It was all over the news yesterday: July 2012 was recorded as the warmest July on record.
Not only that, but July broke the record books again, as the hottest recorded month overall for the lower 48 states since modern record-keeping began in 1895, according to the Huffington Post. Before this past July, the record holder was the Dust-Bowl-era month of July 1936.
As I traveled through Michigan this past weekend, it looked more like a desert than farmland, as the grass was completely scorched and brown. Some states in the nation’s prime cropland — Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri — had precipitation totals among the 10 lowest on record for the year so far. The heat and dryness created perfect conditions for wildfires, as we saw in Colorado and much of the West.
Not only are these temperatures annoying to us, but the livelihood of crops, animals and jobs hang in the balance as the temperature continues to rise and stay that way.
The lack of rain affects the growth of plants; the lack of bees because of colony collapse affects pollination; the death of produce in the field means farmers don’t reap the benefits of their crops; prices skyrocket for foods in the store and at the markets, to make ends meet. It is a slippery slope.
I know what you are thinking: What can I do to help? Here are some of my ideas:
- Read up on green living.
- Find green living websites you love to adapt their tips to your lifestyle and to keep informed on green living. My favorite is TreeHugger.
- Try using your kitchen pantry for beauty products to save on packaging, and maybe decrease demand.
- Swap and upcycle items when you can. There are many resources for this: Freecycle, Craigslist, a local gift circle (through Transition York) and a Free Store at the end of each month in downtown York. You also can go to the local thrift stores and ReSource York.
- Try to reduce and reuse in your kitchen.
- Experiment with going trash-free.
- While you are at it, try the No Impact Project for one week. (This goes hand-in-hand with Colin Beavan’s book.)
What are some ways you have greened your life to make less of an impact on the environment? What are some ways you use to stay cool in the summer heat?