13 March 2018

South Africa: Cape Town's Drought - the Lessons of the Lessons Unlearnt

Photo: Oxfam
(file photo).
analysis

Failure to act on the connections between South Africa's droughts and climate change is a tragedy of unlearnt lessons. By JEFF RUDIN.

This is an extended version of an article appearing in the forthcoming issue of Amandla!

We take a raincoat when the forecast is rain. But, when the forecast is recurring floods, droughts, hurricanes, heat waves, food insecurity, epidemics and climate-induced mass migrations and related conflicts... we do nothing. The real tragedy of the already traumatising Cape Town drought is our dismal failure to confront the realities of people-made, climate change. This occurs even when the real-time presence of climate change is occasionally acknowledged. Worse still, this is not a prediction about lessons that will not be learnt. We know enough to know the enormity of what we already haven't learnt. (Cape Town's 7 March announcement that the dreaded Day Zero will not happen this year is, crucially, conditional on both the arrival of expected winter rains, as well as the continuing enforcement of the severe drought restrictions. The analysis offered below is not disturbed by this announcement.)

Those of us living in Cape Town are likely to believe that we are the first and only South Africans to...

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