Texans are leaving the countryside and flocking to the big cities despite this current age of internet and super connectivity. Seriously, I even overheard a woman holding a business call while she was in a public washroom…in the stall. I may be wrong, but I assume she wasn’t changing into a superhero costume poised to subdue her greatest nemesis. And if this was indeed the case, I propose that the nemesis worthy of her claustrophobic wardrobe-flipping stint in the skinny stall would be desertification.
According to this 2011 article at ThinkProgress.com, the population of the state of Texas is literally imploding in density while simultaneously exploding in numbers. Her cities are becoming stars that spread human-induced global warming outwards, scorching the surrounding land and creating hard crusty regions where there were once grasslands. Now where’s the beef?
The arid grasslands where cattle once grazed are becoming uninhabitable by human and beast alike. All this is due to the usual suspects: overgrazing, aquifer depletion, rising temperatures due to greenhouse gases, poorly planned urban sprawl, wildfires, and when the rain does come the ground is too hard to absorb it. Couple that with the prediction that within 20 years butt-toasting summer heat in the 100s will be the norm, the future is going to require a little more than car shades.
In the land of oil, cattle, and the 10-gallon hat, a shift is happening which will be the testing ground for the rest of the south and mid west. How Texans deal with their sizzling frying pan and water shortages will be quite telling.
San Antonio, for example, has a site dedicated to water management where you can education yourself so as to ensure that you are not unwittingly attracting water infractions. It even boasts a big-brother approach to water wastage where you can report your neighbour’s gluttonous ways using an online form. Muahahaha.
Is this the sustainable community of the future or is this just the beginning? What about the more private uses of water? If your neighbour writes in that he was spying through your window and saw you take a 20-minute shower would he be vilified as a voyeur or congratulated as an upstanding Steward?
Individual sanctions can certainly help but there will come a point where all the personal water efficiencies will not even come close to the amount of water that can be saved through the elimination of water waste on a massive scale in industry, 3 of which Texas is famous for— oil and the increasing practice of fracking, cattle ranching, and irrigation for farming on arid land.
In the coming desert economy life as usual in Texas is no longer an option.
Will the oil money enable the state to buy their way out of a water shortage by contracting with their neighbours?
Or will the cowboy be a wax figure in a future museum as a relic of another human civilization that collapsed through destruction of the habitat in which they lived. Surely a civilization which has gone astray from its stewarding ways cannot continue indefinitely.
Will Texas be the lone star that shines her light on the polka-dot path to sustainability for others to follow?
Or will she be the Death Star that takes her neighbours down with her when she self-implodes?
Gaia says: “I’m watching you.”