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Drought-Stricken California Has One Year Left of Water, NASA Scientist Warns
In an LA Times editorial published last week, Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, warned that California has about one year of water left. "Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing," said Famiglietti. "We're not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we're losing the creek too."
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The problem started even before the current mega-drought. "NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century," said Famiglietti. The NASA scientist says, first we need to have immediate mandatory water rationing statewide. Second, we need to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, which establishes "groundwater sustainability agencies," but isn't doing it quickly enough. Third, "the state needs a task force of thought leaders that starts, right now, brainstorming to lay the groundwork for long-term water management strategies." Lastly, "the public must take ownership" of this crisis.
The op-ed naturally garnered a lot of attention and state agencies have started to respond. On Tuesday, the State Water Board tightened its watering restrictions, "telling urban agencies to limit the number of days residents can water their yards," said the LA Times. That kind of restriction is a mere drop in the bucket (pun intended), but the state agencies did warn they would impose tougher restrictions in the coming months if local agencies did not "ramp up conservation efforts," reports the LA Times.
California may finally get the leadership it needs on water conservation from Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, who are expected to unveil a $1-billion relief plan today, according to the LA Times. Gov. Brown, along with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), will introduce emergency drought legislation, Gov. Brown's office told the LA Times.
Ed Schultz hosted Rep. John Garamendi, Paul Douglas, Peter Gleick and Scott Paul on The Ed Show last night to discuss the gravity of the crisis and how Republicans' denial of climate change could have irreversible effects.
"Record after record continues to be broken in this environment," says Schultz. "Severe temperature, severe storms, the snow numbers—unbelievable—droughts, fires, water prices are responding—you name it, it's happening." Meanwhile, the Republicans are staying the course with their climate denial, says Schultz.
Schultz highlights all of the major recent environmental news, including how California is responding to the extreme drought and how water prices have reached a record high in the state. He also talks about scientists' discovery of warm water troughs under the Antarctic ice sheet which are accelerating warming and China's plans to rapidly expand its solar projects in 2015.
Watch the clip below to see what Schultz thinks of the Republicans in Congress who still deny climate science:
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In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
- Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change ›
- How working less could solve all our problems. Really. | ›
- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›