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California's Drought: The Canary in the Coalmine?


California's Drought: The Canary in the Coalmine?

Maude Barlow

On April 1, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered officials to impose mandatory water restrictions in his drought stricken state for the first time in history. The news was carried around the world. “Climate change” was named as the culprit — and it is.


“When the Rivers Run Dry”, by Fred Pearce. Read it and be informed, and then weep…


There are many reasons why the answer, reforestation, can’t be done. We need to find reasons why it must.


The article’s analysis if right-on as is the need to implement the suggestions offered. The problem is that corporations have already seen the water issues coming to a head, and are using treaties like the TPP and TIPP to foreclose against any community/human opposition to their plans to exploit every ecosystem. Fracking is a stupid way to forfeit water in exchange for profits for a few. Nowhere is conservation of water or energy being taught because the corporate preferred mantra is (endless) consumption!

My Grandson recently visited the farm/finca of a family friend in the mountains of Puerto Rico and told me that the river out back was dry enough to walk across the entire previous bed. Water is being cut off on the tropical island of Puerto Rico and I heard that Cuba is also having problems.

When I visited Peru in 2010 it was pointed out that glaciers had already receded up the mountains and that boded poorly for spring rainfalls, source of river water feeds.

All over North Florida I see forests being “harvested.” It’s unconscionable when covenants exist between trees and rain systems that go back eons and were understood by Indigenous medicine people and some of the Hindu Sanskrit speakers of mantra. They communicated directly with the elements.

Those with positions of leadership 9 times out of 10 answer to corporations. And corporations put transitory paper wealth way ahead of the preservation of priceless ecosystems. Millions ARE opposing this ethos… it remains to be seen whether the Midas touch of the elites/1% manages to turn our planet into a Dead Zone.

(From the article):

“Cutting down the Amazon rainforest has led to a perilous drop in rainfall, for example. For the first time in living memory, the once water-rich city of Sao Paulo in Brazil is experiencing severe drought.”

Engineers taught to adhere to a form of science that only recognizes material causative factors cannot understand the covenant I mentioned. Evidence to how it works is shown in the above quote.


This documentary really drives home what is happening:


One is that we’ll need lumber to build all the thousands of guillotines we’ll need in the near future.


Cadillac Desert is another. It changed my worldview once upon a time.


Another strategic element is hydro-electric power. Any country that controls the fresh water from the mountains has significant political sway; often a monopoly situation, that may lead to wars. Similar to the water source aspect; i.e. that the source should be benefitting the global community and not be a private property; the potential energy inherent in water reservoirs should be treated as a global resource, alongside renewables like solar, wind etc. Therefore , private companies should not be allowed to control these activities. They should be controlled by the public; or even global control.


California is hardly the only state functioning as a canary in the coal mine, it just gets more attention because it has a relatively large population and economy.

Snow pack in several other western states is in the 5 to 20% of average this year combined with June temperatures that were 7 to 8 degrees above average, combined with little or no spring rainfall. The only saving grace for the Pacific Northwest this summer is that most of the water in the Columbia River originates in Canada where snow pack is average or better.


Actually methinks that dams, especially mega dams, oughta not be allowed - the power and distribution of water can be utilized without damming it up , it seems to me - it should be allowed to flow fairly freely - channeled, perhaps to help control flood waters - but even here - caution - Egypt’s fertile Nile Valley was the result of the annual Nile flooding of its banks, gone now, after the upstream dams were built - not to mention, conversely, all the areas permanently submerged by the reservoirs behind the dams …

I love Maude dearly, as a fearless champion of water’s “rights” , but i think she needs to clarify her assertion that our abuse of it is a “cause” of climate change … i am curious …


Ah yes - technology to save the day …

Matt, i am beginning to wonder what sort of Green you are …


California’s Drought: The Canary in the Coalmine?

California is the new Detroit. Just wait until the jack-booted-thugs come to your door. They have come to mine seeking to spray for some new bug. They did not find the plants they were looking for in my yard so they did not spray for the bug. However, this is not the case for the whole neighborhood. The spray they are using is a nicatoid. What! There is no wind/breeze in this part of the world? There goes our bees and our food sources. Our local governments are full of ill-informed dip shits.


“Sustainable” - that is the key - sustainability implies, to my way of thinking, that we utilize appropriate technology - which means considering all the inouts/outputs required, and how, not only it, but the effects it may/will will effect even the folks who aren’t using it, including future generations … and that may well mean rejecting certain technologies that otherwise might seem “ideal” - nuclear power comes to mind, e.g. …


It must be done because that is how the Earth remains fertile and verdant.

It can be done, and without eliminating humans, because earthworks that stop, spread, and sink water build up water in a landscape and reforest degraded land, given a few other principles of design.

There are good examples available, including John Liu’s Lessons of the Loess Plateau, Geoff Lawton’s Greening the Desert, and many others.


In the dry islands, rainwater catchments and cisterns are common. Sure, they have to be cleaned once in a while, but that would only mean exercise that would substitute for that we do in the gym.

My grandparents used to filter their cistern’s water through a stone filter. It would filter out the occasional mosquito larvae, bird shit and such from the roof, and it tasted sweet. No one ever got sick from it although they did not chlorinate it. Go figure.

When I see the sprinklers in the road medians squirting and wasting water on the roads, or on the golf courses, I think that they (not “we”) brought drought problems on themselves.