Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2014


Environmental Science


John Van Buren


California is in a drought State of Emergency, which is fueling negative social and economic consequences. After multiple years of below average rainfall, California has arrived at one of the most severe droughts in recorded history. Climate change is upon the Golden State, and the ugly consequences need to encourage citizens to spur green movements combating environmental destruction. The agriculture industry is in need of drastic change in order to secure a future that includes clean water, and fresh food for a growing population. Currently, the agricultural techniques practiced are far from sustainable. Adopting a new ideal on what it means to grow food is key if California’s citizens wish to continue living in an aesthetically pleasing state.

To address this problem I will implement the disciplines of ecology, environmental history, public health, environmental economics, environmental policy, and environmental design. Basic ecological principles will be the backbone for understanding how to improve agricultural techniques to deal with drought. Public health will be addressed, as it pertains to quality and availability for water and food. I will use economic and political disciplines to gain a better understanding of why the problems associated with drought exist, and the pragmatic solutions they can offer to those problems. Concepts in environmental design will be crucial for proving that we have available technologies that can change the way we farm. In the end, I hope to offer a clear path for how California agriculture should revolutionize in the wake of severe drought.