Posts Tagged "Droughts"

It’s Raining in California

Posted by on Dec 2, 2012

California residents love to complain about the weather. When my daughter went to college in Santa Cruz, she found that the least bit of drizzle would inspire a chorus of whining about the weather. Growing up in New England, she just didn’t get it. Northern California residents may be more justified in their complaints this time. Over the past five days, two major storm systems have dumped more than 12 inches of rain in the Shasta Lake area and west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and a third storm is on the way. There has been flooding of the Napa and Russian Rivers, and several...

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Fundamentals of Resilient Design #10: Local and Regional Food Systems

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012

In this final installment of my ten-part series on the fundamentals of resilient design, I’m taking a look at where our food comes from and how we can achieve more resilient food systems. The average salad in the U.S. is transported roughly 1,400 miles from farm to table, and here in the Northeast, we get a significant portion of our food from farms and processors that are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away. Even in Iowa, where 95% of the land area is in agricultural production, one is hard-pressed to buy locally grown products except on a limited basis, such as at farmers’...

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Fundamentals of Resilient Design #8: Water in a Drought-Prone Era

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

Periodic drought is something that a significant portion of the U.S. will have to get used to in the coming decades. Climate scientists tell us that while precipitation will increase overall with climate change, certain regions, including the American West, will see increased frequency of drought. I certainly saw that last year, when I spent six weeks bicycling through the Southwest, from San Diego to Houston. Most of the 1,900 miles I covered had seen barely a drop of rain since the previous fall. Statewide, Texas had an average of just 15 inches of rain in 2011—barely half of the typical...

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New York City’s (Lack of) Resilience

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012

There’s a great article in today’s New York Times, “New York is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise.” In a nutshell, with 520 miles of shoreline, New York City is highly vulnerable to rising sea level and storm surges, and the City isn’t doing enough to address its vulnerabilities. The City is already working to expand protective wetlands, install green roofs to limit runoff, encourage property owners to elevate mechanical equipment, and elevate subway ventilation grates (see photo). I was actually involved in the City’s Green Codes Task Force a couple years ago to address such...

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Fundamentals of Resilient Design #1: Making the Case

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012

I thought a lot about resilience last year, during a six-week sabbatical bike ride through the Southwest. I covered a little over 1,900 miles, most of it over land that hadn’t seen a drop of rain since the previous fall; some of those areas—mostly in Texas—still hadn't received significant precipitation months after my return home.

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