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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Commentary \ Hello #WaterWars, Bye Bye #DayZero

Larry Swatuk, Associate Researcher at BICC, comments on ongoing popular debates like #WaterWars, #DayZero. He argues for avoiding alarmism and hyperbole as tools of motivation for human action. Instead, Swatuk reflects on the challenge to ensure adequate amounts and qualities of water for the world’s poor.

IDPs gathering to collect water outside an IDP camp in El Geneina, West Darfur. Photo: BICC\N. Acharya

As doyens of the water world met recently in Brasilia in their biannual reflection on the state of the planet’s most precious resource, I wish to reflect on the perceived value and harm attached to alarmism and hyperbole as tools of motivation for human action. Why over-statement is popular is not a puzzle: People gravitate to the ‘man bites dog’ form of headline. Why negativity in reporting and possibly also in scholarship generally triumphs—in terms of revenue, clicks, retweets, research funding and policy pronouncements—is also not a puzzle: Humans depend on certainty and predictability for their security, so the prospect of dramatic change due to some ill-advised action or inaction tends to grab our attention. Put differently, we take our successes for granted.

Read more "Hello #WaterWars, Bye Bye #DayZero—Where have you gone ClimateChaos old friend?"