or maybe May 11), some 4 million people in the West Cape (think Capetown), South Africa—75 percent of the local population—will no longer receive piped-in water, but instead will have to queue up each day to receive water (25 liters guaranteed—about one-twelfth of what the average American uses) from any of 200 collection points around the area. You can bet that those people are already praying, hard, that the rainy season, which typically begins in May and runs to September, will be a healthy one. But there are no guarantees, especially after three years, so far, of protracted drought. It's a complicated story, which I invite you to read about in the Guardian or National Geographic.
|This is NOT the tragedy of the commons:|
this is me-me-me ideology
(I found it on a right-wing Austrian website)
I googled for other examples of the tragedy of the commons, and here's what I came up with (from Dummies.com):
Grand Banks FisheriesFor centuries, these fishing grounds off the coast of Newfoundland were home to an "endless" supply of cod fish. In the 1960s and 1970s, however, advances in fishing technology allowed huge catches. This in turn caused fish populations to drop, forcing fishermen each season to sail ever farther offshore to maintain their large catch sizes. By the 1990s, the Grand Banks fishing industry had collapsed. And by then, it was too late for regulation and management. Today, some scientists doubt the ecosystem will ever recover.
"The ocean is an excellent example of a shared resource that can easily be abused and degraded because it’s shared by many different nations. No single authority has the power to pass laws that protect the entire ocean. Instead, each nation manages and protects the ocean resources along its coastlines, leaving the shared common space beyond any particular jurisdiction vulnerable to pollution.
"Throughout the world’s oceans, garbage has begun to accumulate in the center of circular currents, or gyres. . . . Destruction of ocean ecosystems because of garbage, especially plastic pollutants, is likely to affect every person on the planet as these pollutants cycle through the food chain."
"Earth’s atmosphere is another resource that everyone on the planet uses and abuses. Air pollution and greenhouse gases from various industries and transportation increasingly damage this valuable, shared resource.
"As an example of a tragedy of the commons, the atmosphere offers some hope for a solution: More than once, international agreements have recognized the importance of taking care of the atmosphere. One example is the  Kyoto Protocol, which attempted to bring nations together in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global climate warming. [And yeah, no, the U.S. never ratified.]
|Estimates of population evolution on |
different continents between 1950 and 2050
according to the United Nations.
The vertical axis is logarithmic and is
in millions of people.
"Some scientists consider the exponential growth of the human population to be an example of a tragedy of the commons. In this case, the common resource is the planet Earth and all its shared resources. The world’s population has reached a whopping 7 billion individuals.
"Examining population growth as a tragedy of the commons illustrates that the depletion of common resources isn’t always the result of greed. Just by existing, each person uses water, air, land, and food resources [these qualify as the 'global commons']; splitting those resources among 7 billion people (and counting) tends to stretch them pretty thin."
- the Gulf of Mexico dead zone
- traffic congestion
- passenger pigeons
- groundwater in Los Angeles
- unregulated logging
As I think about these various problems, I once again condemn our current administration—so-called "government"—for slashing regulations and commitments that protect all of us. We 7 billion earthlings—or even we 325 million Americans—aren't going to be able to make for a healthy planet/country individually: it requires collective intelligence, moral deliberation, action, oversight, and ever ongoing care. Instead, currently, we seem to have a free-for-all based mainly on greed and power. I can't stand it . . .
In any case, I wish all best to Capetown as May 11 approaches. And I wish for a drenching good rainy season. I wish that, metaphorically, for all of us on this earth. But I also, to the depths of my heart, wish for good leadership.