First, it was Flint. Now, it's Newark.
Living in New Jersey, the water crisis crept closer to home for me when I read about it in the New York Times. A new study has confirmed that lead is leaching into the water for the state's most populous city. Even worse was that Newark officials denied the gravity of the problem for the past year and a half and now claim Newark has "some of the best drinking water. The problem is that our infrastructure is not safe.”
I'm left wondering what fucking difference does it make? How did we get to a time when water doesn't take priority for people?
It’s a technological world with a crumbling infrastructure, and even the solutions are technological - with water filters handed out of a local church to band-aid the problem.
The ugly truth is we've stretched ourselves thin. With as complex and progressive as the human race gets, we're still drinking poison as the world keeps spinning.
And it's not a new problem. In his book, Sapiens, Yuval Harari said it happened all the way back to 10,000 years ago during the Agricultural Revolution, or what he calls History's Biggest Fraud. Harari wrote, "The agricultural revolution certainly enlarged the sum total of food at the disposal of humankind, but the extra food did not translate into a better diet or more leisure. Rather, it translated into population explosions and pampered elites. The average farmer worked harder than the average forager, and got a worse diet in return."
Is this just the luck of the hand we're dealt? How could we let this happen? Harari has an idea how it happened before:
And it worked, almost too well. Population grew and newer, more complex problems locked us into agricultural society. Harari explained, "If the adoption of ploughing increased a village's population from a hundred to 110, which ten people would have volunteered to starve so that the others could go back to the good old times?"
It is the Luxury Trap - "One of history's few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can't live without it."
It seems we're still left to suffer for the growth of society. Like someone fell asleep at the wheel. We've become so obligated to modern society's luxuries that we're in danger.
We deal with poor nutrition, poison water, living with loneliness, shaky spirituality, and a price tag for an education. Sitting is giving us cancer and we don't even have healthcare to cover it. But, hey, we can order anything we want to our doorstep and watch anything we want from our phones.
Where is the antidote?