Tuesday, June 10, 2014
#162 / Get Real With Regulation
The picture is from a January 17, 2014 article, appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle. That January 17th article reported that Governor Brown was urging Californians "to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent."
Yesterday's Chronicle had what amounts to a follow-up story on how that's working. The print edition carried this headline: "Voluntary water cuts are falling way short." Speaking to the Bay Area response to the Governor's appeal for "voluntary" cutbacks, the article says that "customers across the region are conserving in only modest amounts, if at all."
When a society gets truly serious about achieving something, it sets "voluntary" efforts aside and imposes regulations. Issuing calls for "voluntary" and individual efforts to achieve a public goal are almost always a way that politicians seek to avoid serious public debate, and to avoid an enforceable (hence controversial) decision that will bind individual members of the community.
Whether it's saving water, saving farmland, or stopping global warming, we know that we've gotten "real," as a society, when we impose binding requirements upon ourselves.
"Get real with regulation" is a phrase to remember. So far, it seems clear that the California State Legislature and the Governor are not willing to tackle the need for social self-discipline with respect to water use. Until we start enacting "regulations," as opposed to making appeals for "voluntary" efforts, we are going to continue to fall "way short."