It’s been a while since I’ve posted a links round-up, but I thought I would share some of the stories that I’ve come across recently.
Has California’s megadrought already begun? [x]
But first, a reality check: California’s cities have more than enough water to withstand the current drought and then some. They simply don’t use that much. Not true for agriculture, which uses 80 percent of California’s water — 10 percent of that just on almonds. Though it’s still a national powerhouse, fed increasingly by fast-depleting groundwater supplies, the state’s agriculture industry has likely begun a long-term decline due mostly to simple math. Abnormally dry conditions have dominated in 11 of the last 15 years, and the cuts have to come from somewhere. Agriculture is the elephant in the ever-shrinking room of California water.
Unless something drastically changes, it seems like I should cross California off my list of potential places to live for the rest of my life. (A list that isn’t really that long; New Zealand is so far and above any other place that it’s really just a list of one.)
We’re all losers to a gadget industry built on planned obsolescence [x]
Due to a lack of clear economic incentives and methods, globally only 12% (pdf) of smartphone upgrades involve older devices being sold or traded for the new one. This means ecologically damaging devices end up languishing in drawers and eventually landfills.
Planned obsolescence, or, wait, they’re already on the iPhone 6? Didn’t they come out with the iPhone 5 just a few months ago?
There is always a new version of a product that supposedly blows previous version out of the water. I’m left wondering what happened to owning things that could be passed down for generations if properly cared for. (I know that a phone or computer isn’t the same as a cast-iron frying pan, but what if, dear reader, you could invest in these new “necessities” just once, or maybe twice, in your life? What if?)
Agroecology: An idea and practice coming of age [x]
Agroecology builds soil fertility using compost or manure. It uses traditional family farming techniques such as intercropping, arboriculture and seed saving, and minimises the use of external inputs. It fosters biodiversity and supports ecosystem health. Socially and economically, it aims to support a fair wage for the producer, provide access to affordable, local produce for communities and encourages a sense of place through cultural traditions. Politically, agroecology aims to ensure that the production of food is supported and safeguarded at all policy levels, and that the voices of producers and consumers are heard.
My efforts to learn more about sustainable/regenerative agriculture have been mostly focused on permaculture, but I recognize that there are other practices that could achieve the same goals. Agroecology in particular stood out to me as one of these other practices because of the political aspect. Permaculture organizations seem to be so isolated, working with a country’s government only as much as needed to acquire land and possible non-profit organization status. But food is highly political, and agroecology at least tries to integrate public policy into its practices.
In Florida, Officials Ban Term ‘Climate Change’ [x]
DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
It still baffles me that there are still climate change deniers out in the world, but if you combine it with this article from Grist [x], it’s hilarious to imagine people trying to avoid the term at all costs.
Oh Florida. How are you a real place?