“Water should never be treated as a nonrenewable resource; it should always be treated with the respect it deserves as the foundation of life on the planet.” -David Brown
California contains one of the most unique and diverse set of ecosystems in the world. The Golden State has snow covered mountains and fertile valleys, dry deserts and lush forests, an ocean on one side and the Sierra Nevadas on the other – all within just a few hours driving distance of each other. These natural resources combined create an ecological hotspot, deemed to be among the top 33 areas of biodiversity in the world. And we owe it all to water.
Waterways in California form an intricate web of watersheds comprised of snow and rain, rivers and streams, estuaries, and bays. It forms the beautiful snowpack of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter, melting in the summer to rage down the mountains and into our rivers, bringing life to the Central Valley. But now all of our watersheds are suffering. As we enter the third year of an extreme drought, we are finally awakening to the fact that our state is running out of water and what it might mean for us to be out of it.
California has a thriving agricultural economy that leads the nation in production and quality. Most of our crops rely on irrigation; waters diverted from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers seed life into the millions of acres of crops. Fisheries and endangered species also rely heavily rain and snowmelt. Anadromous salmon cannot swim upriver and spawn if there is a lack of sufficient river flow. Water is also important for California’s population as well. The severity of the current drought ensures that our farms, fisheries, and consumers will be in a desperate struggle for every last drop.
California has experienced many droughts before, some lasting more than 200 years. We certainly hope that is not the case here, that this drought will be over and done with quickly. Unfortunately, we cannot count on this, nor can we say that another drought will not slam us again in the near future.
Again the whispers of climate change are becoming shouts, especially as the polar vortex continues to molest the midwest and northeast, and super typhoons pound the Philippines. Climate change is happening, but I will not imply that the current weather conditions here in California are a direct consequence. What I will say is that drought is a reason, a cause, for Californians to band together and live ethically. The drought is no longer at our doorstep. It has broken into our house and cut our pipelines. It has infiltrated our home and is destroying our crops, drying out our rivers and streams, killing our fish. It is an immense enemy that we cannot fight unless each and every person does their part. We are in a state of emergency and in order to conserve our natural resources, we must ACT. As Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture says, “We are all in this together.”
It is our responsibility, our obligation to fight this enemy. We’ve all heard of ways to save water – mainly cutting water usage wherever possible. We have a terrible history of overconsumption; it is difficult for our society to regulate wants and needs, especially when we live in a nation that that allows us tremendous access to all of our modern delights. Now is the time, more than ever, to carry out mindful practices in our everyday lives so that we may have a sustainable future. As one mindful consumer writes:
“Mindful consumption means understanding that everything you purchase and use in your daily life can be traced back to another place on earth; a place that is filled with people, communities, and ecosystems.”
In this case, we must use mindful consumption not only for what we buy in the grocery store, but also for how we structure our use of water. The amount of water we use in the shower, washing our dishes, watering our lawns – it traces directly back to us and our people, our communities, our ecosystems. With this drought we will undoubtedly see rising prices in the produce section. Our fish will struggle and fail to make it upstream. Wildfires, like the devastating Rim Fire, will become more abundant with no rain to quench the rolling hills of dry grass. By working together here and now, we can help save our agricultural yield and our wallets while helping protect the unique ecology of our state.
We have so much access to so many wonderful things, yet we take it for granted. Let’s decide now to appreciate, protect, and conserve all that nature provides for us. Live sustainably with ethically sourced products from Pucci Foods and do your part to create a sustainable future.