Drought shaming (California) : publicly denouncing someone, esp. a neighbor, for using excessive water or flouting conservation measures

Drought shaming might take place most visibly on social media (there’s a Twitter hashtag, #droughtshaming), but people will also call radio shows, confront one another in person. The practice has limitations, Kerry Cavanaugh notes in an LA Times opinion piece.

This looks to be a new word, coined during the current drought in California. There are few, if any, search results before 2014. Mashable reports that the term spread after a CBS story about neighbors calling the authorities on one another.

Reasons for the California drought are complex and include an increasing demand for water. Arguably, there is no drought, not looking at the long-term averages. The twentieth century, David Carle notes, was California’s “third or fourth wettest century of the past 4,000 years.”1

  1. Carle, David. Introduction to Water in California. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California P., 2004.