Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How To Adapt to Climate Change


Banning leafblowers (and other urban landscaping machinery using engines or motors) is a great way to practice the kind of changes we need to grapple with - and soon - if we are to make any headway at all against our runaway production of greenhouse gases.  
This measure offers everyone an opportunity to practice adapting to the planet (rather than adapting the planet to our temporary fossil-fuel lifestyles) and to really grapple with wise changes in technology, without any hazard to survival or real comfort.
Specifically, phasing in such a ban in one year would bring about sensible, wide-spread, nuts-and-bolts attention to the reality of actually adapting and changing. If those who employ landscaping services would simply continue, for a year, their existing monthly payment for service, that would give all landscapers time to prepare for using strictly manual tools after this transitional year.
And those who maintain their own property with such machinery should also prepare for change, for example by replacing lawns with low-maintenance or nutritious plantings.
At the beginning of this transition year, landscapers and their customers would need to have a conversation about how best to utilize the same amount of work time as before, except with manual tools, whether traditional or new and improved.
During this year, landscapers and do-it-yourselfers should be offered workshops or even apprenticeships on how to truly garden, in ways that are best for the plants themselves. Urban farming is another excellent workshop topic for our climate-change era. Organizing and offering education about real alternatives is an opportunity for sustainable investment in meaningful behavior change.
In general, current mow-and-blow landscapers seem to think their job description is just to run a bunch of machines around, rather than to nurture and attend to plants; thus there is great potential for learning sustainable skills.
Moreover, this process would increase comfort by reducing noise pollution (the orphan form of air pollution) and replacing fossil-fuel engines and motors with healthy exercise.
The key advantages of this change are that it needn’t cause any job loss nor increased financial costs for property owners.
While front yards and neighborhoods might not look exactly the same as before such a ban, any such changes could easily increase our actual comfort and enjoyment of life.
This baby-step challenge is a great opportunity for people to begin to adapt now, while it’s easy, and in a way that brings no real threat and mistakes won’t be dangerous. If we can't even manage this, though, real and increasingly catastrophic changes will overwhelm our hopeful and myopic plans. 

In the movies you hear a lot about the American pioneer spirit and how we can persevere through adversity, but if we can't even manage to garden without fossil fuels, we won't have a prayer when things really start to get hot.

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