In Which I reply back to @almonds or #NoMoreAlmondsCA or #AlmondsYouCanStillBePartOfTheSolutionIfYouTry
So this happened yesterday while I was at a concert with A Tribe Called Red. They are an awesome group and if you don't know them you should KNOW THEM. I danced like a mad woman. In the meantime, @almonds tweeted me. I was a bit shocked. First, California Almonds is THE @almonds on Twitter. Second, they found the time to tweet me and third wow something I said merited their response. I suppose we could take it a few ways. We could think "wow, they really do care about talking to the every day person. Look at how Twitter breaks down barriers." Or we could say "Man, they must really care what people are saying about them." Or even "Wow, they must know that the grumbles of WTH almonds might actually have something to them. Time to get mobilized!" Social media... I love it. So I decided to write them back.
In Which I reply back to @almonds or #NoMoreAlmondsCA or #AlmondsYouCanStillBePartOfTheSolutionIfYouTry
I really do appreciate the time you took to write me back on Twitter and send me Almonds and Water: By The Numbers. This may be surprising, but Twitter is still "new and interesting" to me (I was never a regular Tweeter until I was) and when THE @almonds account tweeted little old me I felt like this Twitter thing could really catch on. Because yes, we SHOULD be talking to each other. If @almonds wants to join the conversation, and really talk about these issues of agricultural use and the actual sustainability of agriculture big business in California... well good. It's hard to do in 140 characters. But I'm game. Also, I'm a cheater and plan to just tweet you this blog entry.
It is entirely impossible for me to Tweet a response to you that will in will address any meaningful issues I may have with the continued abuse of our water in California. This is mostly because I am a wordy person and also because I can't see myself writing things like Almonds use 2 much water 4 the State in this drought YFM?* I find myself squirming around uncomfortably when I have to do that. And I think my facts should be easily available for access and use as well, like yours, if we're gonna talk about *Facts.*
@almonds says (and @cutchabaldy responds)
@ almonds says: Over the past two decades, almond growers have reduced the amount of water they use per pound of almonds by 33%. Key strategies, for example, have included the wide adaptation of micro-drip irrigation instead of traditional sprinklers, soil maps, and soil monitoring systems that allow for demand-based irrigation instead of scheduled irrigation.
Good job @almonds. But that doesn't mean growing almonds in a state that is constantly plagued by water use issues is smart for our state's environment or our state's water supply. Consider this: it takes 1 gallon of water to grow one single almond. They say it takes more water to grow one walnut (4. 9 gallons) or one head of broccoli (5.4 gallons) but those crops are not currently one of the fastest growing crops in California. From this article:
...growing almonds in an arid climate requires lots of water. In fact, Westlands' almond orchards suck up nearly 100 billion gallons of water a year. Cotton, by contrast, needs 40 percent less water per acre, and tomatoes require about half as much water as almonds.
You may be doing better on water conservation than you were before but it's not enough. Look at where we are at now. It's not enough. Do better. You decided to grow a bunch of water intensive crops in an area that does not get a lot of natural water. It's not sustainable in a state that also has a growing population and a commitment to the environment and environmental diversity. Also, just because you planted it here doesn't mean it was a good idea. Maybe, instead of trying to dominate and corner the market of almonds worldwide, go to those places and help them to grow a sustainable number of almonds for their county/state/region. Show us that your bottom line isn't "as much money at the expense of everybody and everything around us until we are forced to find another plan because we have drained the water sources dry."
@almonds says: While it’s true that more acres of California farmland are being used to grow almonds, that doesn’t tell the full story. That shift toward almonds – and other perennial crops like other nuts and olives – has not led to an increase in water used for farming overall in the state. In fact, from 2000 to 2010, the state’s agricultural water use held steady. By the way, so did urban and environmental use.
And that's part of the problem, because we should have been increasing "environmental" use of our water during that period of time. That's what gets left out of this conversation. In fact, most of the policies passed by the state of California supported increase in water use for environmental protection of species and habitats. And you know why? Because we (as in the grand we, not the "we" as in me and other tribal peoples who had been TRYING to tell you this was a big issue for quite a few years before that) were finally seeing the lasting results of water policy that valued big business over environmental use. In 2002, we (as in all of us) experienced a mass fish kill of approx. 68-70,000 salmon in the Klamath River. What does a fish kill look like? It looks like thousands upon thousands of dead, rotting, Salmon lining the side of the river. It looks like elders standing on the river bank crying. It looks like the end of the world.
But that's so dramatic? What does the end of the world look like to you then? Cause to me, it looks like dry rivers, dead fish, toxic water and big business controlled green fields kept green at the expense of communities who have no access to water.
Knowing all that, Agricultural water use held steady. Why? California said that it needed to send more water to protect the very place we live and agricultural businesses threw fits, filed retraining orders, and demanded that their needs be met. Even if it's not sustainable. Even if reports showed that it was actually more economically beneficial to take care of the rivers and natural environment. Even if we were protecting endangered species (and not an over abundance of non-Native crops for shipping overseas) -- agriculture demanded the same use of water and maintained the same use of water from 2000-2010.
This is not a statistic I would brag about.
@almonds says: Some reports have overstated agriculture’s share of water use in California. Agriculture accounts for about 40 percent of the state’s developed water usage in an average year. Fifty percent is comprised by environmental water use, including water in rivers, streams, wetlands and water needed to maintain water quality for agricultural and urban use, and 10 percent is used in urban areas.6 All these types of usage are important for California.
A lot of people have asked me about this statistic. Is it true? What we hear in the news is that 80% of California's water goes to agriculture. This is a staggering amount. Agriculture accounts for 43% of the land use in California but uses 80% of the water? Except @almonds says it only uses 40% of the water. That's better, right? It's just that the fact was wrong the first time. And this is the funny thing about "facts." Because all are true... *Mind Blown* It just depends on the measurement you are using. But the simple response -- it's 80%. According to the California Department of Water Resources:
In average year California agriculture irrigates 9.6 million acres using roughly 34 million acre-feet of water of the 43 million acre-feet diverted from surface waters or pumped from groundwater.
Or 80%. I will now spend a significant amount of time trying to explain what I have learned about this very statistic as a result of my research. Because when it comes to statistics and "facts" it always comes down to the measurement you use. This presentation from Blaine Hanson (Department of Air, Land and Water Resources) at UC Davis says depending on those measurements you will find that agriculture uses:
80 %: based on the developed water supply
But what does that mean? First we have to start off with how California talks about water so we can understand the difference between "Gross water use" and "Net water use." (You should be able to click on the image to make it bigger. The green outlined boxes are my comments.)
Some of the problem is in how people understand what "excess" and "lost" water means. Some people (like me) would say that "excess" water which is used for the river is not that, it's not in excess of, nor is it simply return flow (meaning it returns for gross water usage). It essentially quantifies and qualifies water for how it can be used, instead of understanding how we should be responsible for ensuring a "sustainable flow" or a "healthy living flow" and not be concerned with a bottom line of how "Gross water use" affects "Net Water Use." But the other part of the problem is that the reduction of gross water use does not make that much of a difference. (Even though it seems to be the measurement that @almonds wants to use to figure out water usage in California). The significant difference comes from a CHANGE IN AGRICULTURE.
Oh, speaking of which @almonds, I got this info from the exact same place that you cite for your facts. Although instead of using their "just the facts" page I looked through the full report.
AND, the "Just the Facts" page you refer us to also answers part of this question as well. How much water does agriculture use? It depends, not just by what you measure BUT by what region.
Statewide, average water use is roughly 50% environmental, 40% agricultural, and 10% urban. However, the percentage of water use by sector varies dramatically across regions and between wet and dry years.
The part of the state that you live in, @almonds, is one of the parts where environmental use is not dominant. Which means that at minimum, the agricultural use in your area amounts to at least 53% (not the 40% you want us to believe) of the total use of water. That is over half. State average considers areas like the Northcoast, which primarily uses their water for the environment. Now, to settle the "is it 80% of 40% that agriculture uses in California" question. I got this from californiawaterblog.com:
The roots of confusion lie with the change in how the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) reports water use. Historically, DWR only counted water that was applied for economic uses. Under this scheme roughly 80 percent of water went to agriculture with the remaining 20 percent going to urban uses.
Now when you look at the "total water supply" (and thank goodness somebody already did this work for me over at californiawaterblog.com) which includes water that is set aside for flow requirements to protect species and habitat (and our rivers) (which by the way agriculture couldn't use ANYWAY) and it also includes water that we have to use to keep our water safe for drinking (also water that agriculture COULDN'T USE or otherwise we might not have water to drink) you still get:
this translates to 62 percent agricultural, 16 percent urban and 22 percent environmental.
Think of it this way -- after your Mom gets done baking cookies she sets aside one for your Dad and two for your Grandparents and then she says to all you kids, "divide up the other cookies equally", agriculture decides that they get 80% of the cookies on the baking sheet and then tells their little siblings "don't feel bad, I'm actually only taking 50% of the total cookies available even though those other cookies are for other people. You are still getting 50% of all the cookies that were made (even though neither one of us could, should or do have access to the cookie set-asides)." STATISTICS.
And consider this. Even though agriculture accounts for anywhere between 50-80% use of water in the state, it ONLY accounts for 2% of the total Gross State Product which means it is not the most significant contributor to our state economy.
In fact, (if what you are concerned with is the bottom line and your bottom line is $$ whereas my bottom line is something like "health of our living environment which includes people, water, plants, animals") our economy relies a lot on Education, Health and "Other" services and Real Estate.
But we aren't talking about GSP and who makes us the most money (although sometimes it feel like we are), we are talking about water usage. So let's say it again: depending on the measurement you use, agriculture still uses a significant amount (from 50%-80%) and is in a category all it's own for water use. Because it makes sense to invest the future of our state, peoples, environment and wildlife in what amounts to 2% of our state's economy (it doesn't, I'm being glib).
@almonds says: It takes water to grow almonds. It also takes water to raise all other animal- and plant-based food, as well as to make your make your car, jeans and cell phone. Estimating exactly how much water any particular item takes to produce is extremely difficult, but for a broader perspective, you might be interested in a study conducted from 1996-2005 that estimates the global water footprint for a variety of products.
Many people don’t know that almond trees produce two crops with the water they use. One is almonds, and the other is their hulls, which are used for livestock feed. A useful by-product includes shells, which are used in co-generation of energy and as livestock bedding.
I did not know that. But @almonds this is where I got a little... what's the word... exasperated. First, you seem to be saying "other stuff uses a whole bunch of water so we can use a whole bunch of water too! Everything takes water!"
Here's the thing. You @almonds are representative of a bunch of big and small business and you also represent workers and families and people who rely on jobs having to do with almonds. You employ somebody to tweet me. That person has a job, to tweet me about how much you care about almonds and the CA drought.
I know that those things are important, because I know people who need jobs and livelihoods. And I also know that almonds are good for you and almonds make milk for people who can't drink dairy milk. I also know that meat, hay and other types of farming are an issue, they are. In California, a bunch of people invested in the idea that they could do what they wanted with the land cause it JUST belonged to Indians and they couldn't really USE it so they made us reliant on agriculture and who cares what that means for the rest of the state or population cause it makes so much $$Money$$. But, all that aside, somebody has to take a step forward to say "YES we have to do something and it STARTS WITH US." So instead of "yeah but cows use this much and alfalfa uses this much and your jeans use this much and we only use this much and so you should be mean to them" stand up and be part of the solution.
What I got from your facts primarily is that @almonds isn't going to change. @almonds wants us to just leave them alone to do what they want. @almonds doesn't want to address some critical concerns on their continued water use or the continued water use of agriculture in California. I don't know if you are exactly as concerned with our shared California drought because otherwise your almond facts page wouldn't have been "but the facts are wrong and everybody else is worse" and instead would have made some concrete plans for actually reducing the number of almond crops and/or supported the rights of the wildlife and tribes to water before agricultural and big business.
Do you have to be the #1 grower and exporter of Almonds in the world? If we are in a drought, and your water use is problematic do you, in the name of actually saving our State (instead of using it up until it falls apart), decide that you can only export a certain amount of almonds and that you need to reduce the crops that you are growing in California until such time as the state can handle an increase?
What can you actually do? I believe in you @almonds because that is the person I have always been. Go out there with your political influence and figure out what you can really do to protect our (shared) state.
Because I know what I can do. #NoMoreAlmondsCA
Okay @almonds I'm going to throw you a bone. What else should we be calling attention to? Besides AGRICULTURE in California... How else can we show California law makers and Westlands Water Districts that we are serious about the well-being of our shared lands and environment? How about #NoMoreAlfalfaCA But what did Alfalfa do? First, it is the crop in California with the absolute highest water use. If agriculture uses 80% of the water, than Alfalfa uses the most of that. And that's just to grow hay. And most of that hay gets shipped far, far away. Check out this from BBC News:
The southern Imperial Valley, which borders Mexico, draws its water from the Colorado river along the blue liquid lifeline of the All American Canal.
*Translation for my Mom: "Almonds use too much water for the state in this drought ya feel me?"
**Facts are funny things, @almonds. See I'm a teacher. I teach by nature. I like to help student to learn what "Facts" really means. And because I am a humanities teacher it eventually gets to the "Fact" that most "Facts" are just "How I want to See Things" statistics and "a result of a very small sample size" or "not infallible but instead require critical response and question."
In Which I Attempt to Prepare Myself For Singing For The Water or On Water, Agriculture, Almonds and the #ALSIceBucketChallenge Or Water, Water, Water, WATER
Tomorrow I will be headed out on a road trip with my Auntie and my Baby Girl so that we can go sing at the Lewiston Dam in Shasta County for the water. Why? Why not? Why don’t we sing to water every day? I’ve been told (by some pretty reliable sources) that Hupa people are the “singiest, danciest people” you’re ever going to meet. We sing for everything. It wasn’t just ceremony and sacred calls to our K’ixinay to help us out… it was in thanks, in gratitude, in happiness, in sadness, to distress, to communicate, to love… to laugh. We’ve been inappropriate (in a hilarious funny exaggerated way) through song since Year 1.
I have been doing a lot of research on singing for my dissertation (which is why I haven’t been blogging all that much) and have found a couple of pretty cool things. According to Time Magazine – Singing Changes Your Brain. And one study from Australia found that:
…on average, choral singers rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public -- even when the actual problems faced by those singers were more substantial than those faced by the general public
Also this one scientist found that water… yep H20 molecules, can be changed by prayer, song, and kind (or negative words): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1-0ulKgmio
The point is it's worth it. Especially now, as we fight for our water... but not just our water, ourselves, our communities, our lives. Yes it sounds a bit dramatic, but guess what -- Water is life. This is a saying that many of us Indigenous folks use as we talk about the importance of water to our communities. It’s powerful because it’s true. The human body is made of 60% water. If you don’t have water, you will die. Water is how we feed, nourish and regulate our bodies. Water is essential to our planet and our ecosystem and all of the living things in our world. It represents “life” as we explore other planets. Consider this:
..every organism we know of needs water to survive. In fact, without water, life on Earth would have never begun. Acting as a medium in which organic compounds could mix with one another, water facilitated the formation of the planet's first life forms, possibly even protecting them from the sun's radiation.
Water is life. There’s a reason that Indigenous peoples throughout the world (Hupa included) prayed to, cared for and respected their water. We were in it for the long haul. We’d been here since the beginning of time and our water was clear, healthy, and full of life. We planned for it to be that way until the end of time. Even though we are up against states and corporations and governments and individuals who want to believe that water is about economy and gross national product, we will continue to fight for the water. It has been this way until the beginning of time... and so it will be.
In Which I Attempt to Prepare Myself For Singing For The Water or On Water, Droughts, Senior Water Rights and the #ALSIceBucketChallenge Or Water, Water, Water, WATER
People in California should be mad. They should be marching to the State Capitol and sitting on top of each and every dam wondering why we can spend money on commercials that tell average citizens “we are in a drought so we will fine you if you use water” but there are no commercials that explain some fundamental facts about WHO uses the most water in our state. (*Spoiler Alert* it’s agriculture)
We are in a drought. The state of California is covered in red (which is bad, red is always bad) and our once green paradise of lusciousness is now a wanton desert. Help us, everyday citizen, to protect our state from sudden doom. Our “lack” of water is more than concerning, it is worth public shaming of individuals who water their lawns or have water based birthday parties or those who participate in #IceBucketChallenges (more on that later). You, good citizen, can do what needs to be done to help our state, but turning off your faucets, and taking shorter showers, and not watering your lawns. WE ALL must conserve. That’s what the rhetoric says.
ALL OF US must do what we can to conserve water.
Except – big business-- big, agricultural, business.
In California, big business agriculture is often given first dibs to water. For instance according to this article from Slate, (and keep in mind, we are IN A DROUGHT) in our current situation:
California as a whole diverts or pumps 43 million acre-feet of water each year to supplement its meager rainfall. In total, agriculture consumes 34 million acre-feet of that. (An acre-foot is just what it sounds like: the amount of water needed to cover an acre of flat ground up to a foot, or about 325,000 gallons of water.) ...In the middle of a drought, farmers are shipping fresh hay across the Pacific Ocean. The water that’s locked up in exported hay amounts to about 100 billion gallons per year—enough to supply 1 million families with drinking water for a year.
What this means is that our water usage is skewed, skewed toward agricultural business in the central valley. Skewed for a number of reasons but SKEWED none the less.
You can quickly become very unpopular in California when you start to question the ethics and necessity of the agricultural business model we have (seemingly) built our California economy on. Why agriculture? Why in the central valley where it takes so much energy and water to grow? What does it mean about our "long term planning" or our "sustainable future?" It doesn't bode well.
But don't tell farmers that. Don't suggest that maybe they should find a different place to grow. Don't tell them that diverting rivers using dams and other mechanisms is dangerous, not just for other people (who have to contend diseased rivers and streams) but for other living beings (like fish and animals and domesticated pets). Don't tell them that we can no longer practice agriculture in a vacuum, like the diversion of one river doesn't some how affect every single other river we know, that our system of water can be forced into submission, that we are in control of it, and not that we rely on it and should be respectful of it. We are agriculture. It means jobs and economy and money. That's what the rhetoric says. We are agriculture. But why? Why agriculture?
The thing about agriculture is that at some point it got elevated to and associated with "civilization," and "modernity." According to "science" as societies "progressed" they moved through the following stages:
This is logical (so they said); this is the way that all societies move (so they wrote); this is how you show that you have "progressed" to civilization. Agriculture was a sign of a great society because... wait for it... it was something that western society was doing.
In Red Earth, White Lies, Vine Deloria wrote that the entrenched belief that “all peoples began as primitives and inevitably moved toward Western forms of organization, which in turn were guaranteed by Western religion and philosophy” successfully created scholarship that was “laudatory of Western accomplishments” while “tribal peoples were given a marginal status as human beings” (65).
When settlers got to California they saw no "agriculture" (as they thought it would look) and so they said "look at this vast, empty wilderness that is just waiting for us to grow stuff on." This erased Native peoples from the landscape, and created a modern mythology that Native people were “hunter-gatherers." (We hunted, and gathered... along with MANY OTHER THINGS that people do in ALL SOCIETIES.) California Indians were also often referred to in newspapers during the nineteenth century by the derogatory term “diggers” and were seen as having only basic knowledge of how to survive. James Rawls writes that:
"There was a curious twist to the dispute in California, in that the European visitors argued that the superior natural environment of California had somehow created an inferior people. They argued that the abundance of wildlife and the temperate climate of the area had made life too easy for the California Indians." (Rawls, 32)
This is why California Indians stayed "primitive" and never became "agriculturalists" because... they didn't have to. California already had everything it needed for people to thrive. But it wasn't just about having everything you needed, it was about "civilization" and "civilization" was "agriculture" or the forced domestication of plants and convenience growing.
Now, this does not mean that Native people rejected and/or didn't understand agriculture. We had agriculture. It just didn't look like what we think of now. We grew tobacco (as it was an important plant to our religious lives and culture), we sometimes grew plants that we needed for medicine. We helped to prune, care for, and make plants healthier. We cut trees and we made use of plants for all the things people use plants for today - food, decoration, to make things smell better, as cures for ailments... seasoning. But... there were many other considerations that Native people made when designing how they lived WITH their world. Considerations that they had formed for (bare minimum) thousands upon thousands of years of knowing their space (since the beginning of time).
For instance, there is an old story about how the Missionaries came to Southern California, looked around and said "Hey Indians, you are so primitive, we must teach you to grow corn like the other Indians who taught us to grow corn. We will conveniently forget to mention that they were the ones who taught us, because actually many of us starved and didn't know how to raise simple crops and things in this country until Indians taught us how, and instead we will try and make you grow corn like we do. Also you should be raising pigs around you, even though pigs often carry sickness. Geez Indians, don't you know anything?"
And the Indians went "Actually, corn doesn't really grow well here in California and we like acorns and acorns are pretty plentiful and you can try to grow corn if you want to but you will be disappointed."
I may be paraphrasing a bit...
In the end they made the Indians grow the corn and there wasn't enough food because it didn't grow well and the Indians were like "we could walk outside and get you some acorns so you don't starve" but the Padres said that was "food for pigs."
Starvation in the name of agriculture and civilization!
What's the point? The point is that they built this city (this state) on agriculture. This was after they tried to build it on enslavement of Indians in missions (and agriculture) and genocide of Indians and gold (and agriculture) and taking of Indian land (for agriculture) and removal of Indians from their land (in the hopes of using it for natural resources and probably... agriculture) and then trying to force Indians to use their land for...you guessed it... agriculture.
Ideas about the promise of agriculture run deep in western culture because it defines who they are as a civilization. Food is important to any group of people - we must eat to live. And yet western settlers were suddenly (in many different times and in many different ways) thrown into a strange territory by which they had heard many rumors and stories and mythologies but that they could not really fathom. They were afraid of starving. Going out into this scary world to find food and other sources of nutrients is SCARY.... making it grow right next to your house is... agriculture.
In seeing California people saw a land of "prosperity" and "promise." And for a long time (and still today) agriculture was prosperity--- and promise.
And conceiving of agriculture in any different way, having conversations about how to build a system that works with the ecosystem, considering sustainability and responsibility was "primitive."
So what does this mean?
Well, right now it means that we are in a drought and looking around trying to figure out how we can address this problem. There is a lot of talk about lawsuits and restraining orders. And there is just a murmuring that perhaps -- it will mean we finally have to reconstitute and reconsider how California is organized. In fact, according to some articles, it may mean for the rest of the country that everyone has to start reconsidering how we eat or where we get our food from. It also means that Native people have to stand up and be heard, constantly, to remind people of some well known facts like...
Water is life. And we are all in this together.
Right now as we struggle to keep our rivers healthy (while water is being held... for other uses) we are faced with the fact that our water, the very vein that runs through our valley and protects all sorts of life (human, environment, plants etc.) may be toxic. Blue Green algae has been found in our rivers. And the advice we have been given includes: Keep children and pets away from the water; do not drink, cook or wash dishes with the water, and to get medical attention immediately if we feel we have been exposed.
This is not a third world country we are talking about. Yes, people in the past have compared Native reservations to "third world countries" but our home... has been "Our Home Forever." There are many socio-economic issues that we face every day, head on. These water issues no longer belong to some "far off land" where YES there are serious issues with access to water and water sanitation. No one wants to diminish the importance of one water crisis for another. But here, in California (which has the highest GDP in the United States at 1.9 trillion dollars) we have communities with no water. Their water is being bussed in to them and they are being told that this is only for a few weeks and after that they should ask for donations or something.
And up here in Nor Cal we contend with possibly toxic water, to fish, to animals, to people, to our ecosystem.
We need to hold all of our "citizens" (corporations included, because the Supreme Court says they are people now...) to standards that support the life of our ecosystem, lands, living beings, and peoples. We cannot depend on our individual good intentions as citizens who "conserve" to somehow out weigh and make up for the use of water to support industry. We have to demand ethics and responsibility of our industries. We have to stand up and be heard. Which is why...
Na:ke:ah-te (I am going to sing)
So tomorrow there's going to be a bunch of Native people gathering at the Lewiston Dam in Northern California to rally for the water. Just last week we rallied to ask the Bureau of Reclamation to #ReleaseTheDamWater and prevent a fish kill. At the time current conditions in our river were worse than they had ever been. In 2002 we experienced a massive fish kill of thousands upon thousands of salmon. We didn't want to see it happen again. After a lot of negotiation and letters, phone calls and tweets the BOR agreed to #ReleaseTheDamWater. And they did. It was immediately after that though that water districts filed a restraining order against the BOR. (Even though the water was already released... it's mostly to prove their point which is something like "that's not fair! We want water for our industries!") So tomorrow we rally. I will be singing with a group of powerful, strong women who will stand with me to be heard. We will encourage people to sing with us. You can sing to if you like... wherever you are.
And tweet. I'll be using the hashtag #ForTheWater Tell everyone what you are doing #ForTheWater Tell big business what they should do #ForTheWater
Also, we should all no longer buy almonds...
I'm sorry. I know the almond industry is booming. Just a few months ago I wrote about how "in" to almonds I was. They had gotten me. I didn't put all of it together until I did... This article points out that:
California almonds use a stunning 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year, or enough for you to take a 10-minute shower each day for 86 million years (using a low-flow showerhead, of course). ... In 2013, there were 940,000 acres of almonds in California, according to the USDA (PDF). Each acre of almonds uses three to four acre-feet of water each year, most of which are delivered via river diversions or groundwater.
You know what's better for California than the almond industry? Undaming the Klamath river and supporting the revitalization of the Klamath River basin. Case in point:
A controversial U.S. Geological Survey Report was leaked to the press concluding that far more economic benefits were to be had in the Basin by restoring water for fish habitats and recreation than diverting water to agriculture. This report claimed that the $5 billion dollars in restoration necessary would be easily offset by $36 billion in benefits from recreational activities compared to $239 million at most in total agricultural production in the basin.
Tell everyone you know that you are no longer supporting the almond industry until they actively participate in securing our water for the future. This may mean losing an almond crop, or two, or relocating, or changing their water use but they have to do something. #NoMoreAlmondsCA
I"m not doing the #ALSIceBucketChallenge and to be quite honest I haven't even watched one. I see them on my Facebook feed and various reports of famous people here and there, but I have had no desire to click play. It is partly because as I was standing on the edge of a shrinking, sick Trinity River in the Hoopa Valley praying for water... I started to think that feeling a cold splash of ice water on my head would only remind me of how warm the river was. Second, many Native people I know already did the #IndigenousWaterRightsChallenge where some of them actually jumped in to freezing ice water and others into freezing creeks. It was winter. I jumped into a river. Yes, throwing ice water on your head is "challenging" but I felt a little been there, done that. Something to think about...
This whole phenomenon, however, has made me wish I had challenged a lot more famous people to go jump in a lake. Because I guess... when famous people do it... e'erbody gonna write about it on news sites.
Now to tweet famous people #NoMoreAlmondsCA. We'll see how that goes...
Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at San Diego State University. She received her PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She is also a writer, mother, fan of "The Good Wife" and "The Walking Dead", who likes to go for long walks on long piers...
(5) Top Posts
On telling Native people to just "get over it" or why I teach about the Walking Dead in my Native Studies classes... *Spoiler Alert!*
Hokay -- In which I lead a presentation on what happens when you Google "Native American Women" and critically analyze the images or "Hupas be like dang where'd you get that dentalium cape girl? Showing off all your money! PS: Suck it Victorias Secret"
In which we establish that there was a genocide against Native Americans, yes there was, it was genocide, yes or this is why I teach Native Studies part 3 million
5 Reasons I Wear "Indian" Jewelry or Hupas...we been bling-blingin' since Year 1
Pope Francis decides to make Father Junipero Serra a saint or In Which I Tell Pope Francis he needs to take a Native Studies class like stat
I need to read more Native blogs!
A few that I read...