What Drought? Oblivious Rich People Whine About Brown Golf Courses, Normal People Drought-Shame Them
Photos by drought-shamers
Despite dramatic new NASA studies finding that the world is running out of water and the historic drought now ravaging California, irritated rich people are having none of this alarmist nonsense, defending their innate right to use obscene amounts of our natural resources because, as one aggrieved woman actually put it, "What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our houses?" As those with massive California holdings watch their lush green estates wither and their "prices plummet from $30 million to $22 million," the rich and sometimes famous are arguing, in the words of one Steve Yuhas, that "no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.” Yuhas lives in southern California's uber-rich gated enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, which guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average and which, in a memorable ask-us-if-we-care gesture last April, actually increased its usage by 9% after Gov. Jerry Brown called for cutting water use. The indignant Yuhas says he pays big property taxes and people “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” because that would be way harsh and anyway why did he bother making and/or inheriting all that money if he couldn't have nicer stuff than you?
Still, lots of regular people who do in fact have just dirt around their houses and never get to the golf course anyway and are assiduously only flushing when they do number two in the name of what's generally considered the common good - these people are pissed. Using an innovative tool of class warfare dubbed drought-shaming, a number have taken to posting photos of town sprinklers watering sidewalks, hotels misting their too-rich-to-be-hot poolside guests, aerial views of lush green celebrity spreads surrounded by brown devastation - KanyeKim, this means you - and other egregious scofflaws wasting millions of gallons of desperately-needed water. There's also a #droughtshaming hashtag and a new app allowing users to report to city officials when they see water being wasted. The people with nice green lawns and enough money and chutzpah to water them complain the vigilantes are "promoting greater discord among the civilian population,” by which they presumably mean even more discord than their grotesque economic disparities represent. But Tony Corcoran, who estimates he's put up over 100 videos of water-wasters on YouTube, says his goal is not to shame them but to change their ways, even if the two sometimes blend together. "Yeah, I put your address out there," he says. "The world is watching a lot more" - and, maybe, considering pitchforks.