Happy first birthday, Living Green!

October 10, 2023

Can you believe that this column, Living Green, has been running for a full year? Time flies, as they say, when you’re having fun, and it remains both extremely fun and an immense privilege to be able to talk with you, the Coast News readers, about the most important issues facing humanity today.

If you’d asked me as a kid, or even a young adult, I would never have imagined I’d have a regular column in my local newspaper to discuss such critical environmental topics, and to share practical tips that people and businesses can implement to protect our planet. It’s quite the milestone for me, and I hope the reading has been informative and thought-provoking for you.

Looking back over the past 12 months, I can see that we’ve covered a fair bit of ground. Living Green started by talking about water, the world’s most precious resource. I argued then that we need a revolution in the way that we think about water use: embracing a holistic approach to water use, including the use of technology and landscaping to minimize water wastage.

Living Green also discussed the sometimes controversial issue of recycled water use, notably for potable drinking water. It’s happening more and more often for irrigation purposes, and it makes sense to take that a step further, for our own benefit as well as for the good of the environment.

At the end of winter, I talked about the reasons why that season’s heavy rains weren’t the answer to our water shortage needs; in fact, much water is wasted when it falls in the form of deluges. If those weather events are likely to be more frequent, we need the infrastructure and approach in place to capture and use that water more efficiently.

Later in the year we looked in more detail at the benefits of smart irrigation, which uses smart controllers to determine how best to utilize water and labor to keep plants and lawns growing and healthy, while conserving the resources that enable our beautiful landscapes.

It wasn’t all about water, though. We also looked at the pros and cons of real grass versus synthetic turf, and we offered up some helpful tips for recycling organic waste. For the festive season, Living Green provided a guide to sustainable gifting, as well as some suggested green resolutions for the new year. We continued the environmental pledge theme for Earth Month in April.

We peeked behind the curtain to discover just what goes into preparing our parks for the heavy-use summer months, and we looked at the new proposals to reduce heat in schools through providing more shade trees and replacing heat holding surfaces, and how they can be of benefit to children and local communities.

We rounded off our first 12 months with a focus on the wild and dangerous weather incidents that characterized this summer, and suggested that we now need to be prepared for wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events at any time of the year. I suggested – and continue to suggest – that we should make our elected representatives aware of our strong feelings about the climate crisis, and urge action on reducing its impact.

So that was the first year of Living Green. Thank you for this opportunity, The Coast News Group! I’m looking forward to contributing many more articles that put a spotlight on the importance of our environment and of sustainable practices.

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