Letter: From a Parking Lot to Paradise

Southern California, Los Angeles and Malibu do not have a water crisis. We have a priority crisis and that means some political choices. Water has been a political issue for more than 100 years, including diverted rivers, draining estuaries, controversial aqueducts, Central Valley water subsidies for agricultural giants, polluted aquifers and intentional mischief.

We have experienced all of that, suffered the consequences and endured conflicts between north and south, rural and urban, and industry and residential. The real source of water shortages isn’t rainfall and snow, it’s the fact that California became unsustainable. Overpopulation, overdevelopment and wasting this resource are the reasons for shortages. Don’t blame nature and don’t blame changing weather patterns because that’s also related to overpopulation and overdevelopment. 

LA County with 14 million people and Southern California with millions more have made this spot in the universe one of the worst examples of environmental destruction. The fact is, Southern California was a desert and what has developed is unsustainable. Water shortages are a significant example of this imbalance.

Greedy developers and crony bureaucrats and cynical politicians who promote policies that allow an unsustainable future are the reasons for our distressed environment and water predicament. The disaster that people caused for decades must be recognized and confronted and turned around. This challenge is not beyond our abilities, but it does require changing choices and priority.

It’s not a water shortage and it’s not a drought. It’s a change of thinking. Toni Mitchell sang about it when she warned in the ‘60s, “They paved over paradise and put up a parking lot.” We can change our priorities.

Chuck Levin

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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