This Is the Problem, take seven billion

Here’s an article that sums up the problem pretty well: rich Californians are angry at new water restrictions being imposed because of the severe drought, because those who pay more should get more water—as if it isn’t a finite resource on which all life on earth depends.

“I think we’re being overly penalized, and we’re certainly being overly scrutinized by the world,” said Gay Butler, an interior designer out for a trail ride on her show horse, Bear. She said her water bill averages about $800 a month.

“It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,” Butler said. “What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?”

This attitude is appalling to me, but I also recognize that it’s how Americans are (rightly) viewed by the rest of the world, as we—along with the rest of the industrialized global North—lecture about the need for renewal and reduction while continuing to consume a vastly disproportionate amount of the world’s finite resources—and continuing to pollute the remainder. What, are we supposed to just have dirt around our houses?

Meanwhile, there’s talk of reversing Austin’s ban on plastic bags, even though it initially appears to be working. (According to the linked article: Two years after the city of Austin banned single-use plastic bags, a new report estimates Austinites have used nearly 200 million fewer plastic bags annually — a 75 percent reduction.) What, are we supposed to just reuse bags when we go shopping?


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