24 Mar 2009

Practical Optimism

In the interests of practical optimism, here are a few suggestions on coping with economic crisis, environmental stresses, and water shortages:
  • Remember the big picture: your health, your family and friends, and all the other luxuries of life.

  • The environment is still pretty amazing and beautiful -- get out to enjoy a sunset, a swim or walk and appreciate that you have the freedom to enjoy that beauty.

  • We are NOT running out of water. Although water policies may be "wrong" in this way or that, most of us are lucky enough to have wonderful water available at our taps, for very low prices. Drinking water will ALWAYS be affordable to people in developed countries, and people in developing countries can get good water for a few cents/day (via chlorine treatment).

  • It may be difficult for businesses, farmers and fish to accept the current policy mess. All want the same thing (a much water as they got in some "perfect" past), but that past is no more. Get over that fact and prepare to adjust. (Also remember that it could be worse!)

  • Take all these feelings into consideration when negotiating or contemplating the positions of those who want "your" water. They see you as the same kind of "problem" in the way of what they want. Ok, fine. Now accept that neither of you are right and negotiate a compromise -- hopefully through markets.
Bottom Line: You can't always get what you want, but you can enjoy what you get.


  1. Since no news is good news these days, we have instituted some new policies regarding listening or watching the news...

    Don't ever listen to Marketplace on Fridays...

    If NPR is fixated on bad news and moaning and groaning about "the fall without a bottom", play music instead of listening to the radio. If you still feel depressed, turn it up really loud.

    If the News Hour and Wall Street Week are all doom and gloom, watch a DVD of our favorite Dead Show or go outside and let the dog run free in the pasture.

    If that doesn't work, now that spring is here go camping and catch giant rainbow trout. Coat liberally with Krusteaz mix and eat them! Mmmmmm! Don't think about the BLM damming up Hawk Creek for a water storage project and ruining yet another fishery on the Columbia River drainage.

    If our perceptions are a filter, we need to make ours more selective and not be overly influenced by the barrage bad news.

  2. A few years ago I heard of a book called "The Good News Is That The Bad News Is Wrong." I think that much of the "bad news" is nothing more than opinion being called news. I am an optimist and, although not always successful, I try not to worry about things out of my control, which is most of what passes as "bad news."

  3. Re: bullet point #3 and people in developing countries. Can you tell us why folks like those over at World Water Day (http://www.worldwaterday.net/index.cfm?objectid=E38C787B-F1F6-6035-B9D8092D300B7548)
    don't agree with you?

  4. @EC -- I'll post more on your link soon, but the short answer is that there is a big industry interested in "crisis" and that governments (in developed and developing) have much to do with creating/sustaining it.


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