The general public opinion on water and climate change

California in drought

California in drought

We now live in a world where there are droughts where there should not be and flooding in places that should not be either.

The question is what is the general public opinion on water and climate change?

If you ask a person about it you get many different responses. Some, very few really believe it.

Most others say it is a cycle and it is supposed to be this way.

No one believes it may be climate change.

Recently, I asked a Manager at a large bank what he thought of our very warm winter due to climate change and how it may affect him. He stated “it was really nice…we didn’t get the rain we normally get so we got a lot of really nice days.”

I asked a few more people and their responses were pretty much the same. The people I asked varied in age, race and socioeconomic status. All stated nice winter, pleasant with no rain, no climate change, just cyclical. I then asked a couple of them, what they thought of the drought. Their response? “It’s not affecting us in Northern California, now in Southern California, they have it bad.” It was as if they were speaking about another country across the world and didn’t really care.

Today on a social website someone wrote, I’d love to have a swimming pool this large (it was indeed quite large). It was posted by a woman in the UK. I did some research and found that there is a serious water issue going on in the UK. Somehow, Ireland and Scotland had a public water system and was able to maintain water prices low and moderate the use of water. This has changed. England itself decided to privatize their water. Their water prices skyrocketed. Yet, the general public doesn’t seem to realize this. They don’t know what is happening.

When I posted a picture of running fountains in our area in Cupertino, California and how we as the public should think about water shortage when we see these fountains with fresh water running through these fountains and they were splashing and water was running into the streets, people stated we didn’t really have a problem. Their statements were “the water is recycled so what’s the issue?” or “it’s been paid for so why do you care?” In that same block, I went to a café and asked how the drought was affecting their business. The owner stated “our water bill is locked into our lease so we don’t care.”

We as the public take our cues from city officials, governments and what we see with our own eyes. The cities and governments make hazy statements and no one believes the news or don’t watch the news. The public don’t want to know, they don’t want to deal with it or even think about it. They are too busy trying to keep a job to pay for bills and water is far from their minds. They do not see the link between water and life.

So as not to be a hypocrite, I forced myself to look back 10 years ago, when I first heard about climate change and global warming. I remember thinking “well, there is 3 percent of non-salt water in the world. This water goes into the ocean to create clouds and then it rains and the cycle continues. We will always have 3% of water forever.” I never once thought of the urbanization, overpopulation and pollution taking a toll on our drinking water…not once…not ever…not until now.

It seems the general consensus is there is no climate change and if so what can be done about it? Another response is “we have enough water.” Another is “yes we are in a drought but it will rain again and all will be right. If not, someone will take care of it.” Yet when asked who that “someone” may be, they all look at me with a blank look. Then their eyes light up. They say the politicians, cities and government.

So who is that “someone?” Who will solve this issue? In the end it has to be us. Each and every one of us. We can go five minutes without air, 30 days without food but seven days without water. Without water we have no food. We are unable to face what we don’t want to. We look to our overburdened government to solve everything for us. We have become a co-dependent people. We don’t even have the knowledge of foraging for food anymore, let alone know what safe water is and what isn’t. What leads us to the conclusion that city officials, politicians and the government know how to make water?

What will it take for us to face the fact we are running out of water? I fear it will be when we do actually run out of it. Then maybe we will not be dreaming of swimming pools but instead just a clean glass of water and really appreciate it.

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Author: Liz Kim

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