Record-high levels of snow for Boston. Unusually slow start of spring for eastern US. Bare-capped mountains in the West. Lakes, streams, and reservoirs running dry in California, Taiwan, and the rest of the world.
Recently, similar to Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) who had called for mandatory water rationing to combat one of the worst drought in California history, legislators from New Taipei City, Taipei, Taoyuan, and other major cities in Taiwan have also ordered similar rationing. Taiwan, if one does not know, is an island-nation of about 14000 square miles off the coast of Mainland China in the East China Sea. Its isolated geographic location and small size pits the 23 million living on the island a serious dilemma–to rain or not to rain, that is the question. Because it is so small, the rivers and streams need rain, and more so, monsoon or typhoon-esque rain to stay flowing and to provide adequate water supply for the 23 million living there. However, with typhoons come damage, and frequently, billions of dollars and hundreds of lives of damage. So when it comes a year when Mother Nature “cooperates” and gives Taiwan a break, water shortages and devastating rationing laws come into effect the next year. But when a strong typhoon comes, it causes expensive damage but brings a year of water to the island. So it’s question for Taiwan: Are the opportunity costs of typhoon damages worth a year without water shortage?
However, this also brings up the issue of water-conservation to the rest of the world. We are at a crossroads. Global warming and climate change has made its mark on Earth already (receding glaciers in the North Pole and Antarctica, growing ozone hole, more terrifying natural disasters across the globe, erratic tornado seasons for the American Midwest, and unusually cold winters and warm summers). Nations are fighting over precious resources, religion, nuclear arms race, and more. Economic recessions have also spanned throughout nations with the gap between rich and poor widening. Yet our desires for the best technology and greed have been unending.
So is this what our future holds? Desires and greed fueling an infinite fight for necessary resources and spoiling our finite planet Earth. Therefore, we must act now. We must begin to learn to control our desires before it is too late. We must re-define our needs and wants. Do we really need that new iPhone? Or check our phones 24/7? Or is it time to slow down our lives and reevaluate our lifestyles, appreciating more of what we have than craving for more? It’s up to us to decide.