So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tragedy of the commons
Let's go to Wikipedia for the definitions of “Tragedy of the commons.” In short, it's the problem of individuals using up common resources. Okay, that's probably too short. Read the Wiki.
On a macro scale we think of people using up all the world's resources. What we don't think of so much is how that affects us on a more humble scale. Recently a friend of mine who lives in southern Maine discovered his well went dry. Actually, it was his wife who made the discovery -while in the middle of taking a shower.
It was a fairly dry summer in their part of Maine so the water table was probably a bit down. However, they use very little water on a day to day basis. Their next door neighbor, on the other hand, runs a septic service company that uses an awful lot of water. No doubt that's why my friend's well goes dry now and then.
The only protection would be own and manage all the land about the aquifer. Nice if you can afford it, but not too practical for most of us. I had a chance to make a few quick bucks by selling the lots across the street from my place. The money would have been nice, but it would probably cost me more in the long run. My house water supply comes from shallow well that's fed by underground springs that cross my land across the street.
The guy who wanted my land has a history of bulldozing everything flat. I suspect the shallow springs would be destroyed and my well would go dry.
Water is one common resource that's become a lot less common. It's one thing when individuals use the resource for basic needs. It's another thing entirely when water is used on an industrial scale. Businesses love to profit from a common resource. It's how profits are made. If downsides can be completely shifted to other people, all the better.
Multiply the problem by thousands of times and then you have California -a land where family wells go dry and deep industrial wells are tapped to sell bottled water.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.