Loveliness After the Rain & More on our Water Woes

| November 14, 2014 | 2 Replies

Loveliness After the Rain & More on our Water Woes. Last night’s light shower was nothing more than a blip on the radar of California’s vastly reduced water supply due to four straight years of drought. Still, the sight of dripping flowers in the morning light cheered me.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Pitcher sage bloom

Pitcher Sage bloom weighted down by raindrops

I attended a Sierra Club Angeles Chapter water forum last night in Long Beach where I learned that 80% of California’s water is allocated to industrial monoculture agriculture. When they first established the center of the state as a major agricultural power, it was for the purpose of growing annual crops. Therefore, water supplies from winter rains had a chance to replenish reservoirs and groundwater for the long dry summers ahead.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Mexican Sunflower

Mexican sunflower

But, at some point, it became a perennial crop haven for growing citrus, fruit trees and almonds, all of which take an enormous amount of water, year round, and most of which is trucked out of state. They grow a lot of alfalfa, too, which is shipped to China.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Eggplant

Ping Tung Long eggplant

I learned that if agriculture gave up only 15% of their allocated water, we would have no water shortages in the major metropolitan areas of San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Oakland. The politics of water goes way back to “Chinatown” in this state, a film about the power players a century ago that made the great city of Los Angeles possible, at great cost to the Owens Valley.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Aloe Vera blooms

Aloe Vera blooms

Vast Owens Lake south of Lone Pine was bled dry to fill the artery of the L.A. Aqueduct, and turned the lakebed to toxic dust. Once a lush green valley, sand dunes remained after the water was gone. They are now trying to refill the lake. If you soon feel the pinch of water restrictions, imagine having none.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Pepper plant

King of the North pepper plant, dripping

Also imagine, if you will, the central valley producing diverse crops on small, sustainable farms. As Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva said in a speech in South Central L.A. that I attended in 2013, “I feel the pain of the pollinators” when she passes up Interstate 5 and sees the monocultural agriculture. No wonder the bees are dying, their hives are being loaded up and moved constantly to where the trees are blossoming. They probably just want to give up. It’s unnatural.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Meyer lemons

Meyer lemons with raindrops

I had been asked to speak to the group about growing your own food. I showed them how to make DIY seed pots out of newspaper and shared my passion for reading labels and growing food without chemicals. If you grow a lemon and you don’t spray it with anything, all that lemon has in it is lemon juice. I talked about all the added sugars in processed foods today and picked up a jug of tea which had an astounding 24 grams of sugar per serving, and of course the sugar is made from corn which is genetically modified. There are more than 10,000 approved food additives companies have the right to put in our food. The best reason to grow your own food, I told them, is so you know what’s in it.

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Cremes pea vine

Cremes pea vines and ripe pea pod

The issues of water allocations, food labeling, industrial agriculture and genetic engineering are enormously complex and deeply involve politics. What can we as citizens do?

Plant a garden, watch it grow,

eat from it, share seeds,

food, and what you know. 

Loveliness after the rain & More on our Water Woes - Borage blooming

Borage blooming

And you can attend public meetings, contact your Congressmen and Congresswomen, and get involved. And vote. Because you may be able to squeak through life in relative ease, but your children and grandchildren may not. Do it for them.

Loveliness after the rain & More on the Water Woes

Sparky Marigolds

Do you have too much rain or not enough? Anything blooming in your garden, or are you already freezing? One thing about Southern California, we get very little rain, but lots of sun! Thanks for reading! Please share. ~ Kaye

PS – All photos from today.

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Category: Environment, Flowers, Food Security, Rain

Comments (2)

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  1. This is a great article. It gives a comprehensive view of the water situation in CA in a few lines and asks everyone to be more active in the political process. We have a voice let’s use it collectively to make a difference.

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