Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Writing on the other blog

One of my favorite water views from Wildcat Peak in Berkeley. Photo by me.
In addition to writing here on what as become a fairly occasional basis, I write things with some regularity for our blog The Confluence (and for other publications, but we'll deal with that later).

For folks interested in California water issues, the posts I've written this year:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Holding out for a hero

So often in life, we want to be saved. We want miracles. We want to be rescued by a parent, by a prince, by a god, by technology, by science -- by a hero. And, who can blame us? It's the stuff of myth and legend and the stories we were all raised with.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Forging new paths in science engagement

The Pacific Crest Trail over the McCloud River. Photo by me.

I so appreciate this beautiful piece on "climate grief" and what it means for climate scientists. It was written by scientist Sarah Myhre and in a couple of my favorite passages, she says:
"We are hamstrung by our need for job security, funding, advancement, and promotion – because we, too, are juggling the demands of child rearing, aging parents, urban gentrification, and the winnowing of the middle-class.

Regardless, this is the time for a gut-check. Our job is not to objectively document the decline of Earth’s biodiversity and humanity, so what does scientific leadership look like in this hot, dangerous world?"


"I believe most scientists are also, quietly and professionally, mourning the loss of the balance of Earth’s life. The pain doesn’t stop. It’s carried upon every wildfire, coral bleaching, or marine die-off. But, we can use these waves of pain to inform our moral commitment to the present and future. It requires the brave integration of science and self, the acceptance of loss."

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chronic versus acute problems

When the California drought really got going, in the sense of a generalized panic about it, it was late 2013 / early 2014. The drought had actually started at least a couple of years before that. Now, here we are, a couple of years later, and by most accounts it looks like we're entering year five, despite a relatively wet winter in some parts of the state.

In those early days, I treated the drought much like I used to treat wildfire events when I worked on fire issues: as an acute problem -- an intense, urgent event that would have at least a somewhat distinct end. This is as opposed to a chronic problem -- one relatively unchanging in condition and with no definite end.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Data and values

There have been some prominent new calls for more and better data on water during the last couple weeks. Charles Fishman kicked things off with an opinion piece in the New York Times saying that the best and simplest answer to changing how we think about water is to "fix water data." Several days later, the White House held a first-of-its-kind water summit. During the live event, many speakers made references to better data, which were further echoed in the event materials

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

From drought to storms: El Niño in Hollywood

After ending my post on California water issues showing up all over the TV with a note about El Niño being next, Sharon Swart at The Hollywood Reporter put out this pretty great article on that very topic. It is filled with some kind of crazy stories, like this one from actress Dyan Cannon on the 1982-83 El Niño landing in her Malibu yard:
"'I ran downstairs, and the ocean was coming into my living room. Then I saw firemen falling into the pool; they didn't know it was there because it's covered with water.' While her house was drying out in Malibu, Cannon rented a place in Coldwater Canyon, where 'torrential rains came and the roof caved in.' She now lives in an L.A.-area condo, in part due to her El Niño misfortunes."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

California water and drought on the TV box

I'm a television watcher -- or more accurately, a watcher of what passes for TV these days: streaming things onto various screens. What can I say? I adore pop culture and I work pretty hard with my brain all day and sometimes it likes to rest on entirely brainless things.

But, here's where my worlds are colliding. The thing I tire my brain out on all day is water. And, more and more, water is showing up on TV. As much as I try to ignore it, it's been super interesting to see how far the California drought is oozing into the deepest reaches of our psyches, at least as reflected in everything from family dramas to reality shows.