California drought – A cautionary tale

daryanenergyblog

I wrote this a while ago and forgot to put it up! I’m in the process of moving house.

Figure 1: California and the Western US has been plagued by recent droughts Figure 1: California and the Western US has been plagued by recent droughts

A cautionary parable told by environmentalists is that of the lily pond. It goes as follows. We have a pond with lilies growing in it (or in some versions pond scum) and gradually spreading. If the lilies cover the entire pond, they will cut off the sunlight and oxygen and kill all life in the pond. The lilies double in area each day and will take 30 days to cover the entire pond. Assuming we wait until half the pond is covered before taking any action, at what point do we act? Well day 29, one day prior to the pond being covered! Of course by then it will likely be a case of acting too late…

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