Who's to Blame During the Drought?

Earlier this week, as I waited for the bus at Union Station, a woman in her sixties standing next to me in line turned and smiled. "This drought sure is terrible," she mused.

"Mmmm," I half-said half-mumbled back to her.

Ok, I'm not the most chipper in the morning. In fact, I sort of wish no one would speak to me at all. For hours.

She didn't pick up on my feelings; she continued on: "It's such a shame how much everyone is wasting water these days. Such a shame. When brushing their teeth, some people just don't turn off the water. Can you imagine?"

"....." (me)

"How about you honey, do you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth? You do, don't do?"

"Oh yes, absolutely," I replied.

Now whether I do or not (even though I do: indoctrinated by some cartoon I watched as a kid...Sesame Street??), here in Los Angeles, the drought is top of mind. It's discussed and noticed all over town. Especially for its effect on the food we grow.

There was a flurry of articles published a couple months back around the CA water reductions. Then a plethora of exposes and infographics showing how much water each food item takes to grow. Almonds, beef, alfalfa, etc. And, guess what, it takes a lot of water to grow most food!

But we're so quick to vilify a food, or one piece of legislature, or one group of people. That gratification of placing the blame and then moving on. 'Cause you KNOW I would have gotten a lecture if I'd said I don't turn off the water while brushing my teeth. And would I be blame-worthy in that case?

The more I read about this topic, and the rest of the food system, the more I realize how much I (and the public, who don't spend time trolling the internet for free videos on food --thank you Edible Education 101!) don't know. There are so many interlocking pieces and stakeholders  that there will never be ONE EVIL villain. The complexities of the system, entrenched in historical precedent make it extremely hard to create systemic change. Some folks are trying. And gaining traction.

And in the meantime, don't point fingers and place blame. Let's just leave that unproductive behavior at home when we catch the bus in the morning.