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Good to the last drop

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
December 27, 2002


Forgive my impudence but it seems to me 2002 is ending on very uncertain terms. At war with terrorism and our darker nature, Americans should consider if we are better off than we were two years ago. With a Federal Government hell bent on undoing thirty years of environmental policy, while actively pursuing a foreign policy equally damaging to the planet, which are in many ways related, 2003 will not be a banner year for the natural world.

I could make predictions for the next 12 months. But to what end? In a culture that needs shadow enemies to make its shadow government relevant, by design nothing is, as it seems. What level of clairvoyance does an individual need to see the dropping of bombs in our near future? Knowing where the uranium tipped ordinances will fall is the realm of the CIA and the Pentagon, not Miss Cleo.

As threatened as the Bush administration wants us to feel, I still can't help believe the bigger threat to Californians is the growing numbers of Californians. Foreign dictators hardly matter when personal freedom at home is controlled by limited jobs, a scarcity of fresh water, and absolutely no local food production. The San Diego region can no longer feed itself, with or without imported water resources, and is dependent on federal funds. We can hardly consider our communities sustainable or self-sufficient, yet they continue to grow.

At a meeting on Dec. 16, 2002, Interior Secretary, and designated federal "river master,' Gale Norton announced"The era of limits is upon us' to a gathering of Colorado River users. Citing California's inability or unwillingness to live up to the terms of the Colorado River Basin Pact of 1929, or develop a mandated conservation plan, she made clear her intent to reduce the state's river take from 5.2 million to 4.4 million acre feet per year as of Jan. 1, 2003.

The question is will Californian's be willing to accept limitations, considering they have refused up to this point. Nothing has stood in the way of our narrow definition of progress. The Salton Sea, a widely recognized catastrophic failure, is maintained by the monumental wasting of water. Like the salt that will eventually kill that accidental body of water, eventually a limit will be reached in regards to the biological carrying capacity of San Diego County. After that it's anybody's guess.

Who really thinks Metropolitan Water District has any real concern for the economic well being of those of living south of the Los Angeles County line? Seeing how little concern the San Diego region has shown for the people of the Imperial Valley, why should we be treated any different?And if those advocating the full privatization of water are successful, the California Dream will die of thirst quicker than you can say water transfer.

Everywhere we look there are signs of Koyaanisqatsi, (the Hopi term for life out of balance), yet there is a collective unwillingness to connect the dots. Ignorance is power in a culture of denial, so why shouldn't a complete lack of ecological balance goes unnoticed for the deathblow it has the potential to be. As long as we believe it can't get any better it won't. And it can get better, we just have to learn to live with less.

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