How I Learned To Let Go Of Blame And Judgment Around The California Water Crisis

How I learned to let go of blame and judgement around the California Water Crisis:

I used to get really angry when I drove through Southern California and saw manicured lawns and pools.

California has a terrible water crisis. We are running out of water.

My reaction stemmed from the fact that people continued to behave as though they could use as much as they wanted.

But I have learned to evolve my thinking:

Lawns and pools, during a drought, in the middle of a desert, look and feel really bad.

But here’s the reality: the amount of water that agricultural uses is 600% that of all domestic and industrial use.

Furthermore, 20% of all of our water leaks out of pipes before it hits the tap.

Statistically, domestic water use just doesn’t add up to that much. Even if we stopped watering all of the lawns in SoCal, we still have a massive water crisis that isn’t going away.

I’m not excusing frivolous waste. I still think it’s pretty dumb.

I’ve just learned: my anger is a waste of time. It won’t change anything, and it’s more about optics than anything else. The real root cause of the problem is what I can’t see.

Bigger fish to fry. Big picture thinking.

It reminds me of people who blame hipsters for gentrifying their neighborhoods.

Is it a good look to roll up with a Tesla and edgy clothing to your yoga class in a working class neighborhood?

Probably not.

But hipsters aren’t the reason why prices are rising and people are getting displaced.

The real reason is the housing shortage, and the fact that we aren’t building enough housing. If we built enough housing, prices would stay low, and working class people could stay in their neighborhoods. It’s that simple. (I’m not kidding. It *really* is that simple)

It’s easy to blame and shame, especially towards those who do things that look tone deaf.

But ultimately, that outrage is a distraction, and we need to think bigger if we really want to solve our environmental and social problems.




Co-founder, Streetlight.

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Jeff Pawlak

Jeff Pawlak

Co-founder, Streetlight.

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