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

There's a silver lining here, I promise.

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.

Heroes
Rice University

A plaque marking the death of a glacier comes with a haunting message to future generations.

The former Okjökull glacier in western Iceland is the first to lose its status as a glacier due to climate change. Known now as simply "Ok," the once sprawling ice sheet has melted to about seven percent of what it was a century ago and was declared no longer a glacier in 2014.

Scientists predict that in the next 200 years, if the climate crisis is not mitigated, the rest of Iceland's 400 glaciers will meet the same fate.

Next month, the land that Ok once covered will be marked with a memorial plaque. Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason, and geologist Oddur Sigurðsson—who first declared the glacier's lost status—will unveil the plaque in a public ceremony on August 18.

The plaque's text begins, "A letter to the future," then reads:

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Photo by Raul Varzar on Unsplash

A quarter of domestic cats have had their claws removed. Even though it might make the owners lives a little easier, the procedure can be incredibly painful for the animals and has been described as "barbaric."

Most of Europe and Canada have banned cat declawing (onychectomy), as well as several U.S. cities, but New York just became the first state to do so. Now, any vet who declaws a cat in the there will face a fine of $1,000, unless the procedure is medically necessary.

"Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops," New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo saidin a statement, per USA Today.

Some people get their cat declawed to stop their furniture and flesh from being destroyed. However, declawing a cat isn't the best way to stop a cat from scratching. In fact, it's probably the worst. "If a person has an issue with a cat scratching, well, first of all, I'd advise them don't get a cat because that is the very nature of a cat. But, secondly, there are ways to change cats' behavior. Get scratching posts. There are vinyl sheathes that could be placed on the nails," Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said. Rosenthal sponsored the bill and is a cat owner, herself. "[T]here's many ways to address that behavior." None of the ways you address the problem should include taking it's claws off.

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Cities
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

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Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

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Well Being