#DroughtShaming Coming to a Town Near You?

In a world where water has become scarce, people have taken matters into their own hands.

Sounds like the plot from Mad Max right? Well, hate to break it to you, but there is no Charlize Theron in this epic. Instead, other Hollywood stars have taken the leading roles in what is becoming one of the most visible public shaming campaigns in the West Coast's fight for water. Stuck in a severe multi-year drought, the California governor in early May announced stricter restrictions on non-essential water use in both the public and private sectors. They are trying to get each Californian to think about their consumption and do what they can to lessen the demand on the very minimal supply they have. Failure to comply with the new restrictions can and will result in fines. 

What has happened in the wake of these policy changes has surprised many in California and elsewhere. The public has taken to social media in a campaign of #DroughtShaming to call out people who are failing to do their part. Apps such as VizSafe and DroughtShamingApp are on the rise with new users everyday logging in to name and shame - taking the mantra of a post-9/11 world "if you see something, say something" to a completely the different level. 

Most posts on the apps and attached to the Twitter #droughtshaming are mobile phone shots of people watering their lawns, using ridiculous slip and slides and just indiscriminate uses of water outdoors. Posting people's names, addresses and other very personal details are getting people to actually feel shame. NPR interviewed a woman who was shamed for using her sprinkler system and when they talked to her she stated that she now very conspicuously can be seen hand watering her plants with a watering can to conserve. 

As the awareness of the problem becomes ever more present in California, some photographers are employing the help of drones to drought shame from the sky. Yep, the sky. And this is where the celebrities have become the focus of this campaign.

Over the past few weeks, images are surfacing of Eden-like green estates sprinkled throughout California, harshly juxtaposed with the dried out surrounding lands. Kim Kardashian and her beau Kanye have taken a lot of heat this week for their pristine greens. Barbra Streisand, Cher, Hugh Hefner and even Sean Penn have been shamed. 

With the drought seeing no end is sight, how will this water war end? Who knows, we may see Charlize clad in post-apocalyptic gear wielding an iPhone to shame some stars soon. 

MORAL OF THE STORY: Channeling their smart phone addictions for good, Californians are shaming excessive water use one lawn at a time. What's next? The #DroughtShamingSelfie?

Jesse Ayala

New York, New York, USA

Developing social good and value-adding products, Ayala seeks to enhance culture and behavior through experiences that address both macro- and micro-level problems. This mantra has led Ayala down an non-traditional career path, linking fashion, technology, performance art, media, education, community building, and design. Ayala has been honored by the Huffington Post and InStyle magazine for innovation and style in the digital new economy. Ayala is the co-founder and Creative Director of Modavanti.com.