Good Grief, You Call That NEWS?


Here's what I found in the British press today: articles on the fact that water is our most precious commodity, and there are likely to be wars over it, especially as the world starts dealing with climate change.

What, have these dudes never read Mark Twain, who pointed out that in the American west, "Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over"?


When I was in the Missionary Training Center, that bastion of moral and intellectual vapidness forsaken by god but not his minions, someone said to me, one night as all the sister missionaries prepared for bed, "I can tell you're from Arizona, because you turn the water off while you brush your teeth."

As the daughter of a Mormon Arizona lawyer who made his living representing clients like irrigation districts against legal opponents like any and all environmental groups, I've always known that A) water was incredible precious and scarce and B) people would fight over it like nobody's business--or rather, like big business. Because water isn't really nobody's business: it's something that can be commidified by those in power and sold, even down the who owns the right to take water out of a particular river on a particular day.

I guess I'm just glad that the rest of the world is waking up to something I've known my whole life. If there is ANYTHING in the world that causes me despair, it's the way the average person wastes water. I think everyone in the world should be required to read Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner, about the utter unsustainability of both agriculture and population in the entire Western half of the US.

And, for good measure, while you're surveying the news, check out this brief piece about rape victims in Lybia who are detained in protective homes for women and girls "vulnerable to engaging in moral misconduct," because God knows being raped is more of a crime than committing one.


Vandana Shiva has written a lot about the struggles over access to water in India. There is an interesting article at

India is geographically and hydrologically diverse so we can't just generalize about access to water. But that's kind of her point: imposing markets for water is a kind of one-size-fits-all solution. There is some fairly compelling evidence that traditional forms of managing water resources worked fairly well for a very long time. There have been terrible droughts in India, but Mike Davis argued pretty convincingly in Late Victorian Holocausts that it was not until the Raj that the droughts became famines.

Holly: I found you through Twisty. Will you marry me?
I am already married to a man, but does that have to make a difference? I'm kinda old, but should that be a hindrance to real love?
Oh, and as to water, I'm from California, so I know all about water and the west. Joan Didion's great on the subject.
I now live in Hilo, Hawaii, where we get 130 inches a year of rain. Funny how this makes me feel so secure.
Anyway, the Mormons came up with a good person in you, so there is always hope.

You seem like the kind of person I actually could marry, Hattie. I'm glad you've found me and hope you'll stop by again.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on February 28, 2006 4:07 AM.

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