Moguls and Mullahs. Or water, water……anywhere?

Hollywood moguls and Muslim mullahs.  I’m relatively sure no one links those two together in a thought or sees their similarities.  I really didn’t either until I was going through the stacks of articles, when I realized they were the same, because their countries were the same.  As are gauchos and Yemenis.

We know the problems of California and their incredible multi-year drought.  Brought on by antiquated water rights, agricultural waste,  and an attitude that resources are endless.  The shots of the reservoirs are shocking, even more so if you realize that what we don’t see are the bone dry, snowpack-less mountains that feed the rivers and reservoirs.  The sources of what should be the seasonal melts that replenish the supply.  But both supply and source are dry.


The problem with the mullahs is the same.  Iran, desert country, has limited water supplies.  Much like California, those supplies have suffered both mismanagement and natural drought.  The mismanagement is in agriculture, groundwater pumping rates, and river damming.  Combined with a sense of entitlement to the water and a lack of responsibility in using it, the effect is the same…rivers running dry, wells going deeper to find scarcer water, people suffering.


Back here, Brazil is suffering from the same issues.  Overuse, underplanning, a lack of understanding of how the rainforest and rivers work…or don’t when you mangle them with human shortsightedness.


Yemen has it from another direction.  A country so dry it just barely survives, now it has a civil war.  One of the casualties of that war is the water infrastructure, which has been bombed, neglected, and abused to the point of failure.

When are we going to realize that resources are not endless?  When do we decide that we need to pay attention to trends and possibilities of problems?  I remember years ago when the Monocacy River was so low that towns were looking to truck in water, when driving across one of the Baltimore reservoirs you could see feet and feet of dry bed that should have been covered in water.  Yes, it is now.  But should we bank on always having so much we train ourselves and the next generation to squander it?

And water is just one item.  Air quality.  Food.  Land.  Forests.  Animals.  All are finite.  I’m not going to go all Malthusian and say we’re going to run out.  But we can run out of the easy, the cheap, the plentiful.  When that happens, systems designed to run on the easy, cheap, plentiful will break down.  That may not be the time to reset; it may be too late then.

We need to value and protect the resource.  I’m not Catholic, but I think I agree with the Pope on this one.  “Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way.”

Sounds good to me.


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