The Water Situation In California

Almond blossom tree

The water situation in California will be difficult to solve. There are a lot of things to take into account. The Golden State is in a severe drought and many say the current proposals to solve the problem are insufficient and don’t attempt to solve the root problems.

You can’t look in the national news without seeing a depressing photo of a lake, river or reservoir with a side by side photo from five years ago. So who or what is the culprit? There is plenty of blame to go around but it’s important to see through the bickering.

Some news outlets looking at the drought have looked to bottled water as the reason for water loss. Bottled water is not as heavily regulated as tap water, it’s expensive and poses a threat to the environment but its consumption is relatively low.

There has also been a lot of conversation around the agriculture in the state that is responsible for 80% of the states water use. The two conversations center on two popular California exports – beef and almonds. Almonds and other fruits and nuts are an important cash crop for the state. The common statistic you’ll hear when you discuss the drought in California is that it takes one gallon of water for one almond. This is, however, a little misleading because it takes into account the time for an almond tree to come to maturity. Beef, however, uses a lot of water per pound.

When Governor Jerry Brown asked people to voluntarily limit their water consumption there was a drop but another dry season meant that these restrictions would now be mandatory. This will help and is one area where changes can realistically be made with better technology and drought resistant plants. For farms increased efficiency will be vital to the long-term water situation.




A Very Brief Intro To Civil Society

Megaphone Graffiti

In the world today the most prominent agencies of society are government and business. These public and private organizaions are vital to a democratic society. But there is a third sector of a democratic society and this is known as civil society. The study of civil society is of increasing importance in our globalized world. The civil society is made up of NGOs and other institutions that attempt to carry out the collective will of the people. The elements that make up a civil society are the freedom of speech and an independent justice system.

Civil Society is not limited to NGO’s. Volunteerism is an integral part of a civil society, and any organization that attempts to influence the law and society through volunteerism is partaking in a civil society. Civil society organizations engage in all levels of the political sphere with a wide variety of approaches to influencing change but generally across three objectives:

  • Conformist
  • Reformist
  • Transformist

In recent years there has been an expansion of civil society organizations, this goes alongside the increase of globalization as many governmental and private organizations are unable to help without bias. Civil society organizations also have the advantage of not being governed by party politics. Globalization has brought with it the visibility of our differences, but civil society organizations attempt to further social cohesion.

The public remains largely unaware of the civil society organizations. This is due in large part due to the difficulty of gathering empirical evidence of their influence in governing but they have a lot of it. Civil society groups can make politics more workable for example, but even that can be contested. Another problem is that some civil society organizations are incompetent, impeding those that are trying to make a measurable difference.

This is but a mere introduction to the importance of the academic study of civil society. Thank You.