Turn off the faucet at Sierra Nevada College
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April 22 was Earth Day, a day to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping this planet clean, using our resources wisely and being more aware of the environmental footprint we leave in our everyday lives.
The drought has been an eye-opener for many of us and many are taking action to try and conserve our water supply. Yet everyday, our core theme of sustainability at this school seems to not be important enough as erasing the brown from our grass seems to be.
This is outrageous that, once again, our school has opted to deflect from the core themes in favor of enticing donors and preparing a visually satisfying space for graduation. Gov. Jerry Brown of California recently passed a historic bill on April 1 that would put restrictions on water usage in California. Brown even said, “The idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day, that’s going to be a thing of the past.”
Watering lawns are not the main culprits of the current usage of water on the West Coast. Agricultural communities, cattle farmers and bottled water plants have had the finger pointed at them recently. According to the California Almond Board, almond farming alone uses up as much water annually as Los Angeles uses in three years, which is roughly 3.5 billion cubic meters of water. Cattle farmers have also been under hot water recently the top three thirstiest crops in California all supply feed for cows, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Even worse, the two major bottle water companies, Nestle and Arrowhead, continue to pull water from reservoirs in California. It was recently found that Nestle drew 50 million gallons from Sacramento sources last year, which is less than half a percent of the Sacramento Suburban Water District’s total production.
While these numbers are alarming, the even more alarming numbers are the ones we cannot see. Arrowhead, a company affiliated with Nestle, draws water from Native American land in Southern California. Because they are based on Native American land, they do not have to release info on how much water is being drawn.
There are many factors to the current drought and water supply issue that is affecting the west coast.
While watering a lawn may seem harmless, the idea that our school would turn its back on sustainability amidst one of the worst droughts this area has seen in favor of keeping grass green is discouraging.
The Green Council has created a petition against the sprinkler usage on campus. If the state of California is being told to not water their lawns anymore, we should lead by example in Nevada and turn off our sprinklers.