Is it ethical to visit drought-stricken California?

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The Wall Street Journal posted a harrowing update in California’s ongoing drought ordeal: although farmers have in the past been able to avoid water shut-offs, this time is different.

“(U)nder an order from the State Water Resources Control Board, the local Byron Bethany Irrigation District last month shut down irrigation to more than 160 farmers and ranchers in its 30,000-acre area.

“Everything is in peril right now,” said Paul Simoni, as workers recently harvested corn on his family’s 1,900-acre farm. Mr. Simoni said crops, including tomatoes and alfalfa still in the fields, likely would be wiped out if they don’t get water soon.”



I read the story today over lunch and looked down at my salad. I don’t know actually know that the lettuce and tomatoes before me came from California but chances are something we’ll eat this week did.

In a couple of months I am planning to attend a conference in Los Angeles. I am sure I will take a shower every day, brush my teeth multiple times a day, drink coffee and otherwise consume water.

The event will take place at a hotel/conference center that I’m sure has a swimming pool. As far as I know there are no activities involving golf courses, which are notoriously huge consumers of irrigation.

My question: is it ethical to visit a state so parched that the farmers who feed the nation are faced with dry spigots? Or do the tax dollars I will spend there enable the state to attack this historic dry spell?

Although it would primarily be a business trip I’m sure it’ll be fun, too. I haven’t made my travel arrangements yet and I’m really torn.

What would you do? Californians, what do you think?



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