California is a rich state — as the world found out the last century. It has the best farmland in the world, much of it watered by gravity-fed irrigation from the Sierra. Its timber acreage is vast. There is a lot of natural gas and oil still in the southern interior and off the coast. Silicon Valley, tourism, Hollywood, defense, and Napa Valley all contribute to natural wealth.
The problem is that we have created a strange drone mindset that manifests itself in two ways. Among elites there is almost a “Don’t touch or disturb that!” mantra. The law of the hothouse orchid reigns. Once our grubby ancestors created our infrastructure, we wish sometimes to ridicule and — use — it, less often to leave anything better behind for anyone else.
Fish, not people
We want all the dividends of industrial society, but an 18th century wilderness at the same time. So the in-the-know people demand cheap, plentiful, and tasty food, but worry more about a three-inch fish than the farmers and farm workers who keep us alive one more day — and so divert fresh water out into the bay to keep the delta smelt alive. (Oh, I know the Gorist logic: the smelt is a canary in the mine; when he can’t get enough oxygen, then we won’t be able to drink soon.” Sorry, I suggest that communities whose treated sewage goes into the bay begin using some sort of organic toilets rather than the old flush models.)