You know that scene From science fiction movies about the time when humans have run out of important resources to survive? The year is 2100 or so and the planet Earth is officially tapped after an alien invasion, nuclear holocaust or climate change. Sweat is a metropolis with its dusty streets and dilapidated buildings; Military guards guarding water distribution points and barking orders at PAs; Long lines of frustrated civilians are filling in to carry the Jerecans.
This is a depressing scene that is largely unimaginable in real life – until now?
Enter Cape Town, South Africa, a city of four million people we once called home and for which we recently returned on work leave with our children. We had no idea that our journey would coincide with a water crisis that no major city had ever seen before. We feel that the crisis may be a precursor of things to return home and around the world.
Upon arriving at Cape Town International Airport, we were greeted by a plain white billboard, which all fellows “Please save water.” In large blue print, the government told us about the “water crisis with severe restrictions in place” and thanked all visitors “for playing their part in protecting this precious commodity”. Simple enough, we thought.
Entering our accommodation, we received a second, more detailed forecast for saving water. A bulletin from the City of Cape Town titled “Drought Crisis Intervention: City to Accelerate Pressure Management” warned of a supply interruption as the city lowered water pressure to reduce its water supply. [to] More and more people. ”
The government directed all residents to “keep emergency water supplies on hand for drinking and basic sanitation” and drainage of irrigation, swimming pools, car wash and toilets – except when absolutely necessary. And be with gray water. ” For the clay brown water already running from some taps, the Bulletin informed us that it was merely a terrain, a compound “during the decomposition of algae in the Diveterskloof dam”.
As hoardings and bulletins were not enough, the premier of the Western Cape Provincial Government formed the base A long appeal The city’s four million residents compared the current crisis of World War II and urged the federal government to declare a disaster state in preparation for Day Zero. Meanwhile, she said, Capetonians should resort to old-fashioned brushes and wash basins instead of bathing and bathing for the worst.
If all of this came as a shock to us, in a famous city with modern amenities we had come to take over the years, we left with the uneasy knowledge that things could get a whole lot worse: the Cape The town is only a few months away with the drought running.
Until more rain comes or expensive drilling and desalination projects are completed, residents will no longer receive running water 9 July – Improvements in earlier estimates – and will be forced to line up for rations at collection points across the city. Provincial Government independently Accept When taps are closed, “normal policing will be completely inadequate.” It has therefore called on the State Security Agency and the National Defense Force to “help distribute water, protect storage facilities, deal with potential outbreaks of disease, and maintain peace.”
Even though the distribution of water increases according to the plan or “de gyro”, the economic hazards are felt to a large extent on a region dependent on two water-intensive sectors: tourism and agriculture. Although the government Expansive Both can be done to reduce water consumption by more than 50 percent, only to save crops and livestock and tourist bookings – and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they support – for three consecutive years of record drought conditions. In.
Which brings us to the danger behind the threat.
Although the causes of Cape Town’s crisis are multilateral and complex, the link to global climate change is unshakeable. Viewed 2017, according to the University of Cape Town’s Climate Systems Analysis Group Least rain Ever recorded in the area. Combined with the previous year’s previous record, the current drought is one of 1,150 opportunities to occur, making it the latest in a location of “thousand-year-old” climate events worldwide.
In fact, in our brave new “science fiction” world, the old possibilities no longer apply. As NASA and climate scientists around the world have been warning us for decades, our unexpected addiction to climate-changing fossil fuels has produced global warming rates not seen in human history. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years Ever recorded Since 2001, 2017 is coming second after a strenuous 2016. There are droughts, but one of the deadly effects – from hurricanes and floods to wildfires and famines – is now affecting every corner of the world.
Although the upper regions of Cape Town will face the current crisis, due to private boreholes and private security, the effects of prolonged drought on the more vulnerable populations in the region are severe. according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human AffairsThe recent drought in southern and eastern Africa has destroyed crops and left millions of people food insecure, including around 580,000 children suffering from severe malnutrition in southern Africa alone. Globally, drought-induced desertification now threatens the livelihood of about one billion people in about 100 countries, accordingly To the UN.
And even though the entire country of South Africa is praying for rain, the South African Weather Service is not making any predictions, saying Previous forecasting models have proved useless in the era of climate change.
The good news is that the way humans are creating this mess, we can fix it too – if we act now.
As individuals, we can use breakthrough technologies for our homes and businesses such as solar photovoltaic, LED lighting, solar-powered heat pumps and electric cars to stay free of fossil fuels and save money in the process. By saying no to plastic bags at the grocery store, buying from (local) B corporations and eating less meat, we can reduce our carbon footprint even further.
At the government level, we can pressure our public servants to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and put a price on carbon that starts at $ 44 trillion that climate change will cost us in the coming decades. Citigroup. With tens of billions, we will save every year from oil and gas subsidies in the United States alone, we can rapidly accelerate the clean energy transition.
These changes will not be easy. Lure interests like fossil fuel companies still enjoy undue influence in government from financing political campaigns, and we humans are often too busy or gracious to make the necessary changes in our daily lives. But as Capetonians are now demonstrating in the “battle against de gyro”, change is possible and it often takes a crisis to focus the mind. The hope here is that the rest of us will take action against climate change before it is too late.