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The Unlikely Upside of Cape Town's Drought

By The Huffington Post

What are human beings capable of when it feels as if the world is about to endRead full story

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  • Ian Kumamoto
    Ian Kumamoto Student at New York University

    Beautifully written. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to suffer together to finally see each other’s humanity. Fortunately, once we do, solidarity happens.

  • “We might turn out to be more willing than we expect to live a harder way.” To me this sums up the whole pro-humanity spirit of this article. What a fascinating study in the resilience and kindness of people in uncontrollable circumstances. It certainly makes one reflect on how modern comforts have softened and isolated us, largely without our realizing it. What is especially interesting is that this is not a story about a perpetually “poor” country where everyone loves each other and helps one another

    “We might turn out to be more willing than we expect to live a harder way.” To me this sums up the whole pro-humanity spirit of this article. What a fascinating study in the resilience and kindness of people in uncontrollable circumstances. It certainly makes one reflect on how modern comforts have softened and isolated us, largely without our realizing it. What is especially interesting is that this is not a story about a perpetually “poor” country where everyone loves each other and helps one another. That stereotype is the stuff of mission trips and other brief brushes with a small percentage of an area. But this story is unique in its exhibition and admiration of a people who had much and have adapted well to serve their community and protect something bigger than themselves. It may be a silly, small wish, but I hope that the people who come in contact with the new story of Cape Town will bring that same other-mindedness and hardworking spirit to their own places. I think we would all be better for such a mindset shift and change of habit - becoming more willing to choose to do the hard things in order to make someone else’s life better and perhaps our own more meaningful.

  • Andrew Riley
    Andrew Riley

    Some gorgeous writing there. We’re on the precipice here, and some places are going over sooner than others (climate change’s affects are uneven, and hard to predict even with advanced models and a good general idea where things could go). Climate Change is definitely human driven (basically, there’s a certain CO2 load the system can handle, a glass that’s usually 95% full, and we added the extra 8% to overfill the glass) and it’s going to resculpt the biosphere in ways we’re not equipped to handle

    Some gorgeous writing there. We’re on the precipice here, and some places are going over sooner than others (climate change’s affects are uneven, and hard to predict even with advanced models and a good general idea where things could go). Climate Change is definitely human driven (basically, there’s a certain CO2 load the system can handle, a glass that’s usually 95% full, and we added the extra 8% to overfill the glass) and it’s going to resculpt the biosphere in ways we’re not equipped to handle on a mass scale and on such a short timetable. Not that it can’t be done, but it’s going to be uncomfortable, painful, unusual, and fascinating to see how this transforms our world and our species. Will we come out the better, more connected and grateful for what we have? Maybe. We’re notorious for learning our lesson one moment and then shrugging it off the next. But we also have a knack for overcoming the odds. We need a helping of solid leadership, a touch of innovation, a cup of sacrifice, and a dash of hope to see us through.

  • Christina Passarella
    Christina Passarella Project Manager

    Other articles I’ve read on the water shortage in Cape Town have focused so little on the realities of every day life and not at all on the big her social context that underlies the drought. Decades after apartheid, South Africa in general, and Cape Town in particular, still suffers the consequences of government enforced segregation and racism. While the wealthy are coming to terms with a new reality and, at least according to this article, treating it like a game or challenge, the rest of the country

    Other articles I’ve read on the water shortage in Cape Town have focused so little on the realities of every day life and not at all on the big her social context that underlies the drought. Decades after apartheid, South Africa in general, and Cape Town in particular, still suffers the consequences of government enforced segregation and racism. While the wealthy are coming to terms with a new reality and, at least according to this article, treating it like a game or challenge, the rest of the country is running out of what few options they have:

    “And she worried that if things really got out of control, middle- and upper-class people would still have more options than the poor have.” I’ll be following the story as we approach Day Zero and look forward to seeing what changes come from this.

  • Max Lockie
    Max LockiePlatform Editor at Quartz

    Beautiful photo essay of the sad situation in Cape Town, where there is no water.

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