A recent San Jose Mercury News headline warns: “California Drought: San Joaquin Valley sinking as farmers race to tap aquifer.” In this race to the bottom, the prize will be a moribund agricultural system that presently provides a quarter of our nation’s food.
But don’t despair, there is a Plan B. Our Valley aquifer is like a savings bank. The future looks bright as long as withdrawals don’t exceed deposits. Unfortunately, farmers have been making water withdrawals twice as fast as nature makes deposits.
But we’re not overdrafting just water. The Bee’s May 29 lead story warns we’re “IN TROUBLE.” The economy isn’t growing fast enough. Americans are “shopping for needs, not wants.” Trouble? No, a wake-up call: We’ve got just one world, and its limited resources can no longer support our demands for more, more, more.
Nature is trying to teach us an essential lesson for humanity’s long-term survival: You can’t keep growing forever. If we are wise, we’ll make it through this painful transition – from get all you want to take only what you need – and emerge having learned how to live sustainably in a world fast approaching nonnegotiable limits.
We have no choice. There is no Planet B.
Bruce Ratcliffe, Fresno