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Traffic jam in a blizzard
Traffic jam in a blizzard
dramatic sunset over drought land
dramatic sunset over drought land

You probably haven’t noticed, but there’s something wrong with the weather.

You haven’t noticed for a couple of reasons. One reason is that in Las Vegas, water does not normally fall from the sky. Instead, it comes out of a tap, or from those funny plastic mushroom thingies in the ground. This may come as a shock to those who have lived in Southern Nevada for a significant length of time, but in other parts of the world, water literally falls from the sky, trickles through the soil and rocks and fills up wells, rivers and lakes. And what’s an even bigger shocker? That’s where we get our water, too. It falls as snow far away in the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming and even New Mexico, then it flows downhill to Lake Mead where we suck it up through big metal tubes - like the Internet, but with water - and try to get the gunk out of it and ultimately bring it to your house for you to spray all over the sidewalk in the hot summer sun.

So. Yes, there’s a disconnect. But conservatives thank God that there is such a disconnect, because they can seriously pretend to argue that science doesn’t matter and that there’s nothing wrong with the weather. It’s just a minor variation, a touch of warm, dry weather out West - with what is rapidly turning into the most catastrophic drought in the recorded history of California - and a wee bit of Jack Frost in the continental Northeast - which is enduring a nearly unprecedented see-saw of warm and frigid conditions that includes the frightening expression “polar vortex.”

Recently a local paper-of-record published an editorial in which it once again, as it has for years, suggested that silly scientists are a bunch of poo-poo heads who seem to be just about spot on not only for what is now happening to the global climate, but with what has already happened over the last century or so. Specifically, the editorial said there is more sea ice in the Arctic this year than last. The editorial failed to mention that last year was the smallest ice pack in all of human recorded history, but hey, maybe one year is a trend.

Stoopid sientests, how do they know how much ice is up there anyway? They got, like, pictures?

But our larger point here is not that climate change deniers are shills for coal and oil companies which would willingly destroy the planet if it increased their profit margins, we mean hypothetically because certainly they wouldn’t do that in real life, but that what happens to the rest of the world, country and state matters to us here in Las Vegas as well. (Remember when people said economic downturns wouldn’t affect us here in Vegas because we are immune to bad money times? How did that work out?)

Our friends at the SNWA (“A not-for-profit government agency,” the TV ads tell us!) keep telling us not to worry because, by gum, there’s plenty of water just sittin’ around doing nothing up there in the cow counties of rural Nevada. We’ll just stick a straw up there and suck it all down here so keep watering those golf courses, pilgrims!

Unfortunately, there’s where more denial comes in. It turns out that rural Nevada is hit as hard, or harder, by the drought as most of the rest of the West. There’s not much water up there to grab, and the Water Grab is certainly no magic bullet; it would, even if the courts eventually allow it to go forward, replace maybe a third of our state’s allocation from the heavily stressed Colorado River.


We could, of course, put science first, realize that Southern Nevada has to work with the rest of the country and the world to both address the real global climate crisis and to ensure every drop of water in the West is used as efficiently as possible, a difficult but-not-impossible course of action that would require shared sacrifice and provide enough water for everyone. Ha ha ha ha!!! Just kidding. We all know THAT’s never going to happen.

Or we could just ignore the problem, raid our neighbors for whatever resources we can take, fudge the facts, deny science and reality, and leave some sort of apocalyptic hell for our children. That’s the option that seems to be the favorite.


The Staff at CityLife