Will Cape Town solve an environmental crisis?

Feb. 2018 Cape Town, South Africa is receiving dubious accolades from world media for being the the first major city to run out of water. However, the country solved a political crisis once before - can it solve an environmental crisis now?

The reasons for this problem are many, among them:

- almost 400 % population growth in 50 years (1.1 million in 1970 to 3.7 million in 2018)
- drought (not uncommon in this area)
- accelerated global warming (extending periods of drought)
- waste & overconsumption

As a former citizen of Cape Town with a deep interest in environmental predicaments, the situation has me in awe. On the one hand we have a community whose contribution to global warming is minuscule compared to industrial giants of the northern hemisphere and thus undeserving of this scourge, and on the other we have a city that may be the first to implement broad adaptations to global warming/climate change. Why not? The first successful heart transplant was performed in Cape Town. In addition South Africans are dealing creatively with the legacy of apartheid. As a long-time student of progress traps, I would find success in this to be profoundly inspiring.

I mention apartheid because in its resolution we find people that were willing to bury the hatchet in ways that very few political opponents ever have. Many other historic conflicts could have drawn back from the brink of disaster but chose that route anyway. Bear in mind World Wars with exterminations and nuclear bombing, stubborn autocrats that incite violence rather than transition, and profit-driven pollution in the face of overwhelming evidence of harm.

Mandela honoured this aptitude for solutions when he said in 1994 "We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all."

There is every indication that Cape Town may have the right stuff in confronting these issues.

What can we do? -
"information sessions with Neighbourhood Watch Groups, non-governmental and community organisations as well as religious groups are underway to brief them on the Critical Water Shortages Disaster Plan and to appeal for volunteers to assist" Link: City seeks volunteers for water management plan
Water Crisis event: Sharing experiences, ideas and developing Solutions - Local Capetonians will converge at the Cape Town Science Centre (CTSC) on Feb 24, 25 Link: HACK THE CAPE TOWN WATER CRISIS

See also:
Five key lessons other cities can learn from Cape Town’s water crisis
What it takes to end an environmental crisis
Flexibility and Progress - why can't our leaders be more like Mandela?

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"The Progress Trap - and how to avoid it" Copyright Daniel O'Leary, registered at
the Copyright Office, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada on April 5, 1991 (ref 405917)