February 12, 2018: Cape Town — A Lesson From Afar

If you haven’t heard yet, in a little over two months one of the world’s major metropolitan cities will run out of water. Cape Town, the beautiful city by the bay, my birthplace, has been in a drought for three years. Residents of the city have been anxiously trimming their water use. Current restrictions allow use of only 13 gallons of water per person per day. Let’s put this in perspective: An average shower with a water-saving shower head consumes 30 gallons of water!

When the water is shut off, Capetonians will have to go to specific water distribution locations to collect their allotment of just 6.6 gallons per day.

My 83-year old father and step mother are among the 4 million residents of Cape Town. It is inconceivable to imagine what is happening there and what is about to unfold when the water runs out.

From the safety and security of our comfortable homes with ample water and electricity we can watch from afar as the future of the rest of the world unfolds dramatically in Cape Town.

Lest we believe that the consequences of denying climate science are the problems of other countries on continents far away, we need only take stock of this week’s Senate 2-year budget deal that includes $90 billion in disaster relief responding to the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017.

It is inconceivable that an issue of established science has become a political football, but here we are, partnered with Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries sitting outside the Paris Climate Agreement.

When will we recognize that when politics trumps reason, we all lose?