Sharing the Outrage

By our very own Margot Clarke, Vice Chair of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  (Reposted from AustinEcoNetwork)

The point of last week’s Chronicle article (Sept. 2nd) about water (“Drought?  What Drought?”) slammed into me late last evening when I reached the paragraph fourth from the end. That’s where the Mayor’s quote dropped my jaw and made me gasp in outrage, though the subtitle of the article could have warned me. Referring to cities doing a better job of conservation than Austin, he said, “They don’t have enough water supply, so they have to conserve. That is not the case with us.”

There is so very much wrong with that statement that I am almost rendered speechless – note that I say almost. Instead, I came out with my first blog, in hopes of spreading the alarm.

Maybe it’s because, like many in today’s culture, my social circle includes mostly people who are, to a very great extent, like-minded, but I honestly thought that the mindset of “just use it up” was dwindling. At the very least I believed that here in Austin, after years of conservation programs and watering schedules, residents knew that being careful with water use was desirable and expected. And now, in the midst of a brutal drought that is reducing the flow of the very river our city depends on for our water supply, the mayor has apparently not learned that everyone, every place, has to conserve.

The realization of the value, criticality, and shortage of water has made “Water is the New Oil” a headline topic around the world. Of course, even that thinking is inadequate; water is not the new oil – water is life.

If we, as individuals, organizations, government entities, whatever, cannot figure out how to instill a water-consciousness into the general public’s daily lives, we will bequeath a vastly altered world to the next generations. Get this in your head, Mr. Mayor – water does not belong to me, or you, or Austin, or the LCRA, or the state. Water is the very essence of this planet, and we use it, like every other living thing, to stay alive. And yes, we absolutely, positively have to conserve. Period.

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