We lived for a year in Singapore, known for monsoon rain days where thousands of lightning strikes in less than an hour always came out of nowhere. I have to admit, when we moved back to California in July, we were pretty excited about being able to go outside without having to lug around spare clothes, boots and an umbrella ‘just in case’. The moodiness of the Singapore skies was amazing. It was almost as if each cloud had two sides; happy white clouds could simply flip over, and its darker counterpart would open and pour out water in a split second. There were far too many times when I would have to leap onto a bus as it suddenly started storming out of nowhere. Then I’d have to sling Milou onto my shoulders while I wobbled home on slippery tiles with my flip flops and soaked dress now glued to my leg. In Singapore, Morton Salt’s slogan rang true: “When it rains, it pours!”
(Stuck in the rain - again)
It didn’t take long for the California weather to start making me feel uneasy though. One month passed by, and no sign of rain. Two months, still nothing. Three. Four. As of November this year, 80 percent of the state of California is in either “extreme or exceptional drought”, which are the two highest categories in the U.S. Drought Monitor. Compare this to the beginning of 2014, when in January only 28 percent of California was in extreme drought.
There are obviously a myriad of reasons causing the drought, global warming being one of them. What I do know is that until we get out of this drought, we need to take steps to limit the use of the little water we have left. Water Use it Wisely provides nearly 200 water-saving tips on their website that you can download and print or share on social media.
Although the soothing sound of rain droplets outside my office window is making me breathe a little easier, we have a long way to go before the lakes are back to their normal size and until we can fully breathe a sigh of relief. In the long term we have to think of how our purchasing choices affect the environment we live in.
Buying organic cotton won’t fix the drought in the short term, but it will help lessen our water use in the long run as it requires far less water to grow than conventional cotton. There are small but powerful steps we can all take that help the environment we live in, whether it is turning the water off while we are brushing our teeth, harvesting rainwater from gutters to water thirsty landscapes or choosing crops that require less irrigation/watering.
(Marina owner Mitzi Richards carries her granddaughter as they walk on their boat dock at the dried up lake bed of Huntington Lake, which is at only 30 percent capacity, as a severe drought continues - MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
For now we are just enjoying this two-day downpour of fresh and needed rain. Milou jumped joyously down the stairs this morning as she finally got to dust off her love skull boots from Gardner and the Gang to spend the day the way we all should when it rains – jumping in those puddles!