Letters to the L.A. Times Agree that Endless Growth is not desirable or wise with California's limited water supplies
Tide turns toward common sense
Sunday, January 20, 2007
Re "Enforcing recent water laws may throttle state's growth," Jan. 14
The Times uses an interesting choice of words. I think a more accurate description would say that these laws are encouraging some sanity in an already overpopulated California. To base an economy on endless building and continuous population growth is greed disguised as progress. Until that's acknowledged, we will continue toward a future in which people will be drinking filtered sewage and desalinated ocean water. Unfortunately, this likely will be greeted with cheers by industries that would profit most from the switch. We would do ourselves a favor by shifting our focus from what we falsely perceive as shortages. We can only hope that the wisdom of quality over quantity hasn't been completely paved over.
La Canada Flintridge
I object to the characterization of water laws as putting growth at risk. Water laws are not the problem; lack of water is. We live in a desert, but we are using water as though this were a rain forest. We need to adopt growth policies that reflect our climate. Well-thought-out but more dense housing would help, as would widespread use of drought-resistant landscapes. We need to study the natural drainage and groundwater systems of the entire watershed and allow development only in ways that do not hinder normal groundwater replenishment. Thoughtlessly paving over everything in sight with mega-malls, parking lots and million-square-foot warehouses will not allow us the future we hope for. Nor will characterizing water officials as bureaucrats making unnecessary and harmful regulations.
When and how will California's growth be throttled, as it surely must be eventually? We are not only running out of water, but the very qualities of California that have fueled growth over the years are becoming ever more scarce. Author and environmentalist Edward Abbey once said that "an economic system that can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human." Well, that is what we have, not only in California but globally. Whether it is running out of water, wilderness, energy, clean air or food, the human species, and the world with it, are on the way to disaster. Because water engineers are not so inclined (they are not appointed to the task in any case), some part of society must soon step up and begin to figure out how to end growth, if not reverse it, until the world reaches a steady state of ecological sustainability.
Fred S. Barker