Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
It’s been a fascinating start to 2014 along the Colorado River! Drought and climate change are the big news across the Southwest U.S., and 2014 looms as a year when we will see cutbacks in the flow of water out of Lake Powell but increases in the flow of water to the Colorado River Delta. Below, we provide you with two quick updates — the first so that you can take action to protect the river; the second will maybe stir your sense of ethics about the future the Colorado River faces in a climate-changed world.
First, when decision-makers do good work, we try to support and thank them. Alternatively, when they take actions that work against the health of our rivers, we also call them out. That’s why we’re asking you to help us reach out to decision-makers to stop the so-called “Water Rights Protection Act” that is moving through Congress.
The Water Rights Protection Act is an anti-environmental, anti-government bill that will be moving to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in the near future. This bill was originally conceived to address a narrow conflict between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Ski Area Association about water used in snow-making at ski areas. Unfortunately, anti-environmental forces have seized on to the bill, greatly expanding its language and power. As it stands now, the bill would potentially gut the federal government’s ability to protect America’s rivers — including the Colorado River — on behalf of the American people. Our friends at National Geographic posted this blog about the bill — please take a read of it here. Our additional friends at the national river protection organization, American Rivers, have created this action alert that allows you to contact your U.S. Representative and ask them to not support this bill. Please take a moment and click through to contact your representative. It is important to speak out and your voice will make a difference!
Second, is it ethical to profit from climate change? As climate change predictions escalate throughout the Colorado River basin, almost every single scientist is
predicting less flow in the Colorado River, less water, and more drought. In this light, our friends at Grist.org have highlighted a story about a hedge fund manager who is specializing in buying Colorado River water rights in order to profit from the oncoming climate-change induced drought. Take a read of the Grist article here.
This story not only brings up interesting questions about the privatization of water, but hones directly in on a question that will likely be more and more prevalent in the future: Is it ethical to profit from a disaster that imperils human access to life’s most basic requirement, water? The Grist story discusses a new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming,” by McKenzie Funk, in which many such ethical-profiteering situations across the planet are playing out. Human access to water has long been a serious problem in developing countries across the planet, but so far in the Southwest U.S. we have been very fortunate to have access to clean, inexpensive water. Will that change in the future? Will your access to clean drinking water be controlled by hedge fund managers? And what about the health of the Colorado River in this escalating climate-change drama? Take a read of the Grist article here.
Stay tuned for more information and action alerts about the Colorado River!