Global environmental challenges
The subtitle of Senate leader Harry Reid’s Monday clean energy conference was ‘jobs’ and the unofficial subtitle was: ouch!
Nevada exists on mining and gambling, and neither is doing too great at the moment. So Vegas is chasing the money to green projects, envisioning solar photovoltaic and solar thermal plants popping up all over its desert to supply California and anyone else that wants clean power.
The alternative — no work. Union building trades unemployment is 50 percent and rising in Reno, the northwestern part of the state near the California border, and in the high 20s in the area around Vegas, where the big projects are counted on three fingers, AFL-CIO state Executive Secretary-Treasurer Danny Thompson said.
”There is not jobs scheduled until late 2010, and by then all of us could be homeless,” said unemployed Vegas plumber and pipe fitter Becky Swartzbaugh, whose apprentice is living with her.
To help prepare myself for the water series we’ve been running, I went to the movies. Or brought home a DVD, anyway. I rented “Chinatown,” the fictional 1974 Roman Polanski movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, which is all about the growth of Los Angeles and the search/theft for water.
Considering that the current Las Vegas water chief, one of the most respected urban conservation advocates, is working on a much-criticized pipeline to take water from Northern Nevada at the same time Las Vegas cuts water use , this old movie may still have something to teach.