Punchinello’s Chronicles

October 11, 2009

Fish vs People Leads to California Water Crisis

Filed under: Butterfly Wings — Punchinello @ 2:00 pm
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We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some of the information has to do with the Federal Reserve and banks, and how they interacted with interest rates and the money supply to prolong the problems. But what we don’t hear so much about is the dust bowl drought of the time. Drought raged for years, causing crops to fail and farms to collapse. It was an important part of the economic collapse.

Today, much of society is very different from the 1930s. We don’t have a majority population of farmers. People don’t routinely provide for their own food. Banks are huge corporations with many branches, not local town and city institutions. America imports a lot of food from places like South America and Mexico, as well as from all over the world. Our farmers have become so efficient and sophisticated, only a small fraction now feeds much of the United States.

We also have huge enterprise combines buying up so much farmland that the small, independent farmer has become almost an historical artifact. More and more of these family farms have disappeared. More and more of that farm land has been converted to developed real estate. And we know what’s been going on with the insanity of the real estate market.

Enter California, the 8th largest economy in the entire world. California farms provide a tremendous amount of the nation’s food, and we’re shutting them down. Why bother with farms? Who cares? We can always get our food from the super markets. After all, EVERYbody knows that cows grow in Styrofoam trays. Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables just spring up spontaneously out of concrete floors, right?

Nobody needs farms. We have plenty of food in stores, and stores obviously are a fine replacement for farms! In fact, since we get all our food from supermarkets, we need to pay more attention to the environmental impact of those dirty farms. In California, environmental concerns have always been a priority. Enough so, that the state and federal governments have simply shut off the water to millions of acres.

Back in the Great Depression, nature brought about the drought and dust bowl. It was an Act of God, if you’re a religious type of person. Nobody could have stopped it; nobody could have started it. Today, we the people, in cahoots with Our Government, we’re responsible for turning off the water in California.

At the moment, about 40,000 jobs have been lost. $1.5 billion in revenues has been lost. At least 1 million acres haven’t been planted. There happens to be a 3-year drought already in progress, but that’s not really important to the state government. What’s important is that EVERYbody knows that food grows in supermarkets, so farms don’t matter.

Governor Schwarzenegger hasn’t been able to reach any kind of deal on fixing up the existing 1960s water system. That’s just to get water to homes and supermarkets. But along with those problems, there’s almost no action whatsoever being taken to open up the flow of water to the farms.

Environmental concerns over the fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are now head-to-head with the needs and livelihoods of human beings. Many people have argued over the EPA and how protecting the environment is having an impact on human lives. “The environment” is all things OTHER than human beings.

Well, we’re soon going to have a fine opportunity to test all these idealistic theories. Which would you choose, air with a few more parts-per-million of carbon dioxide (absolutely essential to plant life and photosynthesis), or food? Would you rather see preserved wetlands or have something to eat ever three or four days?

Ah, but it won’t ever come to that. We have lots and lots of supermarkets, and ALL of them grow food. Why just the other day, I saw the fish department lay out some ice (probably not made from water), plant some fish seeds, and wah-lah! Presto! We had dead fish to eat! I watched a produce manager walk along an aisle filled with carboard box trees, and the harvest was great! The box trees had produced an abundance of carrots, cabbages, apples, oranges, and all kinds of edible fruits and vegetables. All from cardboard boxes!

The other day, driving along some rural roads here in Illinois, I was gratified to see whole city blocks filled with meat grazing on the sidewalks. There was pink meat, white meat, blue meat, and their cellophane skin looked nice and shiny and healthy. Back when we used to have cows and pigs, I don’t know what people did. Those animals were killed by evil environmental pirates, I suppose. You never see them anymore. Cows and pigs could have benefited from an Endangered Species listing.


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