|Tomatoes and Herbs on the Deck|
For the last six weeks, we have had no rain. We have been experiencing a drought. The grass outside is yellow and crunchy. The arbutus trees have been dropping their leaves. When I walk along the parched trails, I kick leaves underfoot as if it were autumn.
We live in a coastal rain forest, not the desert. So the rainfall was very welcome.
As a consequence of the drought, our area has water use restrictions. We can only water our yards and gardens for a few hours every second day. (Vegetable gardens are exempted.) We are asked not to use water to wash cars or to hose off driveways.
We have installed soaker hoses to water the shrubs. We don’t water the grass or use a sprinkler. We’ve used lawn clippings to mulch the gardens.
This is the third consecutive summer of drought in this area. Although I haven’t lived on Vancouver Island long, local people tell me that this weather pattern is atypical. The fire risk as at a high level and it is still only June.
The recent hot dry summers in this area are most likely a consequence of climate change. A recently released report on the changing climate said that Canada, especially the more northerly parts, can expect more degrees of warming than the world average, due to the climate crisis. One reason is that as the glacial ice and snow in the arctic and on the mountain tops melts and is not replenished, light from the sun will be absorbed rather than being reflected by the white snow. That will warm the land and air, causing the remaining glaciers to melt even faster.
The more I educate myself about climate change, the more worried I become. The consequences of rapid warming for human civilization, animals, and plants are dire.
But there are positive changes taking place too.
People are now talking about climate change. It is a topic in the media now, whereas for so many years the topic seemed to be avoided. Now our national broadcaster, CBC, regularly reports on climate related issues as well as solutions that individuals, communities, and various levels of government are implementing. Cities, and regional districts like mine, are developing policies and plans to reduce their carbon footprint and take action to mitigate climate change. For example, my regional district has been very proactive in developing a solid waste management approach that diverts waste from landfills. Each household recycles, sorting their household waste into compost (food and yard waste), paper products, recyclable plastics and metals, and garbage (for the landfill).
Since I last wrote about this topic, I have continued to look for additional ways to do my part to reduced my carbon footprint. Here is a list of new I initiatives I have taken in the last two months.
1. I met with my financial advisor and divested my retirement portfolio of fossil fuels. I replaced those mutual funds with funds that are investing in green technology.
2. Reduced beef/lamb in my diet to once a week.
3. Now do most of my grocery shopping at the nearest store (3 km.) to reduce driving, and if I am in the nearby city anyways, I mostly shop at a locally owned independent grocer that offers local produce, meat, and dairy products.
4. To reduce our water usage, we bought and installed more soaker hoses, we mulched the gardens, and we don’t flush the toilet overnight (ewwww).
5. I convinced my service club to offer a vegetarian alternative at the next community pancake breakfast. Now instead of pancakes and sausage, people can choose to have pancakes and fruit instead.
6. When I put away my winter clothes a few weeks ago and brought out my summer clothes, I realized I have way too many clothes. So I have implemented a shopping moratorium for myself. I will not buy any clothing, footwear, ore jewelry for myself until 2020.
I believe that as individuals make personal changes changes, we will make a difference and also inspire ourselves to change policies and practices at a broader social level.
On a totally different topic, I am heading off on an adventure with my daughter. In my next post, I’ll tell you all about it!