Dial “D” for Drought: Online Art Exhibition and Contest

We’ve all heard the news. California is in a severe drought, the worst in recorded history and possibly in 500 years. As of the week of February 25th, 91 percent of the state was experiencing severe to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. California’s “Golden State” moniker is gaining new meaning as hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland go fallow and our state’s role as the nation’s breadbasket is threatened. And though California received a good soak late last month, the drought persists.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just pick up the phone and “dial D for drought” to alert government agencies to do something about it? In the face of a problem of such epic proportions, can individual action really amount to anything meaningful?

This month, an artistic interpretation of knowledge and action in a time of drought is presented at dearantler.com — a Los Angeles-based online gallery with frequently rotating exhibits by various artists. dearantler is also the blogging home of a swanky eight-point buck named Jed Antler, whose nature-themed advice and musings are an urban, contemporary, environmental take on Dear Abby.

The exhibit “Dial D for Drought: A Call for Water Awareness” explores two sides of drought — a look at how severe the drought can get on the one hand, and a hopeful, action-oriented message for each of us to become a water steward on the other. The show is online only — offering a low-carbon way to enjoy art infused with social and environmental consciousness.

“Dial D for Drought” features the artwork of Edith and Jolly de Guzman. Edith is Director of Research at TreePeople, where she manages research into best practices for the sustainable transformation of Greater Los Angeles. Before making the shift to environmental planning more than a decade ago, Edith studied art history and photography. In “Dial D for Drought,” she offers a photoessay that examines life in one of the world’s driest environments — Death Valley, California. The photoessay opens with an ode to water and drought by Wendell Berry. Edith’s husband, multi-media artist Jolly de Guzman, presents a whimsical, sometimes surreal collection of images revealing six creative ways to capture rain — because, even in a drought, the limited rain that does fall presents an untapped opportunity to create a local water supply that is currently squandered.

While weathering the drought is not as easy as picking up the phone, what each one of us chooses to do to respond to the crisis will help make the difference.

Visit dearantler.com to view the artwork in “Dial D for Drought” and for your chance to win a copy of the illustrated how-to book Harvest the Rain: How to Enrich Your Life by Seeing Every Storm as a Resource. Details at http://dearantler.com/askantler/dial-d-for-drought-contest.

“Dial D for Drought” runs through March 23 at dearantler.com.

By Edith de Guzman

Edith de Guzman, Director of Research, Natural Urban Systems Group, has been with TreePeople since 2003, where she manages research into best practices for the sustainable transformation of the Greater Los Angeles area. Exploring environmental, social and economic aspects of urban ecosystems, she works to collect and disseminate research that identifies the efficacy, benefits and applicability of various approaches to urban sustainability, with a special focus on watershed management. Edith received a master's in Urban Planning from UCLA and a bachelor's in History/Art History, also from UCLA.