Randy Alcorn: Drought, Overpopulation, and the Magical Thinking That Makes It All Possible | opinions


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

Humanity has engaged in magical thinking since the dawn of human consciousness to conveniently explain life’s mysteries and offer comfort and invoke protection from harsh existential realities.

Magical thinking allows for unlimited possibilities for imagination and self-deception – as shown in climate change politics and populace.

California, along with most of the Southwest, is being afflicted by climate change — particularly prolonged droughts and massive wildfires. Climate change has made droughts the norm rather than the exception.

Carolee Krieger, executive director of the California Water Impact Network, concludes that “our drought is practically permanent.”

Before last December’s rainstorm, NASA predicted that California would only have enough water for another year. Since then it has practically not rained here until the end of March.

The rainy season wasn’t – again.

The reservoirs are chronically and critically low. Aquifers are pumped dry without rain and snow replenishing them. Ray Stokes, executive director of the Central Coast Water Authority, speaks of a “dangerous situation”.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared another nationwide drought emergency, urging Californians to voluntarily – again – reduce their water use or he will push through a mandatory 20% statewide reduction.

But as climate change continues to drive rainfall out of the state, conservation, whether enforced or voluntary, will not suffice.

Even if agriculture is dehydrated to quench residents’ thirst — thereby depleting product shelves statewide — Californians could be forced to ration water because the same officials who advocate or mandate reductions in water use are simultaneously enacting a policy pursue, which leads to even more demand for water.

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

Pursuing a form of perverse populism in which would-be residents hold more respect than established residents, these magical gits have passed a bludgeoning battery of bills overruling local control over zoning and development, the result of which is forced overcrowding regardless of existing water scarcity is , community climate and environmental and infrastructure impacts.

Only with magical thinking can finite resources never be exhausted by ever-increasing demand. These Sacramento magicians cannot conjure up a reliable enough water supply for the 40 million people already here, let alone the many more they seek to accommodate.

Most of California’s wildfires are ignited by human activity, which coincides with the state’s growing population encroaching into drought-ravaged, combustible wilderness areas.

Still, the same government that’s burning down the state, urging residents to reduce water use, and bemoaning the housing shortage has turned California into a haven for illegal immigrants, the single biggest cause of California’s population growth in recent decades.

Only through magical thinking can you solve the problems of excessive population by inviting more population.

The crucial difference between humans and other creatures is that humans were skilled enough to defer nature’s reckoning by extending the point of untenability. But the exploitation of a finite environment to support a growing population cannot continue indefinitely.

Global climate change is a consequence of the economic activity of an exploding 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 just 100 years ago. Today the world population is almost 8 billion – and the trend is rising.

With current populations embracing industrialization – particularly India’s and China’s billions – efforts to combat, let alone reverse, climate change will be woefully futile. Adding billions more people will certainly not improve the chances of avoiding a catastrophe.

The problem is not human activity per se, but the extent of that activity.

Almost every human activity affects 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 result in significant environmental impacts.

California and the world at large need an economic model and official policies that respect and align with reality and science, not magical thinking. This requires managing our numbers, respecting our shared environment, and living with nature, not against it.

If all politics is local, then this effort starts here. Not everyone can or should live in Santa Barbara — or most anywhere in California. The place is already populated far beyond the safe carrying capacity. Trying to make housing more affordable here by building more of it has done nothing but increase the overpopulation problem.

Taking into account the cost of land and construction here, the price of new housing is too high to be affordable for most people, even to break even. The only buyers will continue to be the very wealthy or corporate holdings.

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

The solution is very simple: live somewhere else. There is also enough affordable housing in other federal states. Having your own home in Michigan is better than sharing a one-bedroom apartment with three out of four other renters or living in California in your car or in a tent.

California is already struggling to accommodate its current population of nearly 40 million, but the state’s magical thinkers continue to act as if they can accommodate even more. Trying to provide housing here for all who wish is just more magical thinking that only brings the state closer to nature’s reckoning point.

Instead of pushing policies that encourage population growth, smart, responsible leadership would prevent it. Wise policies would not support or encourage illegal immigration or force communities to build more homes to accommodate more people.

Let’s replace magical thinking with common sense.

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


Comments are closed.