A neighbor watered his lush green lawn Thursday night, just after a new report on the earth's vanishing resources.
Four nozzles sent sent streams from every corner of the yard. Down the street, another neighbor watered his front yard with an old-fashioned back and forth device attached to a hose.
The watering in North Atlanta has tenuous connection to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report that deforestation and poor land use will cause a global food crisis. The New Yorker's Carolyn Kormann produced a full summary, connecting land degradation in Africa to Amazon deforestation.
Poor areas in Africa, Asia and South America will be the most hurt by water scarcity, soil degradation, and once fertile areas turning into desert. Rich countries like the United States will be less affected, although migration from countries like Guatemala, El Salvadore and Honduras will burgeon.
While I understand my neighbors' desire to keep their lawns green, the watering struck me as wasteful. Atlanta had received a heavy rainfall only a few days before. Was the excessive watering necessary?
For years, experts have warned that Atlanta's torrid population growth would threaten its water supply. Georgia, Alabama and Florida have battled for years over Atlanta taking more and more water from the Chattahoochee River. Over the years, Atlanta has undergone severe droughts.
When I covered the Georgia Legislature several years ago, I never heard any mention of climate change or global warming. The Republican-controlled General Assembly and then Gov. Nathan Deal believed economic growth would last forever, and that the state will be immune from global climate changes.
Savannah might sink under rising Atlantic waters, but at least it will have remnants of the port. Jekyll and Cumberland islands will lose beaches. The Chattahoochee will be reduced to a trickle.
As temperatures grow hotter and emissions rise, Atlantans build bigger homes, drive larger cars, and keep watering heir lawns. Some day, the bill will come due.