06/27/2013 by syrbal-labrys
I do not live in Los Angeles, and I am grateful. After being too sickly to be effective for most of Sunday through Tuesday, yesterday was errand catch-up run. I had to go to the post office, the bank, the library, the feed store, the grocery store, the veterinarian, and a couple other places. I admit, I was expecting to feel like hammered shit by the time I got home. But just between the final two stops, something wonderful happened…the very reason I moved back here to Western Washington happened. It rained.
Fat splashy drops all over my windshield, and wind billowing the cover on the big truck ahead of me so it slightly resembled a black pirate sail. A ripple of thunder overhead and the sky going livid with lightning and I opened my windows to feel and smell the rain. I love the rain, it is one of the major reasons I talked my husband into retiring here. I like to live where water falls from the sky frequently! When I was here as a child in 1964-65, I recall it raining almost daily. That is not the case anymore. But still, as much as the desert heat makes my aging bones hurt less? I won’t be retiring to Arizona or New Mexico….because that area is going to resemble a popcorn fart in the decades ahead. Even more than now, Lake Meade is visibly disappearing and there is no refill. And the lights of Vegas will go out when Hoover Dam’s turbines stop turning! But that won’t be the end of the power crisis caused by lack of water.
And the Midwest, where work colleagues of my husband are going after retirement? The place I spent some of my childhood amidst “golden waves of grain”? The Oglalla Aquifer and the Mississippi River are drying up. The Oglalla is being drained at a rate of 800 gallons per minute, and it is not being refilled. The breadbasket is getting ready to be a Dust Bowl again.
The mighty Colorado doesn’t reach the Sea of Cortez anymore….at least not all year. And soon, it won’t reach it at all. And all this doesn’t seem to phase people watering lawns in the desert, or spraying citrus groves and golf courses. But when it is gone, it is gone. Water does not fall from the sky in that part of America, not very often. And America is better off than many places already in dire condition for potable water.
My sons will see wars fought for water; I hope I am dead and gone by then. But since it is likely to get to that desperate stage within two generations, I may well see the beginnings. I don’t buy bottled water, except the occasional treat that is Pellegrino mineral water. People like Nestle and Coke Cola set up bottling plants in countries like India, where the locals can’t even get safe drinking water. But those companies purify and TAKE the water for free to sell to us stupid Americans….whose tap water is generally safe for drinking. (Though I admit, fucking fracking might change that for multitudes of Americans!)
And every time I bring this topic up, I get told how easy it will be to deal with by desalinization of sea water. Hmmm…well, and then what happens to the super salinated waste from that process? And some forms of the process create horrid thermal pollution as well; am I to assume, blissfully, that only good ecological methods will be used by desperate folk thirsty and in need of irrigation water? And the power costs of this process can be beggaring to economies not run off oil profits. None of the solutions are sunny get out of jail free cards.
If I posited the idea of omni-gods like most monotheistic sorts, I’d say us primates are about to become as big a disappointment as one sarcastically assumes the dinosaurs were! We’ve taken that “decree” of dominating the earth to the nasty capitalistic extreme that now will leave us all homeless. Of course, were I one for omni-gods (and I am very much NOT), I’d say the design was not only not intelligent, but pretty fucking flawed.
If I am mistaken about all the don’t-worry-be-saved-by-Jeebus bullshit and die to wake up at the alleged Pearly Gates? I’m going to act a lot like a Fox News reporter with a Democrat stuck between her front
fangs teeth; cause Lucy “Jehovah” has some explaining to do! But mostly, really, and snark aside? I want to know what all the religious types will have to say after denying climate change as they watch the planet die of dry and heat….while places like where I live likely will see a new Ice Age begin eventually. But hey….their Holy Rainbow was right…most of us are not going to drown this time.
No, wait…some of us are going to drown if we don’t find somewhere else to go. And where ARE all the climate-change refugees going to go? Is it going to be like Kate Wilhelm’s science fiction novel Juniper Time? Huge camps in remaining temperate zones? Rationing and distraction to keep riots and panic at bay?
Me? I’m not going anyplace. I’m smiling at every fat rain drop hitting my windows, watering my gardens. I’m going to sit on the porch of my Honey House up in the picture, and feel the rain on my face and count my blessings. Water problems in America and Africa and India used to be the issue of not having a well and a working pump. Now? More a problem of either the well not reaching water, or the water reached being too polluted to safely use for drinking. I am glad I am old, and I am sorry I brought children into a world that so has forgotten the real priorities of life. I apologize to my kids often; when I had them in the 70’s I really thought I saw a light beginning to dawn. But it was the head light of the train of Interesting Times blocking the only tunnel out of town….