Water and the West

Lack of fresh water for agricultural use and for human consumption is a growing and very serious problem globally–including rich countries.  Read this article (Henry Fountain, New York Times, May 24, 2018) for a look at how climate change is affecting rivers in the western United States.  The Rio Grande and the Colorado, two major western U.S. rivers, are experiencing significantly reduced flows due to warmer temperatures, longer and more frequent droughts, less snow and less winter precipitation overall, and the need to serve more people.  By May, stretches of the Rio Grande had already completely dried up.  “Both of these rivers are poster children for what climate change is doing to the Southwest” U.S.  These events are not a theory or a future projection, it is happening today.  How can we as a society and as individuals mitigate and adapt?

The Rio Grande is drying up

See this source behind this story.

Is there a “tipping point” for public opinion?

How and when does an established viewpoint of a society change? What does it take for a society (a very large group of people) to alter its collective opinion? Is there a “tipping point” for public opinion? A recent study using a naming game discovered that when a minority viewpoint became held by “at least 25% of the population,” that viewpoint “was likely to rapidly become the majority viewpoint.” In the naming game, “all participants participated as equals, similar to the way anonymous individuals interact online” through social media. A small minority of people can become powerful/influential by “pure, unwavering commitment to an idea” (Roni Dengler, Science, June 7, 2018).

Is there a tipping point for changing public opinion?  An image of a rally for legalizing same-sex marriage in Australia
Is there a tipping point for changing public opinion? An example is the general change in opinion about legalizing same-sex marriage.

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