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Exceptionalism II—What’s Happening to our Water

January 31st, 2014 | Posted by David Whitfield in Economic Justice

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink
Samuel Taylor Coleridge—“The Rime of the Ancient Marnier” (1798)

You’re sitting in your living room and suddenly you remember to take your medication; you head to the kitchen, turn on the water faucet—nothing happens—not one drop of water. That’s what’s happening in California’s Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and other valleys. These valleys help feed the millions of people. And they need water. According to the Huffington Post, these shortages of water will drive up food cost. Examples: to produce one gallon of milk, it takes 880 gallons of water; to produce one pound of beef, it takes 1,799 gallons of water; one pound of rice, 449 gallons.
“You never miss your water ‘til your well runs dry,” is from a blues song written by Don Cornelius, creator of the dance show, “Soul Train.” Pretty soon we will start missing our water because the wells have begun to run dry.
Our national leadership is silent when it comes to America’s water shortage that results from fracking, chemical spills, and shipping large bladders of it to China—mind you, these large bladders are sucked from America’s Great Lakes!
Just how serious is our water shortage? Our wells are being drained dry right under our nose; and we sit complacent, docile, vulnerable—how exceptional!!
After you watch the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx65EeLk4Ro, think of these questions:
1. Why are we allowing corporations to take water from America’s Great Lakes and ship it to China in huge bladders?
2. How come the Bush family bought 100,000 acres of land in Paraguay, where the world’s largest aquifer is?
3. Why did T. Bone Pickens, the billionaire oil magnet, buy the largest aquifer in the U. S.?
4. Is water becoming more valuable than oil? If so, what does that portend for the masses?
5. Which chemicals are being put in our water sources? Why? And, which chemicals are put in the plastic water bottles that are made in China?
6. Why is our water being privatized and sold back to us at some $4 per gallon?
If the content of the video mentioned above is true, our water sources are being severely compromised. The main reason for that is because of our largest deficit: Leadership. Former U. S. Comptroller, David Walker says, “Our largest national deficit is a leadership deficit.” With few exceptions, our national leaders are dysfunctional, and with impunity. And there’s no structure in place to hold them accountable. It is estimated that within 20 years, only the wealthy will have access to water. What about the rest of us? And should we remain silent?
What are your thoughts?

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3 Responses

  • Thomas Whalen says:

    I have three thoughts regarding the video.

    Desalinization technology is being used in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to bring potable water to their populations. Investment in this technology would solve this problem that California, Nevada, and Oregon are presently facing.

    Governor Ventura points to MNCs as the cause of the water problems in the Southwest as he races around in his Dodge Challenger. I think climate change is a more likely cause. MNCs have not changed the weather patterns. Yet it is a changed weather pattern that has shifted the jet stream north in the west and south in the east. If the governor was being honest rather than a scare-monger, he would have examined the level of the Great Lakes. I think he would find that they have not changed significantly throughout recorded history, which leads to my third point.

    Finally, there is still the same amount of water on earth as there was a million years ago. The water cycle has not changed. Water evaporates, forms clouds, falls as precipitation, and flows to the sea. The big change is where it falls. Of course this returns us to point two.

    Regarding your commentary David:

    David Walker made that speech in March 2007. I think we have seen a shift in our national leadership in the ensuing seven years, Nevertheless, his comments are instructive. He cited four deficits: the Federal Budget deficit, the savings deficit, the trade deficit, and the leadership deficit. The federal budget is starting to shrink after the mismanagement of the Bush II Administration. The saving deficit has been corrected by Americans response to the 2007-2009 economic crisis. In fact, the increased savings rate is one of the factors that have slowed the economic recovery. Our balance of payments has been running a deficit since 1974. A lot of this imbalance is based on our hegemonic position as the world’s leading economy. People around the world see the US dollar as a safe haven and hoard dollars. Several countries including Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe use the dollar as a primary currency. The most important deficit is the leadership deficit. Presently Mr. Obama has been trying to lead from a centrist political position. (For those who question this statement consider that Mr. Obama is more conservative than Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford in nearly every area except social policy.) Congressional leadership, specifically House leadership, has played an obstructionist role since 2010. I would suggest that the GOP needs to cast off its Tea Party anchor and share in steering the ship of state.

    • Tom,
      Thanks much for your enlightening comments. Your first point is very encouraging in that it offers a solution to the water issue; I believe Stanford University too, has been looking at desalinization technology. I think the states that are affected should collaborate and resolve it, especially with all the IT gadgets being created in California, gadgets that can be applied to test/solve more of our issues. Your point two is related to another theory about corporations changing weather patterns. I have difficulty believing that. If so, are they seeding clouds? Here again, I feel that a team of scientists should represent different countries, meet, discuss, and test some of these theories. It could be an exciting endeavor. From your third point, I wonder if the Governor “is crying wolf.” I do however, wonder about fracking, or what it does to local communities’ water tables.

      When it comes to our national leadership, for some reason I become triggered. When I hear politicians talk, my brain shuts off; it hard to listen to them because it comes out as prattle–there are exceptions, of course. I think you are on the mark regarding the Tea Party: GOP needs to lose it. What’s the fear about? I would love to see us as a nation resolve the leadership deficit.
      Thanks, Tom,

      • Thomas Whalen says:

        David, your point about fracking is a good one. 60 Minutes had a piece a couple of months ago regarding fracking in northwestern Pennsylvania. One lady allowed fracking on her land and a few weeks later she could light her water on fire. The gas company’s CEO said it wasn’t anything to worry about and that “accidents happen.” I think this kind of corporate irresponsibility and poor government oversight is the kind of stuff we need to be concerned about.
        I tried to find the program on the 60 Minutes website, but it has been taken down. Hmmmm…… But here is another story from CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/digging-into-the-practice-of-fracking/

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