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Peter Getty is a philanthropist and contributing blogger for the Huffington Post. His work and writings revolve around environmental issues. Getty's philanthropic initiatives, as well as the organizations he supports, are committed to protecting the environment and spreading environmental awareness.

Visualize the California Drought

Though I’ve written a good deal about California’s three-year-strong drought and its various devastating consequences, sometimes the best way to really understand an event is visually. We can discuss the threat to animal life and ecosystems, the struggle to deal with challenges both politically and socially, and even present ideas for long-term water and energy sustainability goals.

But what could be more moving than simply looking at these before and after shots of Lake Oroville…

peter getty before


peter getty after



Depending on the chart-maker’s whim, the drought may be communicated with varying degrees of alert, but there’s no denying the one-year increase in intensity before January 2014, when Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state-wide emergency.

peter getty one year change


Inexplicably, there are drought naysayers who point to the worse drought in the 1920s in order to block any action in the present. But pay careful attention the very right side of this 100+ year chart of statewide precipitation. Is this a trend we’d like to see continue?

peter getty historic precipitation


And keep in mind that the above chart is state-wide. But the brunt of the drought is being felt much more in the south of the state.

peter getty regional


And finally, a sobering satellite shot from space, a before and after of the current drought.

peter getty satellite before


peter getty satellite after


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