Sunday, January 19, 2014
Everyone wants to be considered ecologically correct these days. The watch word of the day is green. Going green, being green, thinking green, practicing green. The land masses of the earth, from space, exhibit vast areas of green, where forest and jungle predominate. Our planet is undergoing significant change, due mostly to man's devastating exploitation of the carbon bank.
Life is about burning, the oxidation of compounds that releases energy--energy to drive all movement, all work, all activity. But too much burning, uncontrolled burning, is not a good thing. Fires burning out of control, burning more than is good, produce excess waste products that the earth cannot absorb. Life on earth is sustained by a kind of balance between burning, and the absorption of the products of burning. Man has tipped the balance in favor of burning, and there isn't enough green flora on the planet to absorb it. This has led to Global Warming, as the temperature of the earth's atmosphere rises gradually, causing incremental, severe changes in the planet's mean balance. We've all been indoctrinated in the consequences of Global Warming.
Here in California, we're beginning to see the immediate effects of Global Warming, as the current drought progresses into its second year, and the meteorologists predict little rainfall in the coming months. Rationing and scarcity are coming, and no one is certain about how this will play out. The state's agricultural interests are tense and poised to fight over dwindling supplies, and historical and statutory water rights and claims are once more coming into the spotlight.
One thing seems very clear to me: The state's fragile riverine network has been taxed to its limit, and we're already at the threshold of a "watershed moment" in the growth paradigm. The American West's prosperity has largely been mounted on a platform of reclamation, vast hydro-electric projects that permitted the rapid increase of urban and suburban development. That rapid expansion has reached and exceeded the limits of the state's fresh water. The aquifers, the mountain stream watersheds have been exploited to their ultimate limits. Our Governor has advocated a new version of the "peripheral canal"--a huge underground diversion of the Sacramento River under the Delta, which would spell the final doom of the ecological health of the Delta itself, in order to serve the thirst of the Southern California agricultural interests, and the continued explosion of urban and residential development in Los Angeles, San Diego, etc.
Everyone knows the end has already arrived. The state's water resources cannot be taxed any further. You can forget about ecological concerns in the coming years--fish and wildlife--because the powerful interests vying for a share are stronger than the protectionists. Fresh water is finite. And without fresh water there is no prosperity. No settlement, no industry, no agriculture. This is a fact, blunt and inescapable. But somehow, people think that just one more dam, one more diversion, one more "miracle" in the desert can save us from scarcity. They are deluded.
In any case, there isn't anything the ordinary citizen can do about it, except husband the water they use personally, and not waste what is left. In this household, we've had a water-saver shower since 1991, we covered our yard in hard landscaping in 1994 (brick), and we have low water flush toilets. Our water usage is less than one-third of the residential unit average for our area. I suppose that if rationing comes, the water authorities will expect us to cut back based on our average annual use, though our neighbors have been using three and four times (at least) as much as we have over the years. This isn't fair, but fairness doesn't seem to matter to bureaucracies; they make rules that are simple, and easy to carry out. Thinking microscopically doesn't suit their agenda.
In the meantime, here are two very nice green cocktail recipes which will soften the dry winds of unwelcome change, as tumbleweed skips across the arid sands of the Central Valley, by abandoned mirages of oases. The coming scarcities will likely mean the forced closure of some of the state's towns and ranches. We can pollute and spoil land and water through pollution, but the devastation caused by severe water shortages could dwarf those effects. The future of water use in the state isn't bright.
Mixed, as usual, by proportion, and served up. Guaranteed to slake your thirst.
2 parts gin
2 parts dry vermouth
two parts Midori (melon liqueur)
1 part Parfait d'Amour Orange
2 parts white rum
1 part yellow Chartreuse
1/2 part Key Lime liqueur
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
It's mid-January, and the weather here in Northern California feels like early June. My God!, it's like Lozangeleez!