It’s the Economy, Stupid

Well, it’s the Merely Human Short Vision Personal Gain Economy–the kind that wins for the shareholders while the huddled masses and voiceless forest, desert or dunes takes it on the chin. Will we ever factor into that misguided term the longer time frame of human generations and put a value on habitats and species other than our own?

The Donald won (duh: the promise of jobs and high cuisine vs the environment and some previously-unexploited 4000 year old dunes. Some battle). Mr. Trump will build his golf course and luxury development on the Scottish coast, rare birds and biologists be damned.

And shall we look at another verse of the same song while we’re at it. Yes, as hard as it is to believe if you read this story, it is for real–a mammoth water park in the desert of Arizona as that state faces its 12th year of drought. This may be legal. It is not moral in our times.

The city of Phoenix in Arizona sits in the middle of a desert that for the past 11 years has been suffering a punishing drought. Temperatures in the city rose above 43C (110F) for a record 30 days this year and water levels in the rivers that supply its 1.5 million people with drinking water are at near-record lows.

A perfect spot then to build what is described as a “year-round watersports paradise”, in which visitors will be able to revel in whatever watery pastime takes their fancy. (12 ft waves to surf, white water to canoe…)

…Residents in the nearest town of Mesa voted earlier this month by two to one to support the project, won over by promises of 7,500 new jobs. Opposition to the proposals in the area has been muted.

But the long-term wisdom of creating a massive waterpark in the middle of a desert may yet be doubted. Last year Arizona had a record dry winter. Snowpacks on its mountain ranges – essential once they melt for replenishing the state’s sophisticated system of underground reservoirs – were unusually thin.

The current report for Arizona shows more than half the state, including the Phoenix area, in the moderate to extreme drought zone.

Idea! Why don’t we construct a pipeline from this Arizona Water Park to Atlanta where folks are drinking the dregs of what remains of their water! After, all–It’s a drought, stupid!

UPDATE: More commentary to my post at Waterblogged.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Take a minute and fly over Phoenix (or Las Vegas) in Live Search Maps set to hybrid view. Does it mater all that much about a large scale water park when over 70% of the houses in a lot of neighborhoods have swimming pools out back being sucked dry by the desert air?

    As long as we (as in humans) insistt on living in inhospitable spots, we will run short of the resources needed to survive. The entire American Southwest is just one natural or manmade disaster away from being totally unlivable for the vast number of people living there.

  2. Of course this water park is just individual irresponsibility and self-gratification and ostentatious lifestyle writ large, but it adds a totally avoidable in-your-face insult to an otherwise already misused landscape.

  3. Unbelievable… Several years ago on my last trip to the west coast I noticed the once mighty Colorado River now runs dry before it crosses into Mexico– dry as in the hot sand burns your feet dry, dry as in parched– and these morons want to waste water to provide what will no doubt be minimum wage jobs?

    The real tragedy is that no one cares enough to stop it.

  4. It seems that common sense is completely gone and replaced with greed and excess, and no body cares about the reality of the land.

    I lived in CA and west Texas for awhile, years ago, and made a few trips back and forth across the southwest. I’ve often wondered, how long the water would last, in those dry desert areas.