December 01, 2015
As I finish off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers and say goodbye to the remaining houseguests, I realize (as I do —with a jolt—every year) that the holiday season has only just begun; there are more houseguests, more leftovers, and much gift-giving soon to come. The very instant that Thanksgiving is over (actually, maybe even BEFORE Thanksgiving is over), the mad rush to buy gifts begins. Black Friday. Cyber-Monday. And then December is upon us, and it seems to flash by in an instant. The holidays are rushing towards us, and there is so much to do to get ready. And we want to give good gifts to the people we love. That long-awaited toy, that special handmade sweater, that I’m-still-not-sure-what-to-get-for-my-father-in-law gift.
Certainly, it is a season for giving.
November 01, 2015
November 11, 1918.
On November 11 of 1918, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice went into effect, a cessation of hostilities between the Allied Nations and Germany, ending the “war to end all wars.” The official end of World War I would not be declared for seven more months, at the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but the end actually came on that November day, when the truce was signed, the opposing forces laid down their weapons, and the war known as the “Great War” was over.
October 01, 2015
Could you go a day without water? No water to drink or make coffee. No water to shower, brush your teeth, flush the toilet, or do laundry. Firefighters couldn't put out fires and farmers couldn't water their crops.
We know that water is essential. That’s why we want you to know about a nationwide educational effort called “Imagine a Day Without Water.” On October 6 – 8, the Value of Water Coalition is coordinating a national advocacy and educational event, Imagine a Day Without Water, to raise awareness about the most essential resource we have: Water. Across the country, water agencies, mayors, engineers, contractors, business leaders, community members, schools, organizations, corporations, environmental advocates, and more are joining together to educate people about how water is essential, the challenges facing water and wastewater systems, and the need for investment.
Even though water is absolutely vital to everything we do, it too often is forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind. Many people take water service for granted. Clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water comes out of the tap and flows down the drain without a second thought. But the massive infrastructure, much of it underground, which brings water to homes and businesses, takes it away, and treats it, is aging. A water main breaks somewhere in the U.S. every two minutes. Most pipes have an average life expectancy of 50 years, but in many major cities, water pipes are more than 100 years old. Communities cannot afford to go a day without water if those systems reach their breaking points.
What is the message of Imagine a Day without Water? Keep reading . . .
September 01, 2015
September has arrived, and autumn is well on its way. As the summer heat begins to fade, and the first hints of red and gold begin to appear, it’s a great time to relax and enjoy the mild weather. Next Monday, September 7, is Labor Day (US) or Labour Day (Canada), a day which honors the achievements of our workforce —a "yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our countr[ies].” (http://www.dol.gov/laborday/history.htm) So, take a break, rest from your labor, and enjoy the respite.
Then, after your rest, take advantage of this time to plan ahead. September is an easy-going month, a month when Nature takes a break from anything extreme, and gives us sunshine and cool breezes. That makes this “calm” the perfect time to prepare for any “storms” which might be ahead. September is even considered “National Preparedness Month” in the US, a month to get ready, to get prepared for harsher weather and conditions that will be coming.
So, use this September to make sure that you —and your home— are ready.
August 01, 2015
Yes, it’s true. The creature that kills more human beings than any other on the face of the earth is summer’s most common pest. The blood-sucking fiends that plague your backyard barbecue are more than just a nuisance —they are dangerous. The humble mosquito is responsible for 725,000 deaths a year (600,000 of those are from the transmission of malaria). Sharks, who get such bad press that there is a whole week devoted to “Sharks are scary” TV programming (wasn’t Shark Week just a couple of weeks ago?)
So, how much do you know about Mosquitos, and, more importantly, how can you keep them away?
July 01, 2015
Water is foundational for life. We can’t live without it. Literally!
Indeed, the more of it we drink, the healthier we get. Why then do so many of us find ourselves drinking significantly less water than we should? Studies show that men should be drinking around 3 liters (13 cups) of fluids each day and women need about 2.2 liters (9 cups). If you’re not drinking nearly that much, read on for “Why" and “How” to drink more water...
June 01, 2015
It’s finally here. The sun is shining, the bees are buzzing, the kids are . . . well . . . out of school. They are out of school, but have not yet uttered the dread words, “I’m bored.” Ahhh. June, when summer is fresh and new and exciting. For students and schoolteachers (and anyone else who gets a nice long summer break), “June” sounds a lot like “Woohoo!”
For everyone who does not get a nice long summer break, here’s hoping that you’ve got some vacation days coming. Or you can take advantage of these looooooong summer days, and enjoy the glory of the great outdoors when your day’s work is ended. Because there is beauty waiting to be beheld! There is fun waiting to be had! There are fish waiting to be caught! (Actually, the fish are probably not waiting for that :)
May 04, 2015
Summer is almost upon us…temperatures are slowly rising throughout North America. Depending on where on this vast continent you reside, your summer might range from hot and dry (filled with watering restrictions and a fading green lawn) all the way to a tropical humidity and daily afternoon showers. And every imaginable scenario in between.
But we all have one thing in common. Water is essential to survival. No matter where you live, and really, no matter what the season. Without fresh water you will die in just a few days. Plain and simple, no sugar coating, and this single fact helps drive the point home: water equals life.
April 01, 2015
As we say “Goodbye” to March and a warm “Hello” to April, we welcome Spring in all its glory. And it IS glorious: the profusion of brightly hued blooms, the warm days and pleasant nights, the cool breezes and trill of bird-songs. Spring infuses the world with color. It reminds me of the moment when Dorothy opens the door of her sepia-toned, monochromatic home and steps into the lush, vibrant, Technicolor world of Oz for the first time. I feel like Dorothy when I walk out my front door and see a world reborn: trees that seemed dry and lifeless are green and budding, bulbs that had been lying dormant have raised their faces to the sun. Songbirds greet me every morning and the sun lingers a little longer every night.
See what I mean? Glorious.