Randy Alcorn: Drought, Overpopulation, and the Magical Thinking That Makes It All Happen | Opinions

Magical thinking is the willingness to accept as true things for which there is no valid evidence, and to continue to do so even in the face of conflicting or contradictory realities.

Humanity has engaged in magical thinking since the dawn of human consciousness to conveniently explain the mysteries of life and to provide comfort and ward off protection from harsh existential realities.

Magical thinking allows unlimited possibilities for fantasy and self-delusion – as evidenced by the politics of climate change and population.

California, along with most of the Southwest, is being ravaged by climate change, including persistent droughts and massive wildfires. Climate change has made drought more the norm than the exception.

Carolee Krieger, executive director of the California Water Impact Network, concludes that “for all intents and purposes, our drought is permanent.”

Before last December’s wave of rains, NASA predicted that California only had enough water to last another year. Since then there has been hardly any rain here until the end of March.

The rainy season was not — again.

Reservoirs are chronically and critically low. The aquifers, without being recharged by rain and snow, are dried up by pumping. Ray Stokes, executive director of the Central Coast Water Authority, calls it a “perilous situation”.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared another statewide drought emergency and has asked Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use – again – or he will impose a mandatory 20% reduction nationwide. of State.

But, as climate change continues to drive rainfall away from the state, conservation, forced or voluntary, will not be enough.

Even as agriculture is dehydrated to quench residential thirst — depleting produce shelves across the country — Californians may be forced to ration water anyway, as the same officials who advocate for or impose cuts in Water consumption simultaneously pursue policies that invite even greater demand for water.

Disregarding the reality of chronic droughts and wildfires linked to climate change, Newsom and his fellow illusionists in Sacramento are essentially forcing local communities to increase their population.

Pursuing a perverse form of populism in which would-be residents have more clout than established residents, these magical cretins have adopted a battery of bludgeoning bills undoing local control over zoning and development, the effect of which is forced overcrowding without heed account of existing water shortages. , community ambiance, and impacts on the environment and infrastructure.

Only with magical thinking can finite resources ever be depleted by ever-increasing demand. These Sacramento wizards can’t conjure up enough reliable water supplies for the 40 million people already here, let alone the many more people they want to welcome.

Most wildfires in California are started by human activity concurrent with the state’s burgeoning population growing in drought-ravaged and flammable wilderness areas.

Still, the same government monitoring the state’s blaze, asking residents to reduce their water use and bemoaning housing shortages has made California a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants, the main cause of the growth. California’s demographics over the past few decades.

Only by magical thinking can you solve the overpopulation problems by inviting more population.

The critical difference between humans and other creatures is that humans have been adept enough to defer nature’s judgment by extending the point of unsustainability. But exploiting a finite environment to support a growing population cannot continue indefinitely.

Global climate change is a consequence of the economic activity of a burgeoning human population.

There are few problems and threats facing humans, and all life on this planet, that would not be significantly mitigated or even absent if the human population had never exceeded 2 billion – where it was a while ago. barely 100 years old. Today, the world’s human population stands at nearly 8 billion and continues to grow.

With today’s populations rushing to embrace industrialization – especially the billions in India and China – efforts to fight climate change, let alone reverse it, will be pathetically in vain. Continuing to add billions more people will certainly not improve the chances of averting catastrophe.

It is not human activity per se that is the problem, it is the amount of that activity.

Almost all human activities affect the biosphere. So while solar and wind power, electric vehicles, etc. are admirable efforts, the natural resources and processes required to produce and sustain “green” technology themselves have significant environmental consequences.

California, and the world for that matter, needs an economic model and official policies that respect and are informed by reality and science, not wishful thinking. It forces us to manage our numbers, respect our common environment, and live with nature, not against it.

If all policies are local, then that effort starts here. Not everyone can or should live in Santa Barbara – or almost anywhere in California. The place is already populated well beyond its safe carrying capacity. Trying to make housing more affordable here by building more hasn’t worked to do anything but make the overcrowding problem worse.

Given the cost of land and construction here, even to break even, the price of new homes is too high to be affordable for most people. The only buyers will continue to be the very wealthy or private investors.

There will never be enough housing, “affordable” or not, for everyone who wants to live here.

The solution is quite simple: live elsewhere. There is plenty of affordable housing in other parts of the country. Having your own house in Michigan is better off sharing a one-bedroom apartment with three of the other four tenants, or living in your car or in a tent in California.

California is already struggling to accommodate its current population of nearly 40 million, but the state’s magical thinkers continue to behave as if they can accommodate even more. Attempting to provide housing here to anyone who desires it is just wishful thinking that only brings the state closer to nature’s judgment point.

Rather than pushing policies that encourage population growth, wise and responsible leadership would discourage it. Wise policy would not aid or encourage illegal immigration or compel communities to build more housing to cram more people in.

Let’s replace wishful thinking with common sense.

— Randy Alcorn is a political observer from Santa Barbara. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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