Monday, June 8, 2015

Cat Con Draws 10,000

Its the year of the cat
    - Al Stewart

Out in the distance
a wild cat did growl
two riders were approaching
and the wind began to howl
  -Bob Dylan

      I got this in my inbox from the New York Times this morning.  
"This was the first CatCon, billed as a celebration of the stylish side of cat fancying. More than 10,000 people crowded into a downtown convention hall here over the weekend to shop for cat-centric merchandise (for people, mostly), have their pictures taken with celebrity Internet cats (such as Lil Bub, famous for her dwarfism),"
(A recent Climate Change Rally, drew 8000 -"one of the biggest Climate rallies California has seen")
       This was just what I needed to get my mind off another Califonia story.  Climate Change could overwhelm California, Obama science adviser says.
 "California can do many things to adapt to the challenge of a drier environment, from pricing water more realistically to increasing conservation and efficiency and building more dams, White House science adviser John Holdren said in an interview with The Chronicle. [...] if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current course, he said, such efforts are “ultimately going to be swamped by the changes in climate".
As the drought continues in California more and more farmers are tuning to groundwater. see California Farmers Dig Deeper for water, sipping their neighbors dry.  (NYT).  
In a normal year, Mr. Famiglietti says, 33 percent of California’s water comes from underground, but this year it is expected to approach 75 percent. Since 2011, he says, the state has lost eight trillion gallons from its overall water reserves, two-thirds of that from its underground aquifers.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Mr. Famiglietti says.
    When it comes to drilling for water, there are few rules and no boundaries. Generally, farmers who follow a set of modest regulations can drill on their own land.
California passed stronger regulations last year that are intended to govern underground drilling. Details of the rules are still being worked out. But even then, the rules won’t have any real effect for 25 years or more, says Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Of course the same thing is occurring in the midwest, home of the Ogalalla Aquifer.  see e.g. How long before the midwest runs out of water  (Wa Po).    For an international perspective you might try this 60 Minutes story Depleting The Water

            Is this something that can be addressed through democratic politics?  See e.g.  here's one candidate for the Senate in California who has made climate change his main platform.  I recently read an article in the London Review of Books, about the fate of the green party in the UK.   In order for the green platform to  gain some traction, they need to appeal to the average voter.. But this is difficult, given the average voters priorities 

   "On environmental issues, the feeling is that politics more generally has failed. The Greens have tried to respond to this mood with a brand of left-wing populism. But many of the voters the party is chasing don’t share its more radical ideas about the economy, while the changes the Greens believe are necessary to save us from our environmental predicament have barely filtered through to the electorate at all. The weak environmentalism that most people subscribe to – a mixture of technological change, renewable energy and recycling – is on the classic Green view only a little better than business as usual."

So, what should we think about all of this?   Citizlens are chasing jobs, farmers are chasing water.  Very few are thinking long term.    What's the Anthropocene going to be  like?  In the words of one Cat,   "Oh, baby, baby its a wild world"

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