The drought in California increasingly appears to be an introduction to a new way of life. Personally, I’ve shifted from hope and trust for lots of rain this winter (with rumors of El Niño on its way), to the numbing realization that this is likely to be the foretaste of much worse to come. While I’ve always loved the beauty of southwestern desert landscapes with their red and brown hues and the exquisite character of the plants that thrive in such climates, I’ve also felt the barrenness of it. Many who study climate and water are warning us that this is likely the future of our area, and most of central and southern California. Such a contrast to the abundance that we have enjoyed in San Luis Obispo County and the central coast with year-round growing seasons, seasonally green hills, and a climate that will grow just about anything. It is sad to think that it might be going away. For some, it’s a tragedy.
It’s easy for us to place blame, take sides, and go to battle over decreasing water resources, but that would only make matters worse. Economic interests are at stake here, of course, from a home owner whose well runs dry to huge industries, especially in farming and wine. We need to seize the opportunity to remember that adversity can be the cause of division and conflict, or the impetus for a stronger community spirit of creativity, sacrifice, cooperation, and kindness that leads to fairness among competing interests and appropriate access for all to increasingly limited resources. Indeed, we are in this together, and it appears that Mother Nature is inviting us to learn how to be a stronger and healthier community if we work together. This line of thinking is a core value of the Food Bank Coalition. You will see how the drought is affecting our services to the community in our edition of the newsletter sent today.