The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that questions about the survival of California’s Central Valley - especially the fertile southern region - are top of mind at a time of climate change.
"Home to more than 4 million people, the vast San Joaquin Valley lies flat and low between the Sierra Nevada and the Southern Coast Range and has long been prone to climate hazards," the Times writes. "Lately, however, they seem to be converging at a breakneck pace. The floods arrived following three years of severe drought, while extreme heat, lung-searing smog and hazardous wildfire smoke have become all-too-common occurrences. Meanwhile, the very earth beneath their feet is sinking.
"Experts say it’s not just bad luck that has made the San Joaquin Valley one of the front lines of climate change in America. Dramatic land use changes, a dearth of resources and state support, and a recalcitrant political climate fueled by agriculture and fossil fuel drilling have all contributed to the region’s challenges. How it adapts could be a case study for the rest of the nation.
"As recently as a century ago, the valley was the humid home to ephemeral rivers, lakes and wetlands. But its rapid transition toward industrial agricultural — which turned it into one of the most fruitful food production regions in the world — sapped the valley’s water and aridified its landscape."
You can read the entire story here.
- KC's View:
The impact of these trends won't just be felt by famers. It'll also hit retailers and consumers hard, and we have to consider whether in our quest for an endless supply of food, available all the time, we've created a cycle that will, in the long term, destroy the system that was built to feed our impulses.
The Times story makes clear that there are ways to address the problem. But the question is whether, as a culture, we have the discipline to make the necessary investments.