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
I've let this blog languish with the usual excuses--too busy, too distracted, too many other priorities. But a recent 60 Minutes segment on Joel Sartore inspired me to bring Environment Discovery back to life. Egret at Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL Photo by Donna Kaluzniak Sartore is a National Geographic photographer, though I'm most familiar with him through several online photography courses I took. (He's a great instructor, too, and just a very nice guy). He's also the founder of the Photo Ark , a 25-year project to document every species in captivity. The Photo Ark's goal is to get people to care that half of all the species in the world could vanish by the turn of the next century. The portraits are made with clean black or white backgrounds, allowing us to look into the animals' eyes, to see their intelligence and beauty. Over 12,000 animals are in captivity, and Sartore has taken portraits of over 8,000 during the last 12 years. In the p
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