck out on his own doing contract research – writing and programming for national parks throughout Western and Northern Canada.

In his work, Sandford noticed that a wide range of organizations shared his interest in parks, but he found that many of these groups saw each other as adversaries fighting over natural areas. They overlooked what they had in common, and missed chances to work together.

So he worked with the Alpine Club of Canada to organize non-confrontational events where these rifts might begin to heal. They started simply, with mountaineering centennials that celebrated significant moments of shared history, such as the discovery of the Columbia Icefield.

But the friendship-first, issues-later approach was moving too slowly for Sandford. He decided to go straight to work on what was then a very contentious issue: grizzly bears.

“People wanted them shot, they wanted them removed, they didn’t want them in the park, and of course then there were the extreme leftist environmental groups who said that the people shouldn’t be in the parks,” he said.

Between these extremes, Sandford organized a program of scientific presentations, interpretive events, and exhibitions to share all the best information available about bears.


Sandford said the Year of the Great Bear initiative grew to 7,000 events, held mainly in mountain parks in Canada, but also as far away as the Yukon and Yellowstone.

People learned to share the mountain landscape with bears. They also learned to work together.

“I think it really showed that if you can break the deadlock in the way people think about one another, then you can change attitudes and actually change circumstances,” said Sandford.

Breaking that deadlock led Parks Canada to choose him to chair the Canadian Partnership Initiative for the UN International Year of Mountains in 2002. Next came appointments to lead Canada’s work in the UN International Year of Freshwater the following year, and the Water for Life Decade between 2005 and 2015.

“It’s a strange thing,” Sandford said. “Like many Canadians, I didn’t know how much I knew about water.”

To Learn More:

Visit http://www.rwsandford.ca/ – For a list of books by Author R.W. (Bob) Sandford, CLICK HERE.

Visit http://climatenexus.org/ – Climate Nexus is a strategic communications organization dedicated to changing the conversation on climate and clean energy solutions in the United States.