Friday, March 20, 2009

There's gold in them thar hills.

Geotripper already beat me to the punch, but I've been thinking about posting this picture since returning from his southern Mother Lode trip. For some reason Garry always lets me drive the vans, and in return I get a glimpse into his vast wealth of geologic/anthropological information of our surrounding area. Not a bad trade-off if I do say so. Here's a link to the complete daytrip if anyone is interested in seeing all the sights we took-in.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pink Friday -RIF

Today is Pink Frinday in California. Help show your support of public education by wearing pink today and voting for folks who value education. This year's budget mess has left many districts and universities no choice but to issue pink slip (Reduction in Force - RIF) notices to many highly qualified teachers, administrators and clerical staff. The opportunities taken away by such cuts ultimately affects the students and the future of California.
Above is my take onthis year's Pink Friday Logo - the old Turlock High Building which is now the district office.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Liquid Assets?

As I read this Op-Ed piece in the Modesto Bee on Monday, I got a bit frustrated. The editor clearly understood the plight of southern Central Valley farmers during the current & past droughts. But instead of asking for smarter crops or fallowing marginally productive lands, the paper was upset with lawmakers... and not for subsidizing bad farming techniques. The paper was dismayed that our lawmakers had not created new water storage systems over the past 30 years! Having extensively toured many of California's water projects (like the Delta-Mendota canal above), I am quite happy that there was no action during the past thirty years. The past projects have already done grave damage to the environment which is why I responded to the Op-Ed piece by writing a letter to the editor which follows below.

Perhaps a pertinent lesson in water resource management can be learned from the ongoing credit and mortgage meltdown.

During the recent central valley boom, the response to the population pressure was to build new “storage” for the valley residents in the form of sprawling, over-valued houses. Such houses were financed by short-sighted and unrealistic loans that would inevitably lead to the collapse of the local & national economies. The predictable aftermath of such unfeasible loans can be witnessed by the many dilapidated houses in neighborhoods and the unfortunate suffering of those who have lost their source of income.

Building new water storage facilities in response to increased demand is akin to taking a bad loan from the environment. Like so many mortgages, water diversions to saline-rich soils will never be repaid to the bank (ecosystem) from whence it came. The resultant collapse initiated by an overdrawn water loan will be devoid of any aesthetic, ecologic or financial wealth.

Unlike the mortgage tragedy, Californians have the power of prescience to prevent a looming environmental calamity. Residents of this great state should do their best to make their current water delivery & usage as smart, efficient and minimalistic as possible by choosing appropriate crops and auditing personal water consumption.