This is what California's water problem looks like. And here's one way to address it.

UPDATE 4/2/15: California Gov. Jerry Brown has enacted the first ever statewide water restrictions.

"California only has 1 year of water left" is a statement we all started paying attention to recently.

(The truth is more complicated. But still, it's a crisis.)


Now, before you start building your “safe rooms" and compounds hidden far from civilization, check this out.

This is not a doom-and-gloom post — by the end I'll have laid out a couple of solutions for you. However, we need to put a few cards on the table first. Think of this like ripping off a Band-Aid. It'll hurt at first, but we're going to get through it.

Why should the other 49 states care about California's water? Food.

When you think of California you may think of self-absorbed actors, major tech companies, and lots of beaches. However, you should probably start thinking about your food. The sunny state on the left coast is responsible for more than 400 yummy foods that keep you alive. The state produces half of U.S.-grown fruits, veggies, and nuts. Y'all, think about that for a second ... that's a shit-ton of food. California is an agribusiness state.


Without water, we've got a lot less food.

NASA just released new maps of how the drought is affecting the state, and it's not good. This is just another sign of the earth's changing climate. And the entire world (sans a very small group) agrees that humans are a major factor in climate change.

If you're a meat-eater like me, listen up. When you bite into a delicious burger, it took 1,847 gallons of water to make just one pound of beef. Do you like almonds? Well, it takes about 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond. You get it.

Selling food is super duper profitable.

First of all, farmers rock. I love them. When I was a kid, my family grew our own food, and many of our friends were farmers of some sort. I think farmers deserve profit because they are super important. However, we are not talking about the mom-and-pop farmers you might see at a local farmers market. We are talking about companies that own a ton of land and tweak environmental laws for their own benefit. Those companies rule places like California and...

Brazil.

Brazil is heavy on agribusiness just like California. And it produces lots of food, including veggies and beef. The states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais might run out of water soon. Brazil is home to roughly 12% of the world's fresh water. Because of growing cities, drought, and rising temperatures (people are using more energy, which requires more water), Brazil's water reserves have been decimated. So we can learn a little from them, right?

Agribusiness is wasteful.

Agribusiness, like most everything, requires water. I mentioned that it takes a heaping 1,847 gallons of water to make a pound of beef, but beef is just the tri-tip of the iceberg (see what I did there?). It takes about 395 gallons of water to make one pound of eggs and about 28 gallons of water to create one glass of beer. The list goes on. Plus, 30%-50% of food is wasted in production before it gets to your belly. Ooof. We grow enough food to feed the world, but we feed it to the animals we end up eating.

OK, you know how earlier I mentioned we'd revisit the silver lining to this?

Agribusiness is a "necessary" problem because we've gotta eat. But we are doing it wrong, yo. Right now agribusiness = climate change = super bad droughts = worse climate change = no water = no food.

But good news: The amount of Americans who don't think climate change is caused by humans is decreasing. And there is a way our generation can start the path and march toward building a sustainable solution.

What can be done?

Some of those Americans who don't think climate change is caused by humans are the people we vote for (yikes!), and that's a whole heap of messed up.

But! You have control of this. Seriously. You, me, and everyone else who votes. Elections are super important, and you have more tools at your fingertips to see how your representative is voting. I use Greenhouse. Here's how it works: When I'm reading a story about a politician, I can hover my pointer over their name, and everyone who contributes to that politician pops up. This is what it looks like:



Check out this amazing animation below — it'll show you how Brazil is asking its residents to deal with one of the largest problems we've seen, very similar to ours. Plus, it'll make you feel empowered.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

Back in February, northern Virginia was experiencing freezing temperatures, so FOX 5 DC's Bob Barnard took to the streets to get the low down. His report opens with him having fun with some Leesburg locals and trying his hand at scraping ice off their parked cars.

But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

Barnard stopped everything he was doing to pick the dog up off the freezing road to keep it safe. "Forget the people we talked to earlier, I want to get to know this dog," he told his fellow reporters back in the warm newsroom.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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