Environmentalism Comes With Human Cost

Sitting in the dark in the midst of yet another rain-caused blackout in “drought-stricken” California, I’m reminded of how woefully inadequate are the state’s preparations for normal weather phenomena.

While it’s de rigueur for liberals to talk about “extreme” weather in their ongoing bid to induce global-warming-related panic on a gullible populace, it’s the little things, like a fairly typical rainstorm, that send us over the edge of civilization. And if you follow the trail far enough, there’s almost always some uppity citizen’s group, environmentalist movement or vote-currying “green” politician who’s the root of the problem.

The above-mentioned blackout, for instance, is the result of one or more transformers in this part of town being flooded by the rain.

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A transformer, in case you don’t know, is just a big electrical device that takes electricity sent from a power-generating plant and turns it into a voltage and wattage suitable for home use. They usually provide juice to large sections of a town, and when they short out because of flooding, they do so with a loud “zork” sound that can be heard for miles.

Now, logic would suggest that such devices should be built above any areas that are likely to flood, have adequate drainage in the event of unusually high waters, and be sheltered so that no rain can drip into their compartment from above.

Logic has no place in California. In our town, every transformer is placed underground in vaults of dubious water-resistant construction because many years ago, local homeowners groups complained about the sight of ugly transformers in their neighborhoods.

This, combined with inadequate storm drains that leave streets underwater in all but the lightest rain, results in the echoes of “zork” all over town whenever the skies darken.

If history is any guide, there are parts of town at this very moment where commuters are trying to get to work through water that is above their car’s door frame. It’s a safe bet that a dozen or so at least will get stuck and possibly even swept along by the runoff because storm drains aren’t properly maintained. (It’s also safe bet that somewhere in town, someone somehow will fall into the aqueduct and have to be rescued by the fire department, but that’s not really an environmental preparedness issue so much as a human stupidity issue.)

Right now, the rain is expected to continue for the better part of a week.

Also right now, reporters are probably being told that all this rain doesn’t mean the end of our drought. Our “extreme,” never-happened-before low rainfall even brought President Obama to Fresno, where he explained that the loss of water for farms — which was actually caused, in no particular order, by: a) a judge, b) environmentalists, c) the Delta smelt, d) the Legislature, e) the governor, f) the high-speed rail alliance, g) Congress, and h) the president — was the result of global warming.

Even if a week of rainfall up and down the coast manages to refill our reservoirs, the state’s liberal party line will still be that we are in a drought. That, at least, might not be a complete lie, because the state relies overmuch on the snowpack in the Sierras. The reason for that is because the state Legislature, governor and the usual environmentalist and homeowners groups have all conspired over the years to prevent building of new reservoirs to catch the rain when it does fall. Some existing reservoirs have been closed and allowed to fall into disrepair. There’s one not three miles from where this is being written.

The story throughout the state is the same. We don’t have water because no one wants to allow a reservoir, and the Coastal Commission won’t allow construction of desalinization plants that would allow the state to tap the vast ocean.

It’s a similar problem with electricity. When the transformers aren’t blowing up, the state often goes into rolling blackout mode whenever the temperature climbs. We’re unwilling to build power plants, and the state’s wind farms and solar plants are at best part-time technologies. That plus each one takes up hundreds of acres of land, compared with a few dozen for a traditional or, God forbid, nuclear plant.

It’s not just California suffering under “green” rules. The entire nation has been inflicted with volumes of environmental laws, only a few of which make any sense. A large number of them seem to be more anti-people than pro-environment.

Add to the confusion the simple fact that we don’t understand the environment or our place in it, and we’re left with a fine mess created by (mostly liberal) environmental sentimentality. Take a look at the outlines of the global warming hysteria. One of the claims is that temperatures started rising precipitously in the mid-1970s because of carbon dioxide. What happened in the mid-1970s that might have affected carbon dioxide levels? Anybody remember when Congress mandated catalytic converters be put in all cars to change carbon monoxide emissions to carbon dioxide? Hmm.

We are our own worst enemies, and “environmentalism” is the sword we repeatedly fall upon. To change it, we need leaders who are dedicated to putting the needs of people, not animals or plants, first.

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