Valley Voice
Why hipsters caused California’s drought

There is no „too big“ in Silicon Valley. Day by day entrepreneurs, visionaries and engineers in tech invent and build the future of mankind – except for a few little things.
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A strange practice has become commonplace in many of San Francisco’s restaurants. When you sit down for dinner there is this remarkable note on the table: “Water served only on request.” A new law went into effect recently that prohibits restaurants from offering water unless requested – because of the drought. It has been four years now California has seen substantial rain for the last time, even the groundwater has run out.

Unfortunately we cannot blame the climate change. US farmers caused the problem. They use nearly 80 percent of the country’s water and spend most of it on cultivating almonds. That’s more water than I could ever drink in my whole live. The law for restaurants makes no sense at all.

Almond milk by the way is the new superfood. Few calories, no cholesterol, no sugar. Hipsters around the world are totally into it, especially in Silicon Valley. It was health consciousness that sucked California dry. Isn’t that ironic?

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And it goes on. Entrepreneurs most of the time are pretty confident that their ideas will save the world. Probably over having an Almond Latte. Think big, act big, there is no “too big” in the Valley. When a founder asks an investor for money to start his company, suggesting, let’s say, one million dollars, his investors would doubt his ambition. Silicon Valley focuses on travelling to Mars – who cares about water shortage on earth?

It’s the same attitude that makes Silicon Valley talk about new technology for energy-saving while cooling down whole cities with air conditioning at the same time. Saving the world has its limits. Enthusiasm is great and important, but at least a little honesty would help.

Some people came up with ideas against the drought after all. Actor William Shatner, Ex-Captain of the "USS Enterprise" in the science fiction series Star Trek, suggested building a water pipeline from Seattle to Los Angeles. For others the drought even created a big business opportunity. For round about 300 dollars spray-painters visit desperate house owners and refresh their scorched lawns with green paint.

Es gibt auch eine deutsche Version dieser Kolumne.

Immer Dienstags schreibt Britta Weddeling, Korrespondentin für die Themen Internet und Netzwirtschaft des Handelsblatts im Silicon Valley, über die neusten Trends und kleinen Kuriositäten im Tal der Nerds.

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