Who Has the Ear of Your Legislators and Why They Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?

In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Agriculture and Water in California (Part II: Problems of groundwater depletion)

In a previous post, I discussed some of the issues of agriculture and water use in California. Though constantly stricken with water scarcity issues, California is a large agricultural supplier, with most of its operations concentrated in the Central Valley. In talking about agriculture and water use in California, it is impossible not to touch…

Agriculture and Water in California (Part I: Issues of water use and conservation)

As the recent spate of wildfires around the state should remind us, California is still in the midst of its worst drought in recorded history. Water in California often becomes too scarce to support all of the state’s population and its economic activity—and this is made more dire by the existence of a rather large agricultural sector concentrated in the Central Valley. California is a massive agricultural supplier (⅔ of the country’s fruits and nuts) and a large portion of the state’s available water is allocated to agricultural uses.

The Water Knife

This podcast features *spoilers – so, please listen after you’ve read the book unless you are okay with hearing about major plot details and the ending of this amazing novel.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife looks at our use and manipulation of water and water rights in the US and brings us to an ultimate conclusion. In a Southwest decimated by climate change, with the Colorado River a trickle, local and state governments in the Southwest are employing any means necessary to secure water rights. Following several main characters in a desperate search for recently discovered senior water rights for the city of Phoenix. Is #PhoenixRising or is #PhoenixDownTheTubes? NPR, All Things Considered called the novel, “A noir-ish, cinematic thriller set in the midst of a water war between Las Vegas and Phoenix. . . . Think Chinatown meets Mad Max.” Join us as we discuss the plausibility of this near-future Phoenix and the dire straits it’s characters find themselves in.

Tackling U.S. Water Infrastructure Problems

The water crisis in Flint Michigan has shed light on problems of water contamination and of crumbling water infrastructure facing communities all over the U.S. With presidential candidates like Trump and Sanders regularly highlighting infrastructure issues as key aspects of their platforms and the considerable national attention given to water because of Flint, it seems like an…

Learning about sustainable water management: The case of Los Angeles

Running water in our homes is sort of magical when you think about it. It’s one of the most important technological improvements of industrialized societies, which has, without a doubt, had a major impact on our quality of life … it is hard to keep water policy in the public discourse and in the forefront of policy when we don’t really educate ourselves about how basic water management works.