I’m reading a lot about Australia’s drought these past couple days.  Two things.  First, it looks exactly like an accelerated version of my dystopic version of how California agriculture will respond to climate change.  I’m always relieved at validation, because I thought through that post from first principles, not from copying a drought scenario.

But, one real bad thing is that one of the sidenotes in my old post is pretty prominent in these articles about Australian drought.  Farmers kill themselves a lot.  I guess the identification with their land and way of life is overwhelming.  Maybe people at the Department of Public Health know more about that, but I don’t think many water managers think of responding to that as part of their job.  Also, the first and worst victims of California’s water scarcity are and will be farm workers, but I don’t see mention of suicide in any of the newspaper stories about them.  Why do farmers kill themselves but the more destitute farmworkers not?  (Catholicism?  Different sort of self-identification?  Sampling and reporting error?)   What’s going on here and how does it become part of drought response?

Later: Relevant. And another article mentioning drought and suicide.

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One response to “Worried

  1. aquafornia

    There was an article in the Capital Press a few weeks ago that focused on how many farmers (& farmworkers) in the Central Valley have been having issues with depression, alcohol abuse and domestic violence. I tried to find it for you, but it has already gone into the archives (need $ to get).

    I think there is an upsurge in domestic violence & murder-suicides – at least it seems that I’m hearing more of these stories down here in Southern Cal these days, and most often it seems that someone is out of work, losing their home, etc. It’s ugly out there. I’m thankful that we in our home are fully employed. (knock on wood!)

    I was in the Central Valley today, the southern end, and while there were plenty of fallowed fields and some orchards looking dry (and one where the trees had been chopped down), there were also fields being readied for planting, and orchards that looked good. Water in some canals, others, none. So, there is some planting going on. Couldn’t venture to guess what the split was, though.

    We visited Kern NWR, birds and water there. Then we went to Pixley NWR, and the place was dry as a bone. Doesn’t look like there has been water there for a long time.