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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Essay #104: No Water For You

        The battle to halt global warming, aka ‘climate change’, is over.
        We lost.
        The Republitard fascists and the One Percent (the Oligarchy) have and continue to work hard to ensure that the trajectory of civilization is pointed toward the extinction of homo sapiens in thirty years or so. This is essentially species suicide thru intentional inaction.
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        Eco-journalist Bill McKibben learned from climate scientists that there was a ‘tipping point’, a point of no return, that a level of carbon dioxide (CO2) at 350 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere was the maximum safe level; above that the ‘greenhouse effect’ would afterward operate on autopilot, the planet and the biosphere would from there simply get warmer all on its own. The number back in 2007 was 385 ppm of carbon dioxide. So McKibben founded to build grassroots awareness of the problem; the group held major marches and demonstrations in 2009 and 2010 and 2012, but the average citizen heard little news about those efforts. The fascists spent millions on propaganda in recent elections, Oklahoma Sen. Inhofe calls climate change a hoax, and the Kyoto Agreement remains unsigned by the United States.
        The wheels of government spin merrily while the planet heats up.

        Think not? News this month from Hawai’i is that atmospheric scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory have been recording levels of 400 ppm of carbon dioxide. The 11,000 foot elevation and the distance from both Honolulu and Hilo (and everywhere else) makes measurements taken there ‘clean’. The first measurements taken there were around 316 ppm in 1958; readings rose to 385 in 2007, an increase (ballpark) of 70 points in 30 years or 2.3 points average; the increase since 2007 is 15 points, which is 3.0 points per year. Seems like not much, but the rate of increase has gone up by 25 percent. If your paycheck went up 25 percent, that would be good news; such a rate of increase for this factor of climate change is very bad news.
        Greenhouse gases are increasing ever faster and are unlikely to be reversed. Warmer. Then warmer.
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        In other news, New Mexico is experiencing ‘severe’ drought in 90% of the state, ‘extreme’ drought in 50%, and ‘exceptional’ drought in 4.3%, which is the eighth worst. The Great Drought is obvious everywhere in the state. Elephant Butte Reservoir is at its lowest level since the dam was completed in 1916. The site is built to hold 2 million acre feet of water; the content at present is 223,000 acre feet – or 11 percent of capacity.
        So no water is leaving Elephant Butte southward.

        The farmers in Hatch Valley realize the situation, and most are planning to plant NO ‘famous Hatch chili’ crop this year. (Well, maybe a few with deep wells will give it a try.) And I heard that farmers in Valencia County will plant only two alfalfa crops this year, instead of three.
        The available water in the Rio Grande River is far below New Mexico’s long-ago negotiated allotment, so no water is leaving New Mexico across the state line to Texas, either. Texas has already filed suit with the U.S. Supreme Court, but that is simple lawyerly due diligence (“We tried!”) – if they win the case, where is any water coming from?
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        I was in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1960s, based in Las Vegas, Nevada with temporary assignments to VietNam, and Thailand, and other places. The people of Thailand, especially those ‘up country’ (north of Bangkok) are quite friendly to Europeans, and I took the opportunity to ‘go native’ and paid the weekly rent for a girl there named Vilai and spent nights and weekends off the airbase when I could get away from teaching computer analysis to master sergeants. I was there six weeks or so and truly experienced elements of the local lifestyle, which goes back hundreds of years.
        The bungalow where I stayed was on eight-foot log stilts; there were two rows of housing on a berm between and above the rice paddies, with a foot and bicycle path down the middle. We slept inside mosquito netting, and Vilai cooked or we went out. There was electricity but no television; I read a lot. The back porch (facing the paddy) was fenced to about three feet high, with one section for the kitchen and the other for the bath. The stilts were strong enough to support a large ceramic water cistern, about four feet in diameter and maybe three feet high. The way that things worked there, each resident had to be home between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to turn the faucet on to replenish the cistern, and to turn it off when full. Some days no water came out. There were severe penalties for anybody who turned the faucet on and then left the place unattended.
        I learned to take a bath ‘native style’, by first soaping up (bent low because the fence was designed for shorter people) and then using a tin bowl to rinse the soap off. Not a bad experience in a tropical country (Thailand’s latitude matches that of Central America), but I really do appreciate and prefer a hot shower.
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        What is going to happen here in New Mexico?
        First, Albuquerque and other towns and cities will outlaw watering of gardens and lawns and filling of swimming pools, even wading pools. I am surprised that restaurants have not already stopped serving water except by request; it will eventually happen, and they may even begin charging for water like any other beverage.
        Next will probably be shutdown of car washes.
        As water becomes scarcer, prices will go up, either at the grocery or c-store or on your monthly water bill. And you better have a large bag of quarters on hand if you wash clothes at the laundromat (or apartment building equivalent).
        Water is a finite resource and a commodity, and the price of each form of water could very well double in the next two years.

        One hopes that the bureaucrats in each New Mexico city or water district are smart enough to set delivery hours of rationed water to match the American lifestyle – how about 6 to 9 in the morning and 5 to 9 in the evening?
        Good idea to start shopping for that in-home water cistern. Ceramic ones can be found at floral nurseries, the plastic barrel kind at nurseries and at construction and industrial supply stores. Get yours before the price goes up.

        Need a job? Ask a Republican why they do nothing about the situation.
        Well gone dry? Ask a Republican why they continue to prevent every solution to overcome climate change.
Copyright 2013 by G.E. Nordell, all rights reserved

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