The New York Times recently ran an excellent story on how the physical and human geography of Mexico City, the biggest metropolitan area in North America and at considerable elevation and far from the coasts, is increasingly vulnerable to changes in climate. I am excerpting parts here but encourage you to read the whole thing: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html
"Mexico City, a mile and a half above sea level, [is] sinking, collapsing in on itself. ... Always short of water, Mexico City keeps drilling deeper for more, weakening the ancient clay lake beds on which the Aztecs first built much of the city, causing it to crumble even further. ... It is a cycle made worse by climate change. 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. Much is being written about climate change and the impact of rising seas on waterfront populations. But coasts are not the only places affected. Mexico City — high in the mountains, in the center of the country — is a glaring example. ... The effects of climate change are varied and opportunistic, but one thing is consistent: They are like sparks in the tinder. They expose cities' biggest vulnerabilities, inflaming troubles that politicians and city planners often ignore or try to paper over. ... Mexico City now imports as much as 40 percent of its water from remote sources — then squanders more than 40 percent of what runs through its 8,000 miles of pipes because of leaks and pilfering. This is not to mention that pumping all this water more than a mile up into the mountains consumes roughly as much energy as does the entire metropolis of Puebla, a Mexican state capital with a population akin to Philadelphia’s. Even with this mind-boggling undertaking, the government acknowledges that nearly 20 percent of Mexico City residents — critics put the number even higher — still can’t count on getting water from their taps each day. ... 'We expect heavier, more intense rains, which means more floods, but also more and longer droughts.' If it stops raining in the reservoirs where the city gets its water, 'we’re facing a potential disaster,' [the director of Mexico City's water system] said. 'There is no way we can provide enough trucks of water to deal with that scenario. If we have the [drought] problems that California and São Paulo [Brazil] have had,' he added, 'there is the serious possibility of unrest.'"
"At the extreme, if climate change wreaks havoc on the social and economic fabric of global linchpins like Mexico City, warns the writer Christian Parenti, 'no amount of walls, guns, barbed wire, armed aerial drones or permanently deployed mercenaries will be able to save one half of the planet from the other.'”
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