Monday, August 09, 2004

What Now, Communicator? 

There are some events that are so large one has to stand back and think about them as communications challenges of a lifetime. This story examines the ongoing drought in the Western region of the United States. It is five years now, and there is no sign of a return to the rainfall amounts that had been prevalent since the 1920s.

Climatologists who compare tree rings to measure the weather of hundreds of years ago say the weather pattern of the last five years is closer to a long-term trend for the region and that the climate of the last 100 years was an aberration. If this is true, a dry region is going to to get drier and "water wars" that already plague the states of Arizona and California will become even more pitched.

Who will give way? The farmers? The suburbanites with swimming pools and nice green lawns? How can one communicate the need for long-term water conservation, or does one let the price of water rise to meet the market demand? And, will this kill the economy? How does one persuade people to stay when they are tired of water rationing? The issues go on and on and they are a lifetime of challenges for communicators in government and industry who will deal with them.

It is a challenge I would like to work on, and I hope before I retire years hence I will get the chance.


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