When CW asked me to write this comment piece each week, I thought it would be easy – there is always something to rant about isn’t there? However, in writing this article it has highlighted to me the problem that editors have about choosing what to feature. Do they go with the piece that they think their readers want to hear about and therefore it will sell more of their newspaper/magazine or do they tell their readers about something that is happening in the world that they think we should know about?
I had this dilemma today as a topical piece, and one that I am sure you would all have something to contribute to, would be, ‘Is skincare a con?’ It is a subject that has divided the internet this week as we women are being depicted as over-obsessed consumers. The article that triggered this heated discussion was one by writer Krithika Varagur for the Outline. See here. She made the argument that the obsession with having a skincare “regime” is, in essence, a consumerist cult and as bad for your skin as it is for your bank balance. “The end product of a skin care regimen isn’t perfect skin, but the regimen itself – something that, in high American style, you have to steadily escalate over time, lest you stagnate. Don’t you want to improve?” wrote Varagur. “All of this is a scam. It has to be. Perfect skin is unattainable because it doesn’t exist.”
Grace, Ellie and I love our skincare regimens and we don’t ever say that the creams wipe away years but they do make us feel better and some are better than others. We have also discovered that high price does not necessarily mean better and there are many cheaper products that do just as good a job. But I am not going to write about this subject – I am going to take the second editorial option and discuss something that is only just starting to get some coverage – the drought in Cape Town. So whilst many women in the West debate whether we should pamper our skins, there is yet another part of the world who are running out of water, one of our most basic needs and precious resources.
The people of Cape Town are experiencing their worst drought in a century and they are fast approaching zero-day when the water simply runs out. Of course, apart from the obvious issues of not having enough water, there is a ripple effect as tourists may stop coming and that will have devastating consequences on the South African economy. Around 10 million tourists visited Cape Town last year, drawn by iconic sights like Table Mountain, its long sandy beaches and the clutch of nearby wine farms. But now hotels have asked guests not to use baths and to limit showers to two minutes or less, while some restaurants are switching to disposable cups and ditching table linen.
Even in Davos, where discussion is normally focused on economics, business and trade, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the week by telling the 2500 leading politicians and businesses that climate change is the greatest threat to civilisation. There are other water stressed cities such as Los Angeles‚ Sao Paulo and Singapore – all seemingly modern cities whom you would imagine would have the water issue sorted. But climate change is such a huge global issue that it needs the whole world to react.
Out of these dark times in South Africa comes a really positive story as, realising that world‚ national and local leaders can do only so much‚ people in Cape Town have started working co-operatively and innovatively. There are domestic‚ street and faith-based responses‚ workplace plans and initiatives to support the frail and vulnerable. People are working together giving issues of sustainability and co-operative solutions new meaning and practical application.
In approximately 10 weeks (16 April) engineers will turn off water for a million homes as this South African city reacts to this one-in-384-year drought. The rich are digging boreholes, more are panic-buying bottled water, and the army is on standby. A country that is always on the edge of civil unrest may be pushed to the brink by a lack of the most basic commodity, water, because water is life.
As I took my shower this morning, washed my hair, then applied my skincare I stopped and thought how lucky I am to have this choice – shower or bath, skin cream or nothing, and the opportunity to choose what to write about each week. I will still hope that someone will find me a cream to make me look younger but in the meantime I will not complain about the rain and I will appreciate the choices that we have.
I have added a link to WaterAid as having written this post I wanted to give something back to all those people who do not have enough water to sustain their lives. Do join me HERE.