Digger - August 14, 2021
(This was submitted to the Borrego Sun as a letter to the editor, but not published. Apparently, the editor mistakenly believes Borrego's groundwater issue has been resolved and is no longer news worthy. Would that it were so.)
Nikki Symington's carefully researched, well-written, and informative article about plant die-off in the Anza Borrego Desert begins appropriately: "This is a wake-up call."
She reports that Mark Jorgenson, a Borrego resident who served for 36 years as Naturalist, Resource Ecologist, and finally Superintendent at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, believes that, while climate change is still not part of the public dialogue in Borrego, the community can't wait to make necessary changes.
Symington agrees that Borrego Springs must adapt to the realities of climate change but admonishes that, because of the many people who are ignorant of or flatly deny what's happening to the planet, the risk of escalating damage to the desert is great.
The article is, in all, a sobering, cautionary tale; the more so when one considers that Borrego's groundwater crisis was ignored and allowed to metastasize over more than six decades despite ever-increasing, scientific evidence that the aquifer was being mined at an unsustainable rate. The imminent and long-obvious existential threat to the community was finally addressed only after a new state law, California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, compelled local action on pain of sanctions.
Perhaps with that in mind, Symington includes a pointed but insightful warning: "if you thought that science-based climate change was a hoax, this report probably won't change your mind. However, . there will be lots more sand in which to bury your heads." Well said.
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