Saturday, June 04, 2016

It Seems Like Forever Since I Posted A Personal Note Here...

...so it's long-overdue.

I try to forward as much positive news on the environmental front here as I can. This blog has really been a place for me to aggregate news from around the web on environmental issues. I'm a hobby-blogger, not a full-blown (pardon the pun) journalist. I don't make my living by digging up environmental stories about the Great Lakes region. (I think that would be a very valuable information set to have publicly reported, but I doubt our society will truly pay someone to do that.)

So it is that I have to find what I can, as I have the time. You see, while I have to do other work to pay the bills and keep clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, and food in my belly, I also know that Climate Change is by far the biggest threat facing Humanity, even if it's happening on a pace and scale too slow for us to really grasp viscerally. So I spend what time I can throwing this together, in the hopes that it helps in some way.

Meanwhile, I've moved with my wife from Illinois to California, in order to be near our young granddaughters who are among those who will inherit what we leave behind.

As you can see, I've tweaked the blog header today, I hope you like the new version. It's an ameteur, patchwork cartoon, full of borrowed and home-brewed things, just like this blog.

And as I write this, local and State fire crews are battling a brush fire in the low Santa Ana mountains not seven miles from where I live. You can find out about it here: http://www.rvcfire.org/_Layouts/Incident%20Information/IncidentInfoDetail.aspx?2649#.V1Mygt5jJ28.facebook , and here: https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/temeculafire? .

My wife and I were driving South to get breakfast at a little mom-n-pop restaurant that we like at the South end of town, but we had to turn around and pick somewhere else because traffic was just about stopped, probably because the interchange to I-15 was closed, as well as the intersate highway itself on that end of town. Here are some pictures of the fire as seen from five miles away:





This is just one little brush fire in the midst of many the State faces, along with an on-going drought that leaves California reservoirs and lakes dangerously depleted. I personally have driven through a couple of hundred miles of dead and dying pistachio and almond groves, in California's central valley. It is frightening to see, especially when the reservoir I drove past right after that run was obviously down by 50-60 feet. It looked like rings around a giant and draining bathtub.

There is a huge political fight now in California over whter or not to divert monies set aside for high-speed rail projects into new water infrastructure, such as storage and desalination. Despite my support - which still stands - for high-speed rail as a potential giant boost for the economy here, I have to agree with the folk on the side of water. Without water, we won't have much of an economy. 

You see, climate change isn't something that's going to just impact out great-grandchildren. It's already impacting US.

My wife and I have done a lot of drought-friendly landscaping since we moved here, and our water use is down to sensible and acceptable per-the-rules levels. We have the front yard to where it survives on five minutes of irrigation per week in the height of Summer, and no artificial irrigation at all in cool, moist months most of the rest of the country call Autumn, Winter, and Spring. 

The bio-swale (river bed) is functional, and captures rainwater and condensate from half the house roof.
Still, most of our neighbors have green lawns that are NOT plastic. (Artificial turf is done a fair amount here.) Grass turf has a lot of run-off when you irrigate it. The stuff will run down the gutters and into storm drains at all times of day or night. That water isn't reclaimmed, it goes into the wash they call a creek here, and if there's aenough, it goes out to sea. So does most of the rainwater from storms. Most roof gutters here run into drains that go straight out to the street gutters and down those same storm drains. Precious little rainwater gets filtered and fed back into reservoirs and aquifers. It is utterly ridiculous in the face of such severe drought, but again the infrastructure funding isn't there to support capturing it. 

Yet companies like Nestle and the Frackers can pump water out of aquifers to the tune of millions and millions of gallons for bottling water and fracking wells...sad.

So...I try to find hopeful stories wherever I can to post here. As you can see if you've read this blog much, there ARE stories of hope and progress to be found. The ones that are lacking tend to be the ones about true global consensus, corporations truly helping in great and meaningful ways, and major political policy along these lines making real sense or progress.

I'll keep looking for them, though...even throuh the smoke.

Breathe on,

Dan
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