Earth. Water. Air. Space. Discover a new appreciation for the natural world.
Enjoying the Backyard Environment During COVID-19 Pandemic
The deadly Covid-19 virus has most everyone staying home for social distancing to flatten the curve. Many national and state parks are closed, beaches are closed, and some states have stay-at-home orders.
The situation is stressful for the healthy--even more so for those who are sick, or have loved ones who are sick. And especially for those who have lost someone.
If you have a yard or a patio, try watching the backyard birds, lizards, squirrels, and other neighborhood critters. (Just be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from the neighbors). Enjoy the fresh air. Look up at the clouds.
Since I live in Florida, where there's active Zika Virus transmission, I've tried to pay attention to the news on this disease. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of Zika, but being a cautious Virgo, I want to know what I'm up against. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a special Zika Virus section on their website. Yes, the active transmission area, in Miami-Dade County, is 6 hours south of my home. But somehow the virus ended up there--so how can I be certain the mosquitoes that carry it won't migrate this way? How dangerous is Zika? The news makes it sound like Zika is no big deal unless your pregnant or wanting to become pregnant. For pregnant women , Zika's effects are tragic, resulting in microcephaly and other severe brain defects. With microcephaly , a baby's head is much smaller than normal because the brain stopped growing before or after birth. These children may endure a lifetime of problems including seizures, develo
Hurricane season started on June 1, but the real activity usually comes around this time of year--late August through September. Right now, Florida is getting soaked while awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Hermine . We see the devastation these storms create for people, pets, livestock and property. But how do birds, wildlife, and other aspects of the environment fare? I've always wondered and worried about the animals that get no warning of what's to come. It turns out, the impact to the natural environment severe. Extra nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from leaves and vegetation stripped by high winds and washed into receiving streams can lower oxygen levels as the debris decomposes. Low oxygen, called hypoxia, is the most common cause of fish kills after hurricanes according to HurricaneScience.org . Also, salinity changes as saltwater is pushed inward during a tidal surge--or as fresh water flows outward from flooding, can cause aquatic critters to relocate or die
Do you try to conserve water at your house or business? Is your bill too high--or are you concerned about this critical resource? Your meter may be able to help you! Many of today's water utilities have either replaced their old meters with new smart meters , or are on track to do so. Not only are newer meters more accurate--"smart" meters are capable of making a continuous record of water usage throughout each 24-hour day. They also transmit water use data to the utility, using radio signals and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Smart meters allow the utility to monitor for leaks, pressure problems, and other issues in the system. Leak monitoring saves water and improves revenue to pay for system operation and maintenance. But finding leaks can also save homeowners and businesses money, and prevent property damage if the leak is on the customer's side of the meter. Perhaps one of the best advantages of smart metering is the customer interface. Most s