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Norm Allenby points out just one of the absurdities that you notice when you start thinking cradle-to-cradle instead of cradle-to-grave. Sustainability is indeed one of those highly-lauded “paradigm shifts” that once you “get it” the world occurs differently.

The failure to utilize the full capacity of North County Reclamation facility to add clean water to our reservoirs is a failure of political leadership compounded by the continued discharge of 180 MGD of waste water into the Pacific.

Dumping water into the Pacific — and it’s not just the North County facility either, it also the South Bay facility as well — reflects our use-it-once and throw it away approach to systems.

At the same time the County Water Authority is raising the alarm calling more urgently than ever for citizens to conserve voluntarily in response to ongoing drought conditions.

Isn’t it time to connect the dots?

In a desert region that really understood the value of water, we would see all wastewater — and stormwater — as a resource to be sustainably managed.

The drainage systems for buildings would flow into cisterns for irrigation, instead of turning into polluted runoff. Most lawns would become food.

Norm also includes one of the biggest impediments: failure of leadership.

It’s hard to change the course of industrial civilization. But history informs us, it will change … with or without us.

Many of the signatories to the Partnership hope the lead that change.

And once you really begin to comprehend the scale of the impacts, you can really get excited about all the ways we can reduce them and retool for a restorative culture.

— CAROLYN CHASE

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