Author Bio: Vonetta Logan is a financial news reporter for both tastytrade and dough (tastytrade's sister company). After being hired on to our team, Vonetta wanted to find a way to inform consumers and investors about the consequences/repercussions that current events and trends have on the financial space. 'Nailed It!' is a satirical segment created to do just that. 

I am a steam punk princess. Tom thinks my new “look” should totally involve an eye patch.

Fun fact: my “scepter” is some sort of monopod stand thingy that we use in Video Control. I didn’t have to hobble anything together. Video control is badass.

So California is kind of f**ked. I love reading books and watching movies set in the dystopian future, but while researching this episode of Nailed It, I realize we’re getting a lot closer to things going totally off the rails.

Please direct your eyes to the lady above the stage. Look at how she flips and turns and defies all the internet trolls. Not once during this single episode do I mention the word climate change.

There’s conflicting opinion on whether California’s problems are manmade or the effect of freak weather patterns.  I chose instead to focus on the causes of the crisis and potential solutions.

So if your angry internet letter is going to start out with “Climate change ain’t real”, you’ll just have to fall back on “Dear Vonetta, you’re a communist.” Good times.

Living in the lush Midwest where it seems to literally rain every time I want to play golf (seriously, what is up with that?) it’s hard the fathom the enormity of the California water crisis.

Chicago sits on Lake Michigan, the 2nd largest freshwater lake by volume. Our problem here isn’t the lack of water, but the management of water once it hits the ground. All the urban structures means when it rains, it pours, and bacteria is dumped into Lake Michigan. You literally need an app to see if the beaches are safe for swimming.

Also, the water is like 55 degrees, so have fun boys! All of the shrinkage.

Things haven’t always been so verdant here in America’s breadbasket. Growing up, I remember the drought of ‘88. The drought rocked the Midwest, and caused some $60 billion dollars in damage and crop losses. That’s like $120 billion in today’s numbers.

Not sure how many bitcoin that is.

It was the worst drought in half a century- causing dust storms, killing off 45% of the country’s corn crop and putting many farmers out of business.

That drought lasted a year. That was it. The California drought is entering its 4th year!! California's drought makes the drought of ‘88 look like those chicks who take flirty boxing at their local gyms and then try to go up against Ronda Rousey.

Also, as an aside I think it’s hilarious that older people refer to things in terms of climatological history. Like the blizzard of ’79...

Or the drought of ’88, or the heat wave of ’95.

But our generation is totally going to refer to things based on when social media services go down. Twitter outage of ’12. Facebook crash of 2013, Snapchat leak of 2014. The Tinder bug of 2015.

So why should you care about the drought on the West Coast?

Let’s talk about wells. So, I grew up in Texas, and I was totally alive for the whole baby Jessica thing. (Depends on which fake license I’m using, but for the purposes of this blog I was totally alive then.)

Remember that? Holy shit! An 18th month baby falls into a well in her relative’s backyard and she’s all, “Uh, a little help?”

It took rescue dudes 56 hours to get her out. I was watching my favorite show Rags to Riches when the news broke. What? You don’t know Rags to Riches?

The 80’s musical comedy sitcom where a single millionaire playboy adopts 5 daughters of different ethnic backgrounds to come and live with him? Not creepy at all. How did it not last 10 seasons?! Watch this and try not to be intrigued.

Anyway, they cut into the show to go to live to “well footage”. So I’m sitting around with my parents watching them pull this toddler (no tiara) out of a well on live tv! Baby Jessica was free!

Pretty sure they canceled school the next day, because- TEXAS,  and the whole thing was made into the most glorious made-for-TV movie ever- “Everybody’s Baby the Rescue of Jessica McClure.” Love me some Beau Bridges! 

So where was I going with this? Ah yes, ground wells! Farmers are drilling deeper and deeper wells in order to keep their farms viable and there are no restrictions on how much water a person can pump. If it’s your land, you can take all the water you want. Even it means that water won’t be replenished for hundreds of years.

How mad would you be if you turned the tap on at your house and nothing came out because the guy you share a well with pumped out all of the water to grow hay to send to China?

It takes 700 gallons of water just to grow the alfalfa necessary to make 1 gallon of milk. California’s bananas water laws mean farmers are using water any way they can so they don't lose their water rights.

The good news is, that after this episode wrapped, news came out that California’s farmers will face similar water cuts that individuals across the state are dealing with. 

Because of consumer protection laws, California can’t enact a tiered pricing structure that would have high volume water users paying rates that would more accurately reflect the true cost of their consumption.

So what do we do in this age of Youtube, Twitter and GoPro? I present #droughtshaming. Yes, let's have grown ass adults tattle on each other. There’s even an app for that.

The drought is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And record years of historic drought conditions can affect everything from food prices, to transportation costs, and even housing prices. 

The dire situation isn't only a Golden State issue. Drought conditions of historic levels are encompassing the entire southwest. Lake Mead is at record lows, and over 40 million people depend on the water from the Colorado River- including residents of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and Albuquerque.

So what can you do to help out those on the West Coast?

1. Cutback on the amount of meat and dairy you consume. I’m not saying you have to eat all tofu all the time. (25 vegetarian recipes)

But did you know, it takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef and 880 gallons to produce a gallon of milk. Compare that to just 119 gallons for a pound of potatoes or 132 gallons for a pound of wheat. To put these numbers in perspective, 10 hamburgers require as much water as an entire year’s worth of showers — and the real culprit is not the bun.

3. Make your home more water efficient. Installing a total home greywater system isn’t an option for everyone.

But everyone right now can drop a brick in their toilet, and I don’t mean the old school kind. Toilets account for 30% of indoor water use.

But want more ways to save water around the house? Get a simple rain barrel to collect rain water to water plants.

4. Eat less almonds and pistachios. Damn, this sucks. Almond milk is my jam.

I’m lactose intolerant. I have no patience for lactose, and I won’t stand for it. But here’s a list of alternate milks to drink that won’t screw up the planet as much. (Almond Milk Alternatives)

5.  Golf. Is. My. Life. As the top state for tourism in the U.S., California generated $117 billion in tourism revenue during 2014 alone. The states 900 golf courses employ a total of 128,000 workers and create "a statewide economic impact exceeding $13 billion.”

But if my imaginary boyfriend wanted to whisk me away on his private jet to play Pebble Beach for the weekend, what do I do? Turns out that golf superintendents are aces at preserving nature. One third of the states courses are already using reclaimed water, and many are using drought resistant plants and letting the courses become more "natural". 

Shout out to Matt in graphics for creating the awesome images for this episode! Nut Job is quite possibly my favorite graphic of all time. 

Also, shout out to Thomas in graphics who helped my Mad Max dreams come true for the opening sequence. Also, thanks for using ALL OF THE FILTERS.

Have a great summer! And remember, every little bit of conservation helps. So maybe no more wet t-shirt contests. That’s really to just help humanity.

In the mean time and in between time, here are some fun links if you would like to learn more about the drought, water conservation, and all that jazz.

How Can We Be Running Out of Water 

Daily Show with Jon Stewart- Reservoir Hogs

25 Ways to Save Water