So, with the drought rearing its ugly head at its, eh, ugliest, and people here in Orange County seemingly indifferent, I’ve decided on a course of action. Step 1: Write a letter to everyone who lives in my community (about 250 houses) and spell out the problem.
I’ve pasted the letter below, but I truly want your advice. Is the tone too harsh? Too soft? If it belittling? Fair? I want to call people to action, not insult and turn them off.
Any insights truly appreciated.
My name is Jeff Pearlman. I live here. I have a wife, two kids and a dog, Norma. You’ve possibly seen me walking the ol’ cockapoo either early in the morning or late at night. I’m a tall guy with a goatee and flip-flops. I absolutely love this community.
Anyhow, I’m writing you this letter because, a couple of months back, my children were studying Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in school, and many of our conversations concerned stepping up and making a difference when not enough people are stepping up and making a difference. It inspired me.
We, the people of this community, need to step up.
We, the people of this community, need to make a difference.
In case you’re either unaware or disinterested, California is quickly running out of water. This isn’t an exaggerated state of emergency, or some left-leaning or right-leaning political movement. This isn’t yet another feel-free-to-ignore drought warning, or a problem easily fixed with [FILL IN THE BLANK] solution. No, we are in big friggin’ trouble, and if you don’t believe me, well, Google “drought” and “California.” According to NASA’s senior water scientist, California has enough stored reservoir water for one year. Yes, one. The snowpack in the Tuolumne River Basin in California’s Sierra Nevada (a major source of our water) contains 40 percent of what it did in 2014—and that was the second driest year in recorded history. We, as a state, need 11 trillion gallons of water to return to normalcy.
So here’s why I’m writing: Every singly day, as I walk or drive through our streets, I see water running down the sidewalks. I see sprinklers blasting; people washing their cars and boats. We’re collectively meeting our negative geographic reputation (living behind the Orange Curtain; naïve and indifferent to problems outside the cocoon; spoiled and entitled) and it’s heartbreaking. This is a crisis. A real, legitimate crisis that calls for sacrifice and a willingness to think outside of one’s self. At this rate, our state will run out of water, and there’s no quick fix or easy solution. You will look back at the time you fired off your sprinkler three or four times per week and think, “What in the world was I doing?”
It is, I say again, time to step up.
There are 1,001 viable ways to reduce water usage, from limiting showers (and shower times) to halving sprinkler output (and days) to replacing water-hungry plants with succulents to—and this is admittedly a big one, but an important one—replacing your lawn with either fake grass (which we have, and is absolutely wonderful) or a desert-themed landscape (increasingly popular, inexpensive and easy to maintain). I know … I know—it’s annoying. And a pain. And inconvenient. But it’s also extraordinarily important, and vital to the future of our beloved state. We, as a community, need to stop pretending we live behind a Plexiglass bubble. We don’t.
Anyhow, I’m just a sports journalist. But I’m passionate, and I’d be happy to discuss this with anyone/everyone. As a father, I consider this of tremendous importance, and I hope you join my efforts to save water.