Heat waves wriggle across the flat,
Dark green corn of uniform height,
Near field edge, trees mark the plat,
Break eight foot, monotonous sight.
Thirty feet from trees, plants turn pale,
Shrinking, as nearer shade they grow,
Leaves shrivel, curl, diminish in scale,
Ears, if at all, no kernels high or low.
Cities, like trees, need water to grow.
Thousands of cities and small towns
Satisfy needs for their water flow
By making agricultural writedowns.
Farmer sells his irrigation allotment —
Folks flush johns, soak lawns green,
Wash cars and spray the cement,
Cook dinner and wash plates clean.
Industry uses lots for boiling things,
And washing down and washing up.
Doing whatever their idea brings,
To make sure it’s all adding up.
Cities have a limited elasticity —
When too many people in town,
Suck food production capacity
From farming country ground.
Example of city sucking farms dry:
San Diego and Imperial Valley bargain
247 million tons of their water pie
= 247 kilotons per year of grain —
Grain that won’t bake into bread,
Or feed to produce milk and meat,
No cereal and fruit on table spread,
Nor crackers and cheese treat.
Aquifers are being relentlessly mined,
Never again old wells recharge,
New wells, ever deeper, we find,
With pumping cost increases large.
“Cities are sound,” ecologically touted,
“By concentrating people in a heap,”
But footprint is lifestyle fully outed,
Transport spreads it wide and deep.
Bottom line: Population ever increasing
Reaches limits, concentrated or spread.
“Earth can’t heal wounds never ceasing,
Numeric attrition is fate,” Nature has said.
We can reduce numbers by rational plan,
Set program of voluntary limits on family size
And beat official drum for excess kid ban —
Or blunder into penury, painful and unwise.
© 2008 R. Leland Waldrip