One theme united many of the stories we heard this week. From the push back of Day Zero in Cape Town, to "Sanivation" in Kenya, to the decision of Costa Rican farmers to transition from coffee to pineapples, pressure drove change.
My values for this week are recognition and discipline. Every day it seems we are bombarded with the same message: Act Now! We see the UN climate clock get closer to midnight, hear about another natural disaster related to climate change, or simply have a conversation with a friend. Yet...after a while...the message doesn't hit us as hard anymore. We get numb to it.
We have to account for this.
I envision a world where we are able to put enough pressure on ourselves to address issues like water conservation...without having to even think about Day Zero. On the surface, this seems like an impossible challenge. I think about how often I procrastinate on my major assignments. Only when I face significant pressure do I usually get started. How can we possibly be this disciplined on a large scale?
The answer lies in imposed conservation. My proposed intervention follows a similar water pricing model to the one discussed in class. Regional governments would make the first 5,000 gallons of water a household uses per month free, then impose a charge of 25 cents/additional gallon used. A progressive pricing scheme could be applied, where lower-income households get a lower cost per additional gallon while higher-income households pay more. The exact costs would need to be worked out and likely adjusted to best incentivize water conservation. A similar pricing scheme could be used to limit corporation water usage.
Think again about our assignments. When we have a deadline for a portion of our larger assignment (e.g. a proposal or outline for a paper), we start working on it earlier. If we place initial barriers on usage, we don't get into a situation like Cape Town. We can recognize the issue early and be disciplined enough to avoid a crisis.