THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA

Inspired by @goop, but also by my job.
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    Hi everyone. Strap on your knowledge caps, you're about to get inundated with facts.
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    I work at a nonprofit called TreePeople. I manage our social media and digital content.
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    When I got hired, I knew almost nothing about climate change or the environment or our water cycle or why why of it mattered at all.
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    I got hired because I'm a good writer and understand social media.
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    But this job has taught me a lot, especially in our current drought.
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    So, TreePeople focuses on ample tree canopy in LA, because trees provide hunan with lots of benefits--not JUST the air we breathe. 😉
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    But we also are spearheading a collaboration between county and city agencies, as well as residents, to capture stormwater.
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    Collecting rainwater is ESSENTIAL. Here is why:
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    In LA, we import 90% of our water from distant sources like Northern California and Colorado.
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    This is actually the second LARGEST use of energy in our ENTIRE state!
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    That's not good for our climate. And when the climate changes due to carbon emissions, we'll see more extreme weather patterns.
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    Like droughts.
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    Or floods.
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    Kind of like what we're living in now.
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    Yikes! Drought and flood are not good for people. They have negative impacts on the poor, and homeless people even die. Plus, drought puts people out of work--like laborers or farmers.
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    Water insufficiency also kills our trees.
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    When trees die, we have more pollution in the air we breathe, mental health issues increase, we're exposed to dangerous sun rays, and our cities get hotter. These issues are also not good for people, especially not the poor.
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    So, why do we have a water problem in cities like LA?
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    It's because it never rains, right?
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    Wrong. LA actually isn't a desert. It's a Mediterranean climate. And we get a good amount of rain.
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    In our driest year of drought, LA still got about 7 inches of rain. That's PRETTY good, for a drought.
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    In an average year, we get about 15 inches.
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    In an El Niño year, we could get over 30. That's a lot!
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    So, if we're getting all this rain, where is it going?
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    THAT'S THE PROBLEM
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    When they built LA, with lots of concrete to accommodate lots of people, they wanted to minimize flooding cut getting rid of water as fast as possible.
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    PS: lots of concrete means water can infiltrate back into the aquifer, like nature intended.
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    So when it rains, everything runs down streets and into storm drains.
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    And those storm drains go straight to the ocean.
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    In fact, every time it rains ONE INCH in LA, we send 3.8 billion gallons of water to the ocean.
    In the county of LA, that number is even higher. Like 12 billion gallons, even.
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    😬😬😬😬😬😬
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    Do the math. That's LOTS of water, that collects pollutants and trash from the street and drains to the ocean, harming our habitats and wildlife.
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    At the same time, we spend about 50% of our tap water on watering our yards.
    That's right. We water our yards with precious drinking water. We flush our toilets with drinking water, too. Again, 😬
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    So, what's the solution?
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    Rainwater harvest!
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    People can collect water on their own properties, from gutters connected to their roof, or excess shower water, or sink water when you're washing dishes, or draining pasta.
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    And store them in rain tanks or cisterns.
    A lot of these have rebates that make rain barrels essentially free to SoCal residents through socalwatersmart.com
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    That water can be used to water your lawns, instead of clean drinking water.
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    Or, we could install grey water systems. Which allow your old shower or sink water to be cleaned and recycled in your house--like in your toilet.
    Why use drinking water to flush your poop?
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    TreePeople is working to implement these solutions to scale, in order to cut our imported water by at least half. Imagine how positively that would influence our environment!
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    I forgot to mention, trees also help to capture rain water and refresh our groundwater stores.
    I literally didn't know what an aquifer was when they hired me.
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    BUT WAIT!
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    We live by an ocean. Why don't we just use THAT water?
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    Well, because it's expensive and unsafe. It hurts local wildlife and produces toxic brine that isn't good for us or nature. And it's expensive and fuel inefficient, especially once a drought passes. Then you have a water treatment center doing nothing.
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    So, why spend money we don't have and hurt innocent animals when we could just capture more and conserve more and waste less?
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    Instead, plant trees. Save water. Be nice to the planet. We don't have a plan B. (Mars is gross.)