Day: September 29, 2006

Pot Farms Damaging National Parks

Horrible story coming out of California.
Pot farms ravaging park land / Big raid in Marin County only hints at the extent of erosive techniques by growers

The discovery of 22,740 marijuana plants growing in and around Point Reyes National Seashore last week wasn’t only the biggest pot seizure ever made in Marin County. It was an environmental mess that will take several months and tens of thousands of dollars to clean up. The crops seized on the steep hillsides overlooking Highway 1 were planted by sophisticated growers who cleared vegetation, terraced land, drew water from streams through miles of irrigation hoses and doused acres of land with hundreds of pounds of fertilizer and pesticides.

To avoid the obvious “Pot Legalization” questions and flip it, consider a world where cigarettes have been banned/regulated to the extent that black market growing became viable, would this happen with tobacco? Obviously, the nature of the growing (Tobacco – plains, easy plant to spot, Cannabis – Hill sides, easy to hide), make it an operation question in addition to an economics question. But as the above report states, the operation was obviously not hard to spot, nor was it low impact.

Something to consider as actions widely prevalent in populations are made illegal, how well does prohibition ever work?

The NY TImes on India’s Water Issues

The New York Times starts a three part series on water issues in India.
In Teeming India, Water Crisis Means Dry Pipes and Foul Sludge – New York Times

The crisis, decades in the making, has grown as fast as India in recent years. A soaring population, the warp-speed sprawl of cities, and a vast and thirsty farm belt have all put new strains on a feeble, ill-kept public water and sanitation network. The combination has left water all too scarce in some places, contaminated in others and in cursed surfeit for millions who are flooded each year. Today the problems threaten India’s ability to fortify its sagging farms, sustain its economic growth and make its cities healthy and habitable. At stake is not only India’s economic ambition but its very image as the world’s largest democracy.

This has not changed since I was a kid, we had the exact same problems growing up, and it is not likely to get any better real soon. Depressing to read first thing in the morning.