Re: Science and Unemployment...

Michael L. Siemon (
Mon, 10 Jul 1995 15:56:14 -0400

In article <3trg8i$>,
(Kevin Sterner) wrote:

+As for water resources, once the natural limitations of the "easy" water
+resources start to pinch, we can develop alternatives to that resource:
+pipe in water from the Great Lakes, pipe in water from a large-scale
+desalinization plant, condense some out of the air, that sort of thing.

The central valley in California is (now!) dying (from highest water-
table and oldest cultivation, outwards) from saline ground water.
Efforts to divert saline to the sea have failed. This is a direct con-
sequence of "free" (or actually, in this case, cheap federally subsi-
dized) water. *Current* farmers are going bankrupt from this, and
others see the threat as it appears and grows on their land. And,
by the great laws of economics, have little *local* choice but to go
on with the very process that it destroying their land, hoping only
to mitigate it enough to last out their lifetimes, and maybe pay for
their kids to get into something else. Mesopotamia went through
the same thing some 4000-5000 years ago, and remains a desert.
Sometimes we recover from our pollution, sometimes we don't.

I don't say that this will kill off our species (though enough of it,
multiplied enough places around the globe sure could). It strikes me,
however, as a deeply sick attitude -- Yeah! let's destroy this bit of
earth and make our pile; later generations can do whatever they want.
That this is, indeed, a common pattern (boom/bust) in ecology is also
no consolation -- our effects are rather more global than those of
most other species. All of this is natural -- my quotes, and irony,
were reserved for the naming of this process as "rational."

Michael L. Siemon (

"Stand, stand at the window, as the tears scald and start;
you shall love your crooked neighbor, with your crooked heart."