Friday, December 19, 2014

A new writing adventure

Today I've got a new article up with the excellent folks at Hippo Reads, who are working to bring academic voices to bear on important, timely topics. My first piece with them is "5 Key Facts about the California Drought—and 5 Ways We’re Responding to It." Of course, today it's pouring buckets here in northern California (those of us working on water here have decided the best way to get it to rain is to have a drought meeting, guess it works with writing too!).

The article is intended to be quick primer on the drought, a bit of a one-stop guide to some of the issues that have made it such a big deal this year. I talk about everything from California's reliance on snowpack to groundwater depletion to climate change - all informed by the latest research. I also discuss some our recent groundwater legislation, the water bond, and urban water conservation innovation. It's (hopefully) a nice overview of the range of issues at play.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Old, new... when it comes to California water, we need it all

For what feels like quite a long time but turns out to only have been a couple of years, there has been an active and contentious conversation about the idea of "new" and "old" conservation. This dicussion is related the idea of the Anthropocene -- the proposed name for a new geological epoch based on human activity -- and is often extended to environmentalism in general. Michelle Nijhous provides an excellent, concise overview and current state-of-the-debate in The New Yorker that I highly recommend reading. In a nutshell: old conservation is often characterized as being about saving species and places from people -- saving nature for "nature's sake" -- while new conservation often integrates ideas about the importance of nature to people, which has led to controversial attempts to reconcile, for example, corporate and environmental needs.