Water in the West

Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel

Not everyone in California's Yosemite National Park these days is gazing up at the breathtaking granite walls of El Capitan and Half Dome, which rim the valley and captivate rock climbers with the awesome challenge they present. A handful of people are instead gazing down at reams of data detailing the snowmelt of this past spring and earlier springs.

This past season there was plenty of snowfall. But, as part of an ongoing trend, the snowmelt began sooner. As average temperatures have risen over the last 50 years - and many experts feel that's global warming at work - the snowmelt has started earlier and earlier. Why is this a problem?

Mountain snowpacks, essentially, function as storage towers for the West. The water they hold in the form of snow through much of the spring and early summer gradually releases through the hot, dry months. This earlier snowmelt isn't just happening in the Sierras, but also in the Cascade and Rocky Mountains. Taken together, those three ranges supply most of the West's water. One researcher tracking this phenomenon recently summed it up: "The mountain ranges are essentially draining and drying earlier."

The encouraging news is that a problem-solving spirit is catching on. Water agencies are seeking out more ways of storage. Farmers are implementing more efficient delivery systems. And businesses and even homeowners keep buying better and better options for everything from less wasteful dishwashers to low-flow showerheads.

That problem-solving spirit deserves to flourish. It deserves a kind of spiritual underpinning, provided by the Almighty and glimpsed by humanity through spiritual intelligence. A climber scrambling onto the summit of Half Dome has a sweeping view of the whole of Yosemite Valley not available on the valley floor.

As you and I gain in spiritual altitude, we glimpse and put into action previously unseen answers that are already on hand. The bottom line doesn't have to be a society choked by either selfish wastefulness or hopeless despair. The bottom line can be those divinely sourced insights that naturally disclose and advance the most promising solutions.

The Bible records a vision that flows from an exalted insight into how God transforms want into plenty: "The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.... in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.... And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness" (Isa. 35:1, 6, 7, 8).

It really is possible for individuals to advance along that "way of holiness" - that is, to advance in their recognition that intelligence from God is real and in control. Perhaps initially this takes the form of the best conservation ideas getting unearthed, accepted, and put into operation. Ultimately, a mountain-high perception will take in the spiritual fact that God controls and maintains His universe - including the weather - with unerring balance and timing. Transformation of human society and the environment will follow.

For now, squabbles that might sidetrack the implementation of good approaches don't have to do so. For instance, business and environmental interests may continue to argue over whether global warming is induced by human behavior. Either way, divine intelligence, derived from a God who is the one all-knowing Mind, is on hand to inspire, to uplift, to motivate, and to direct authorities to the most productive and efficient use of resources. Ultimately, that same intelligence will empower us to see Him meeting our needs just as He did in Biblical times.

Spiritually uplifted prayer makes a difference. It helps bring into view both short-term and long-term answers for water shortages in the western United States, and in the rest of an increasingly thirsty world.

Love is impartial and universal
in its adaptation and bestowals.
It is the open fount which cries,
"Ho, every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters."

Mary Baker Eddy

(Founder of Christian Science)

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