Weekend To-Do (Good) List: California Drought

Hi all. Welcome to your weekend. As you might know, I’ve been digging the themes for our To-Do (Good) lists recently. Today I present a list dedicated to….(drumroll!!!!)….the California drought!

That’s right. Those of us in California are officially in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record. In response, and for the first time ever, California is under mandatory water restriction, enacted by Brown and aimed to reduce the state’s water usage by 25%. The way the mandates will work is that different cities are assigned different reduction requirements. For example, Beverly Hills must reduce their usage by 35% while Compton has to reduce theirs by 10%. This is all based on a city’s per capita usage.

I’ve liked Jerry Brown for the most part since he became governor, but dear readers, I am frustrated. It seems like he is missing a huge opportunity right now. In fact, no, I don’t think it’s an opportunity…I think it is an obligation that he is missing. This whole plan is not equitable, it is not sustainable, and it is cowardly.

It begins here. The group that uses 80% of our water is big agriculture and they are EXEMPT from the mandates. Exempt!! I’m not talking about the little family farms, which, by the way, are under the same water mandates as other citizens according to their cities and are going to suffer for it. No, I’m talking about the big farms. These “farms:”

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

How can this exemption possibly be justified? How could turning off your sprinkler possibly be the best way to tackle the behemoth of climate change that is giving California a front-row show right now all while letting the user of 80% of the water go on with business as usual? You need 7.7 cubic meters of water to produce 1 pound of beef. That’s equivalent to around 77 baths. Any 5-year-old could tell you this just doesn’t make sense.

Plus, it is no secret to anyone paying attention that these types of facilities, CAFO’s, 1) are detrimental to the environment and our indigenous ecosystems, 2) are producing meat and dairy that is full of antibiotics, at-risk for contamination and processed through unnatural, inhumane methods, and 3) are ultimately unsustainable.

Haven’t scientists been telling us for years that restoration agriculture, sustainable food practices, and local economies are CRITICAL for the survival of our Earth? California is facing a new future of extreme weather not in abstractions but right now, today. I would hope that we would have bravery enough to realize that big changes have to take place in our way of living as a society, not just as single households. The impact isn’t going to made by the Jones’ decision to let yellow mellow. It’s going to come from severely cutting down our use of resources for these types of agricultures. It’s going to come from committing to a return to natural biogeographies. It’s going to come from listening to the science and economics condoning locally-sourced, vegetable-rich diets.

I don’t know all the complexities of this argument and I’m not claiming to. I am quite confident though that there are significant shifts in lifestyle that we are all going to have to adopt to keep this planet. And I believe that Brown has an obligation to not just slap a bandaid on this drought but to begin the stitching of the wound. He has a chance to sound an alarm and lead in a new way and instead I feel like it’s politics as usual. And why wouldn’t it be? The little guy suffers, the big business wins. Who will be the first to get their water shut off?–the already disenfranchised, of course. The head is in the sand.

We cannot use land and resource like this:

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

Harris Ranch off the I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.

and try to live like this:

Beverly Hills Mansion

Beverly Hills Mansion

and still hold onto this:

images-10

Our only home

And so, without further ado and with more than a slight sense of defeat as I step off my soapbox, there is just one item on your Weekend To-Do (Good) List. It is this:

Cut your shower time in half and safe the world.

No really. It’s going to work.

~~~S Wave~~~

p.s. If you want a second assignment, it is to remind me why things are still, always hopeful. I know why, but sometimes it’s good to hear it from the lips of others. *sigh* ❤

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