Mr. Isenberg asked Mr. Croyle, head of the Drought Task Force, what story Mr. Croyle intended to tell about the drought. There is already tribalism in the regions, and this drought could intensify that, especially since Southern California prepared for this and has a sufficient buffer that it doesn’t need to ration this year. I have been trying to think of storylines that are applicable statewide. So far, I’ve got:
1. You reap what you sow/you get out what you put in.
2. Early preview.
I like “you get out what you put in” because building resilience requires upfront wealth and the cities that are hurting now haven’t been willing to do that so far. Then, when people ask why Southern California gets to have nice things, the answer can be the same story: they are getting out what they put in. They invested in conservation and infrastructure ahead of time. There is a touch of shaming in that framework, which distracts people. That might be a downside.
Another potentially useful storyline is that this is an early preview of what climate change will bring. Now that we’ve lived it, what do we want to do? This ignores the issue of how any individual place got to be in dire straights and moves the thinking towards the long run. “Never mind about your lawn this year, this is the least of the change to come.” Maybe it is more useful to have people thinking about the contrast between now and the future they want than the contrast between regions.