On “water wars” rhetoric and policy options

This, by OtPR, on the why the “water wars” “fight or die” rhetoric in the midst of California drought is not only wrong but harmful:

This rhetoric narrows people’s perceived choices, keeps their limbic system activated and postpones mutual solutions.  Responsible reporters and editors should stop using it.

I have long thought the various possible roles of journalists maps nicely to Roger Pielke Jr.’s typology of possible roles for scientists in assisting in the policy process. I prefer for myself the role he characterizes in which a scientist engages in “an effort to expand (or at least clarify) the scope of choice for decision-making in a way that allows for the decision-maker to reduce choice based on his or her own preferences and values.” As OtPR correctly observes, “water wars” rhetoric in our work does not expand the range of political and policy choices. It narrows it.