Issue: the environment, Gregg Abbott, let them eat cake

Why does Greg Abbott need a lush green lawn during an historic drought? He doesn’t need  one, of course, the reason he did it is because he can. But just because someone can do something, doesn’t mean they should do it. And that definitely doesn’t make it right. Via the Texas Tribune, In Drought, Abbott Keeps Lawn Green by Drilling.

With what has been described as the worst drought in recorded history punishing parts of Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott found a way to keep watering his yard without risking fines or incurring huge monthly bills: He drilled his own well.

Now his lawn is green, and there are no pesky city watering restrictions to worry about.

[…]

“To me it’s just unconscionable. It’s a total disregard for the resource,” said Andrew Sansom, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. “What we should be doing is reducing our consumption of water.”

Abbott installed his well a few months before the city began aggressively enforcing its lawn-watering restrictions, issuing at least $11,000 in fines since August. In Abbott’s upscale West Austin neighborhood of Pemberton Heights, where lawns are remarkably green, some residents have put up signs that read “Watering by Private Well” to avoid reproach at a time when most of Austin can water grass only once a week.

He’s also doing it because he doen’t want to follow the law that the rest of must follow. He can afford to be above the law. Which as nonsequiteuse reminds us that’s the way of Abbott, pulling the ladder up behind him, Greg Abbott to Texans: Get Off My Lush, Green Lawn.

Water. We can’t live without it. Texas has been deep in drought for years. The Rio Grande, on any given day, no longer reaches the sea. Conservation isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. We’ve got to be aggressive in figuring out ways to share so we can be sure that all Texans have the water they need. Maybe not the water they want, mind you, but at a minimum, the water they need.

Greg Abbott is concerned about getting enough water.

For himself.

That’s why he dug a well at his house in Austin. Now, he’s got a lush, green lawn, even when the rest of the city is practicing heavy conservation measures on a yearly basis (when not coping with horrible flooding that still hasn’t restored reservoir levels).

[…]

When farmers can’t get enough water for crops, there is no reason that people in wealthy neighborhoods should be hanging on to acres and acres of green, inedible grass. To then drill their own private wells to thwart city watering restrictions is just insulting.

This is Tragedy of the Commons 101 stuff, people.

I mean, the state song is Texas, Our Texas, not Texas, My Texas.

But Greg Abbott lives in his Texas, not our Texas. He doesn’t care if you live on the border and don’t even have municipal water you can drink out of your tap. He doesn’t care if you struggle to keep your family farm afloat, the farm that has been in your family for generations. He’s got a green lawn, after all, because he drilled a well.

Texans need a governor who will represent the rights of the least among us and preserve the common good so that we can all benefit. We deserve a governor who will champion ideas and plans that will set Texas up for success in the future. Greg Abbott is not that governor.

A new report shows that even in Texas an overwhelming majority of Texans know climate change is real. Via The Guardian, Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real, study shows.

A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

The research, by Stanford University social psychologist Jon Krosnick, confounds the conventional wisdom of climate denial as a central pillar of Republican politics, and practically an article of faith for Tea Party conservatives.

Instead, the findings suggest far-reaching acceptance that climate change is indeed occurring and is caused by human activities, even in such reliably red states as Texas and Oklahoma.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview.

The most interesting finding of the report is why people believe climate change is happening.

The acceptance of climate change was not a result of outreach efforts by scientists, however, or by the experience of extreme events, such as hurricane Sandy, Krosnick said.

His research found no connection between Sandy and belief in climate change or support for climate action.

Instead, he said the findings suggest personal experiences of hot weather – especially in warm states in the south-west – persuaded Texans and others that the climate was indeed changing within their own lifetimes.

“Their experience with weather leaves people in most places on the green side in most of the questions we ask,” he said.

In other words people can’t deny what they feel, and they instinctively know that it’s getting hotter and drier. Especially those who make a living as a farmer or rancher. They know about other things affecting the environment as well, Updated: New Report: Reckless Endangerment while Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale.

Where the climate and environment issues struggle is that making changes on these issues hits directly at the power structures of our state. Changing to renewable/sustainable energy means we will have to “meddle with the primal forces of nature“.  There’s a big difference between recognizing something is a problem and realizing that, as a global society, we have to fundamentally change how we generate power, and begin to make the necessary sacrifices.

Certainly keeping Greg Abbott our of the Governor’s Mansion would be a start.

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