Besides the obvious signs of high temperatures and withering plants and yellowing grasses from parched summer heats in my north Texas town of Denton, there are other less conspicuous indicators of hot dry conditions that prove to be more costly. Today’s newspaper reported that water mains were busting at a higher than normal rate due to contracting soils that occur in such dry conditions. Brown-outs are more likely this year because of the heavy electrical use to keep homes and businesses cool.
A local here indicated recently that if there was reduced time in hell for time served that most Texans due to go there might escape those infernos, or at least be so conditioned as not to have it bother them much.
I usually set my thermostat between 74 and 79 during the summer but have had to give my A/C unit more of a breather by stretching those temperatures to 76 at night and 81 during the day. It can still be a 100 degrees here 3-4 hours after the sun sets.
In order to conserve water during the summer, I will water my lawn two, maybe three times a week. But with these excessive heats extracting moisture from the soils at a much quicker rate I am forced to water every other day. Not to keep my lawn plush and green but to keep root systems alive until the cooler, wetter seasons get here. As you can see in the picture below it’s not hard to assess where the sprinkler is placed when I do water.
Unlike most of Central and West Texas, North Central Texas has managed the escape the worst of the drought season here, until this summer. We now suffer the results of no significant rainfall this summer and record high temps that are set to beat the 1980 records of most consecutive days of 100 plus degree temperatures (42 days) by this time next Saturday. Our carefully coiffed governor asked for a day of prayer last April seeking God’s intervention to alleviate our serious water issues. If all prayers are indeed answered then a resounding “No!” came from the man upstairs.
It’s not clear if the Almighty is just pissed in general at Perry for constantly invoking him to rally political forces in his expected run for President or if it’s just that the Creator of all things wants to dramatically show the pro-corporate, big Oil backer that when you mess with the natural order of things by tipping the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuel use then there is hell to pay, or a similar facsimile thereof.
My adjacent lot – a view of hell in North Texas
I watched a movie on pay-per-view recently entitled “The Way Out”. It was a really great story from the director of the Lord of the Rings, Peter Weir. It was based on the actual events of several men and a woman who escaped a pre-WWII Russian gulag in Siberia and walked some 4000 miles to reach safety in China. They initially aimed for Mongolia but had to re-route their goal when they discovered that country too had become taken over by Stalinist Communism. The had to cross the vast Gobi Dessert to reach China and their efforts were nearly cut short for the lack of water resources. Two of the escapees died in the process, including the young woman with them. Their bodies just shut down from lack of the vital H2O that our body requires to survive.
This and a few documentaries I have also viewed recently about dwindling potable water on this planet has been brought home to many of us here as I watch stretches of once productive Texas farmland become deserts. The desertification of land masses around the globe and the pollution of once drinkable water has made water the most sought after element on the planet; more than either gold or oil. Our failure to alleviate the stress we put on this essential resource through an over-consuming need to burn fossil fuels and inject toxic waste products into dwindling water supplies could well develop into military conflicts as each nation strives to preserve and save what they have or seek needed supplies in territories outside their borders.
This tiny blue dot in the universe is made up of 75% water but only about 1% is drinkable. We don’t suffer the disadvantages that many 3rd world countries do, especially on the African continent. But we do face water shortages in this country and many of them have been effected by the bottled water industry. Large companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola and Pepsi go into smaller communities and mine their underground water supplies, unfettered as a result a century old laws in many states that simply put says, “he who has the biggest pump gets the greater share of water”.
One classic example of this was up in Fryeburg, Maine where Nestle came in and depleted underground supplies without being taxed anything and at one point left that community without water for a couple of days. This and similar examples of corporate interests running into conflict with the public interests were documented in the well-researched film by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Linsey called Tapped. Watch the entire film by clicking here.
I’m sure we will survive these current dry conditions this year. But it is pretty clear that as these continue to occur over time and to greater degrees that our children and their children will pay higher costs and face difficult decisions in order to provide what could be sufficient resources but for the failure of corporate interests to curtail those activities that threaten current supplies.
Too often we get wake up calls to crises that come at the eleventh hour only to be ignored by our failure to see beyond our immediate wants and desires. Unless we control the excesses of dirty energy sources and selfish profit motive actions by some, we could well find ourselves suffering the ravages that 3rd world nations face today that have been overwhelmed by the special interests who are little concerned with what awaits us tomorrow.