April 23, 2021- I have never been to Ciudad de Mexico. The fifth-largest metropolitan area on the planet, it is also the second-largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere. Ciudad de Mexico may soon become the locus of the worst ecological nightmare that humanity has seen, in several centuries. The Valley of Mexico, indeed, the entire middle swath of the country, is experiencing the worst drought it has seen, in nearly a millennium. Central Mexico, as a whole, may very well be running out of water.
We in the Southwest of the United States (including southern California) have also been experiencing drought. The occasional snow and rain that we have received, since last autumn, have not done much to put a dent in the dryness. Only more judicious use of our water has, and will continue to, keep our communities from literally blowing away in the desert wind.
It is an irony, that the first place to which people in Mesoamerica turn, when faced with economic hardship, or sociopolitical repression, is the American southwest-from San Diego to Houston-and everywhere in between. We have done relatively well here, economically, though the underbelly of homelessness and economic inequality is as much a concern in the Southwest as it is anywhere on the planet. A splinter wedged under my fingernail hurts just as badly as it would under anyone else’s. So we go about being concerned with our own, first and foremost.
All the same, those who express disdain for the current immigration impasse at the border between Mexico and the United States must brace themselves for what will happen, should the water crisis in central Mexico worsen. The six-figure populace massing near, and permeating, that arbitrary line could all too easily morph into millions, or tens of millions, of people.
The Group of Twenty summit, convened virtually, on addressing climate change, is a tad behind schedule, through no fault of those who gathered. That said, it is painfully obvious that every single person on the planet has a role to play in conservation and better use of resources-especially of our planet’s basic elements (water, air, soil/minerals, and fire). It falls as much to local teams, neighbourhoods and families to double down on meeting the challenge of climate change. Everything from taking shorter, though equally intense, showers to intelligently recycling items that won’t decompose (and not just depending on municipal contractors to do the job), is the responsibility of everyone who enjoys running water and non-decomposable packaging. Providing clean water for drinking and bathing, to those who lack this basic resource, is a whole other topic.
These are the thoughts that come to mind, after the G-20’s most recent summit.