November 01, 2008


Ethan, Tristan, & friends are ready for trick-or-treatingThe day of tricks or treats began with a trick, compliments of nature. As the children awoke, excited about that evening's adventures, a light rain was falling. It was the first measurable rain in over five months, and it arrived on Halloween.

Given southern California's water crisis, some adults saw the rain not as a trick, but as a treat. However, the rain did not last. By noon, it was mostly sunny. A total of 0.06 inches of rain had fallen. "It's certainly not enough to help," joked one TV meteorologist, "but we'll call it a 'moral victory.'"

On the same day, news reports were announcing that many southern California communities would likely receive only 15 percent of their imported water in 2009. Much of the water southern Californians use comes from other, wetter parts of the state, but even those areas have seen below-normal rainfall the past several years. The city of Signal Hill has announced that water rates will rise in 2009, and many throughout southern California are predicting that next year will be a year of water rationing, unless this winter provides an unusually abundant rainfall.

As costumed children traipsed across lush, green lawns to get their Halloween goodies, it occurred to me that perhaps the "moral victory" won't come from nature. Perhaps it will come when we take seriously the need to conserve resources like water. Few are complaining about the rate increase--most residents of Signal Hill can afford it--but overconsumption causes rates to go up for everyone in southern California, even those who can't afford it. Overconsumption will lead to a cut in supply, even for those who currently use only what they need. In addition, overconsumption takes a terrible toll on creation. Fish in the Delta are endangered, Owens Lake has been drained dry, and the Gulf of California--one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems in the world--is threatened, mostly because the replenishing waters of the Colorado River are now drained dry before ever reaching the sea.

It's time to stop overconsuming. It's time to think of someone besides ourselves. Once we do that, we will truly be able to claim a moral victory.

1 comment:

kathy a. said...

excellent post.