2015: Why Corporate Media Want to Blame California’s Drought on Your Eating Avocados

The New York Times has an interactive feature (“interactive” in the sense that some of the graphics are videos that you have to click on to play) about California produce and water. Its headline, “Your Contribution to the California Drought,” comes straight out of the text (by Larry Buchanan, Josh Keller and Haeyoun Park): The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week. We made an estimate of the amount of water it takes to grow each portion to give you a sense of your contribution to the California drought. But the headline is just plain wrong. People eating avocados don’t “contribute” to California’s drought—even if a sliver of it takes 4.1 gallons of water to produce, as the Times tells us. California’s drought is caused by lower-than-normal precipitation coupled with higher-than-normal temperatures, not by people eating too many grapes (24 gallons for […] Read More