Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

EBMUD intiates water rationing

The news came down today that our municipal water agency, EBMUD, has initiated water rationing. At the same time, I see an article from a San Diego newsfeed that those officials aren't issuing any gray water system permits, in spite of a huge demand and tight water supplies there, too.

At our house, we just installed an outdoor sink. We'll use it for washing after working in the garden. The water and dirt drains in to a small wood chip field. There's really low possibility for spreading any contaminants because this isn't a bathroom sink. The water is going to soak in right at the roots of one of our raised beds, so we're getting two-for-one by recycling the water on site.

I was really distressed by the tone of the news from San Diego. City officials clearly have an agenda to centralize the resource. I suppose I have a fundamentally different view of what government is for. I want government that regulates infrastructure and preserves or encourages opportunities for growth and increased social equity. I do not want government that is in the role of delivering a product or commodity to me.

The primary learning that our civilization is faced with now is this: how much centralization/decentralization do we want? Centralization works really well for concentrating wealth and power into the hands of a very few. Guess what? Those very few are very much in power right now, and of course aren't at all interested in decentralization.

This issue is so poorly understood. Take for example, the "debate" about biofuels. The goal is to engage in relocalization and foster local economies, but instead the centralizing powers export biofuel production to the tropics where horrible choices get made: slashing old-growth rain forests, displacing women farmers, damming water sources for massive irrigation projects and so forth.

Try this as a guide, a measure, for discerning whether an idea is truly a solution, or if it adds to the coming woe: does it promote relocalization?

  • Hydrogen economy: Fail.
  • Biofuels: Perhaps.
  • NAFTA: Fail.
  • Global produce market: Fail.
  • Community gardens and agriculture: Pass.
  • Municipal toilet-to-tap water reclamation: Maybe.
  • Any form of protectionism: Fail.
  • Any form of open trade: Pass.
  • Permaculture: Pass! Great solution for promoting relocalization.

In less than a generation, our economies will be constrained to our respective bioregions, our watersheds. Clearly many of us will be making money selling ideas over whatever the internet evolves into, but many more will be making it or breaking it using whatever is available at hand. Get a jump on this. Earn and spend within your community. Demand fair prices for yourself, and for your neighbors. Don't let your dollars escape overseas, or even over the next ridge line.

Relocalization. It's here, it's the future, and it's how we can all keep feeding and sheltering ourselves as centralized control continues its collapse.

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