Pope Francis asked us, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” noting that the environment is on loan to each generation.
Valley farms are already hard hit by the multiyear drought. For the second year in a row, no water from the Central Valley Project is available to the Westlands Water District. Much of that farmland is fallow, while groundwater pumping is used for the rest.
The strongest El Niño since 1997 may bring a lot of rain. However, we need a strong and consistent Sierra snowpack to ensure adequate water supply. Climate change models predict that reduced snow pack and increased wildfires will become the norm. If global temperatures continue to rise, we may be looking at 20- to 40-year droughts, which occurred here during a period of warmer temperatures about 900 years ago.
A threat to the generation-to-generation continuity of the family farm should be a wake-up call to all of us.
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Bryan Apper, St. Benedict Catholic Worker