California is a booming cultural, social, technological, economic and agricultural hub for the world. The benefits that this one state adds to the rest of the world are truly unique, and if suddenly the world was without it, many people would feel the effects. It is one of the most racially diverse states in America as well as in the world. Immigrants from all over the globe have traveled here to find better opportunities and to live in “the land of dreams.”
In the present day, the Golden State houses over 10 million immigrants and 27 percent of Californians are foreign-born, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. There is a rich cultural mix that exists in the state of California. That is something which is not easily found in many other parts of the world.
Part of California’s rich social heritage comes from the iconic city of Hollywood, the capital of entertainment of the world. Hollywood produces around 600 movies annually, and these movies are released around the globe. Without California, there would be a huge loss in culture and entertainment.
Furthermore, California is a center for innovation and technology. Silicon Valley, located in northern California, is home to thousands of start-ups and some of the world’s most prestigious technological companies. It is also the third-largest tech center in the entire United States and is a leader in high-tech innovation.
In addition, California by itself has the ninth largest economy in the world since 2012, with agriculture alone amounting to $42.6 billion of California’s revenue, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture. By itself, the state produces almost half of the entire country’s vegetables, fruits and nuts. Over 90 percent of all U.S. broccoli, almonds, pistachios, garlic, strawberries, kiwis, plums and grapes are grown in California. In addition, the mild weather and vast acres of farmland found in the state have made it possible to feed the country and parts of the world. The United States is extremely dependent upon California for fresh food.
California is now in the midst of a severe drought, which is threatening a large portion of the state’s agricultural economy. Already, 1.6 million acres is needed to water farms that have been lost because there is not enough to sustain the crops. To put it in perspective, the amount of water it takes to grow just a small amount of fruits and vegetables is astounding. One single head of broccoli takes 5.4 gallons of water to grow, and one single walnut requires almost 5 gallons. One head of lettuce takes 3.5 gallons to grow, and one tomato also requires almost three and a half gallons as well.
If the world had to exist without California, a large portion of the produce eaten by the United States and parts of the world would be lost. Slate Magazine writes that the American diet would be extremely expensive, and the main food would be grains. When the cost of fresh produce rises, people tend to cut back and buy more grains.
A recent report done by the University of California, shows that the food market will not be severely impacted just yet. Richard Howitt, one of the researchers, states that people will not notice a significant decrease in food availability nor a rise in market prices this year. California will continue to draw water from the ground in order to access more resources for agriculture, and California’s most important vegetable crops will still be available.
However, Howitt is unsure of the long-term sustainability of this plan. Although consumers may only experience a minor effect of the drought for their food this year, the drought has cost California an estimated total of $2.2 billion. Researches expect the drought to continue into next year, but the time that it will end is uncertain. It could be years, maybe even decades before people are relieved. If this drought continues, what will happen to families who need to buy affordable, fresh food to eat? Where would others who depend on the state, including the world, be without it? Only time will tell if the world will have to live without California.
By Joyce Chu