“More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse.In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly two million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in.”
“That’s what this series is about — how global cities tackle climate threats, or fail to. Around the world, extreme weather and water scarcity are accelerating repression, regional conflicts and violence. A Columbia University report found that where rainfall declines, “the risk of a low-level conflict escalating to a full-scale civil war approximately doubles the following year.” The Pentagon’s term for climate change is “threat multiplier.”
And nowhere does this apply more obviously than in cities. This is the first urban century in human history, the first time more people live in cities than don’t, with predictions that three-quarters of the global population will be urban by 2050. By that time, according to another study, there may be more than 700 million climate refugees on the move.”
The whole city occupies what was once a network of lakes. In 1325, the Aztecs established their capital, Tenochtitlán, on an island. Over time, they expanded the city with landfill and planted crops on floating gardens called chinampas, plots of arable soil created from wattle and sediment. The lakes provided the Aztecs with a line of defense, the chinampas with sustenance. The idea: Live with nature.
Then the conquering Spaniards waged war against water, determined to subdue it. The Aztec system was foreign to them. They replaced the dikes and canals with streets and squares. They drained the lakes and cleared forestland, suffering flood after flood, including one that drowned the city for five straight years.
“The Aztecs managed,” Ms. Castro said. “But they had 300,000 people. We now have 21 million.” “
Great article. Thank you Michael Kimmelman and Josh Haner.
I’d like to produce a movie about the Spaniards ruining what the Aztec’s had built.
As several people said at the Women’s March in Washington, “It is time for us all to join Planned Parenthood.”
The real culprit is population growth. The earth just went from 1 to 7.5 billion humans in the last 100 years, and is scheduled to go to 13 billion in the next century or so. The graphs of population growth and carbon dioxide increase are almost identical.
The sea levels will rise, there will be billions of climate change refugees, and the wars and massacres will reduce our numbers, as in the past, exacerbated by the decline in water and food. Like a giant algae bloom, the explosive growth of the human population might cause the extermination of our species, and is already causing or will cause the extermination of thousands of others species. Everyday, I wonder, why is population growth still a mostly taboo subject for world leaders and the press? Why was it left out of this article?
Of course I do not agree with everything Gemli writes in this comment, but it gave me some laughs:
All of this happened when Democrats closed their eyes for a few minutes, trying to get some rest from the cacophony of a weird campaign, certain beyond doubt that nobody in their right mind would vote for a blithering crotch-groping ignoramus who mocked the disabled.
We won’t let it happen again, but the damage has been done. Folks from the fly-over nation made pouty-faces and marched to the polls, fed up with affordable medical care, sick to death of rational and compassionate leadership, frustrated with the intelligentsia and willing to give the ignoratti a go.
They decided that the country should be run like a business. It makes perfect sense, until you realize that the country is not a business. It’s a whole lot of people who depend on competent leaders to protect them, and to give them the opportunity to grow and flourish. Instead, we hired a megalomaniac with a screw loose.
Let’s not pretend that the voters who put this moronic man in the Oval Office deserve our respect. They deserve ridicule. They deserve to be shortchanged and abused by the man they voted for. It gives me a measure of peace to know they will suffer under the lash of an idiot they elected.”