Will Drought Force Californians to Give up Lawns?

April 14, 2015

Andy Borowitz in the New Yorker:

SACRAMENTO (The Borowitz Report) – A new poll shows that Americans who were unconcerned about climate change as it wreaked havoc around the world are beginning to worry, now that global warming is affecting the appearance of their lawns.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, rising sea levels, the destruction of habitats, and catastrophic weather conditions, such as hurricanes and tsunamis, have not served as the wake-up call to Americans that their lawns’ unsightly barrenness has.

In interviews across the state of California, residents expressed anger and outrage that climate change had been allowed to worsen to the point that it has now severely limited their choice of ground cover, shrubs, and other decorative plantings.

“We are being forced to create a front lawn out of stones and, yes, cacti,” said Harland Dorrinson, a resident of suburban Sacramento. “I’m not sure that this is a world I would want to leave to my children.”

New York Times:

“Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here,” said Kevin Starr, a historian at the University of Southern California who has written extensively about this state. “This is literally a culture that since the 1880s has progressively invented, invented and reinvented itself. At what point does this invention begin to hit limits?”

California, Dr. Starr said, “is not going to go under, but we are going to have to go in a different way.”

An estimated 38.8 million people live in California today, more than double the 15.7 million people who lived here in 1960, and the state’s labor force exploded to 18.9 million in 2013 from 6.4 million people in 1960.

California’s $2.2 trillion economy today is the seventh largest in the world, more than quadruple the $520 billion economy of 1963, adjusted for inflation. The median household income jumped to an estimated $61,094 in 2013 from $44,772 in 1960, also adjusted for inflation.

“You just can’t live the way you always have,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat who is in his fourth term as governor.

“For over 10,000 years, people lived in California, but the number of those people were never more than 300,000 or 400,000,” Mr. Brown said. “Now we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment. This will require learning.”

7 Responses to “Will Drought Force Californians to Give up Lawns?”

  1. Jeff MacLeod Says:

    It’s already happened in Las Vegas. While they are not being ‘forced’ to give up their lawns they are given incentives to lay down gravel or other types of desert landscaping instead of grass.


  2. Quoting satire as news? Where’s the quote from the Onion?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      A bit of googling will uncover much good reporting from The Onion (America’s Finest News Source). Here’s some news from one article regarding new regulations and water conservation efforts

      Residents must be 30 percent less glistening when emerging from pools

      Right to water grass restricted solely to residents who have realistic chance of winning subdivision’s Best-Kept Lawn title

      Surgeons across state ordered to wash hands half as often

      Statewide consumer rebate program to replace old water with more water-efficient water

      And the best of all is that Sea World is lowering the water level in all its tanks by 50%. They will roll the Orcas over every hour or so to keep them from drying out.

      From another article:

      “SACRAMENTO, CA— California officials assured citizens Monday there are still plenty of other resources available for them to waste. “Although we as a state must take serious and difficult steps to conserve water, we want to make it clear that residents are still welcome to keep squandering every other resource as usual by leaving TVs on in empty rooms or throwing out perfectly good food,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Mark Aronow, adding that, while it is crucial that Californians observe constraints on decorative water features and other nonessential uses of water, individual residents and businesses should feel free to continue their regular practices of putting recyclable containers into the trash, paving over soil to expand parking areas, and leaving storefront doors open with the building’s air conditioning turned up”.

      “As long as you’re not using excess water, there are no government regulations stopping you from driving your car a handful of blocks to the convenience store and leaving it idling outside while you head in to buy bottled water or a styrofoam cup of coffee.

      “We just ask that, afterwards, you make sure you hand-wash your vehicle using a single bucket of water instead of spraying it off with a hose.” Aronow added that if residents did their part and focused on wasting other resources for the time being, then the state’s water table could recover, and future generations of Californians would be able to know the joys of poorly setting up a lawn sprinkler that directs the majority of its water onto the roadway and sidewalk”

      IMO, the best “news” reporting comes from the Jon Stewarts and Onions. (The very existence of present-day California is one huge “satire” anyway).

    • greenman3610 Says:

      you’re new here, I guess. If the title of the blog does not tip you off, we sometimes snark.
      You’ll often see Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, and others posted here, as well as occasional odds and ends.
      My readers tend to be sophisticated enough to tell the difference. If you get confused again, let me know.


  3. Not new here actually but your usual inclusion of comedy is obviously that. I had already read the Borowitz bit 10 days ago (I think the day California announced their new water restrictions). To be honest my reaction was concern that Borowitz would see it presented this way and do his second favorite thing – laugh at news reports that re-report his satire as actual news. But I guess that’s be okay too since it would be publicity for Climate Crocks and no publicity is bad publicity after all. Your second to last sentence hurts but I’ll survive 😛

  4. andrewfez Says:

    They don’t have to do cacti: Out in Topanga State Park there are all varieties of shrubs and wild flowers that exist without anybody watering them. Laurel sumac, Toyon shrub, Fire Poppy, Purple Nightshade, Coastal live oak trees, Sticky Monkey Flower, wood sorrel in the spring, Lupines, Bush Sunflower, &c. Think Mediterranean aridity.

    At any rate, i was driving down the middle of the San Fernando Valley, through a residential (single family home) area, and saw sprinklers watering city (concrete) walkways just a couple days ago. All the Mercedes still look like they’re squeaky clean on the road.


  5. […] desire I hold with those who favor fire. Robert Frost Bad enough that climate change is drying up Lost Angeles lawns. You start messing with Californian’s cars, now that’s serious. Raw […]


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