Imagine millions of people living in a modern city in a large prosperous country having to accept severely rationed water – five days without water and two days with. That is the situation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the world’s twelfth largest city.
The Sao Paulo region is experiencing extreme drought: a third consecutive year with soaring temperatures and rainfall patterns well below historic records.
According to the Manchester Guardian, this extreme climate scenario, combined with a series of management flaws, political negligence and a culture of waste and pollution, is bringing the largest metropolitan region of Brazil to the brink of collapse.
Drought is not just a problem in Brazil. Southern California is gripped by drought. Western Texas is hard hit. The impact of drought can be widespread and continuing, sometimes beyond immediate remedy.
The lesson is obvious: if governments do not act, the future impact of extreme weather events could be beyond their control. Where the public does not realize the inevitability of climate change, selling immediate measures to limit its future impact is a difficult task.
Admittedly political leaders fear a public backlash against tough measures that may be necessary. That is why mitigation of a climate crisis requires political leadership at the outset. Wishing that the climate will change for the better is not enough.