At Rider and Westminster, we don’t realize how lucky we are. Our showers are always running with water. There is always a water fountain so we can stop and have a drink.
Water is as vital to our precarious existence as air. Although fifth-grade science proved to us that the amount of water on Earth is forever constant, there are ways to diminish our supply of usable water. Climate change is responsible for droughts that are decimating parts of the world, including the West Coast and Midwest of the United States. As dry conditions continue, pressure is put on the groundwater supplies to meet the expectations of our lifestyle. In short, as the Union of Concerned Scientists states, “Groundwater supplies are like a bank account – when inputs match outputs, groundwater levels remain stable.”
The lack of replenishing leaves citizens of California, especially, forced to ration their water use intensively. Megan Pendleton, a senior music education major, is a Westminster student who grew up in Oakland, California. “Stressful” was the word that seemed to sum up her experiences.
“If I used water in California the same way I use it in New Jersey, I’d be causing so much damage,” Pendleton said. “Things like showering and doing laundry, that we take for granted here on the East Coast, have to be restricted and monitored. Every washing machine is energy efficient, every showerhead uses the least amount of water possible”
She even went on to describe the numerous fines in place for both homeowners and corporations if they don’t abide by water laws.
Unfortunately, the water crisis effects one of California’s greatest exports: the almond. California produces 82 percent of almonds enjoyed around the globe. The only problem: it takes an extraordinary amount of water to satisfy an almond crop. Further, the industry relies on honeybees to pollinate the beautiful pink and white flowers that bloom on the almond trees. Therefore, another challenge is the mysterious, near-extinction-like death of billions of honeybees since 2006 in the U.S. — now proven, through studies such as one conducted by Harvard University, to be because of our rampant use of powerful pesticides on crops.
Every part of the environment is interconnected: the water, with the honeybees, with the almonds, with human beings. There is an immense responsibility on everyone’s shoulders to acknowledge climate change, even though the East Coast may not feel the same daily effects as the West Coast. Californians are already aware, and are taking steps to reduce their negative impacts.
Be inspired to start making those changes before they become inevitable, regardless of the state you live in.
Westminster Eco Rep