SOU's lawns waste water
SOU, the biggest consumer of water in the city, covers its extensive grounds with grass, an exotic which requires extensive watering, for the classic Northeast collegiate look; but this is a xeric (arid) environment.
They are seen watering at mid-day, when as much as 90 percent of the water is lost to evaporation. Watering at night would preserve much of the water used. Excess water is often seen running down the gutters, soaking the sidewalks, and flowing alongside streets; and many fixtures are broken. Saturated soil runoff soaks under the boulevard and inundates the basements on the other side of the street.
Money spent on irrigating would be better spent on the many underfunded SOU programs. I suggest the university change the campus landscaping, eliminating grass and replacing it with drought-tolerant native plants or non-plant decorative landscaping. Meanwhile, watering should be changed immediately to drought-condition practices.
Xeriscaping SOU's campus could make it a leader in sustainable landscaping, something to make it different and excellent in its own way, and could draw the interest of students interested in landscape-appropriate, low-water-use design. It would be an example and inspiration for the whole community.
James di Properzio
Assessing the risks of climate change
According to legend, William Tell escaped execution by aiming a crossbow at an apple on his son's head. Few of us would wish to emulate that feat in order to escape a tragic end. Life is a constant exercise in risk assessment; for William Tell, the risk was worth it since the alternative was certain death.
With climate change we are also playing a serious game of risk. The science tells us that if we continue business as usual, meaning pumping ever more carbon dioxide and methane into our air, we will impose on future generations a planet that cannot support the natural ecosystems, agriculture, forestry, or fisheries that we currently enjoy.
While we are certainly already feeling the effects of climate change and are suffering billions of dollars in costs, the penalty for our failure to address this challenge will be more severe for our children and grandchildren. The challenge for us is to decide what we are prepared to do to minimize the risk and solve the problem.
Neither denying the clear patterns we can see around us every day, nor denying science, will help us achieve a solution. We must act, and elect representatives who will act.
Beware of strangers on Greenway, women
Around 3:30 p.m. on June 5, I was accosted by a young, well-dressed Hispanic man while walking my dog on the Bear Creek Greenway near the Ashland Dog Park. He passed me on his bike, dismounted and bent over like he was ill. When I passed him and asked if he was OK, he said, "I'm fine."
Minutes later he rode up to me, stopped and asked about my dog, saying he had a black lab puppy named Chiquita. I walked on; he passed me. He returned again, started to speak, said, "never mind," and rode on. He quickly returned and said, " I don't usually do this but you look really fit for your age. How old are you? You have a really nice bottom."
I took off running with my dog, he rode away in the opposite direction. I was left feeling creepy and scared and sure he'll do this again and maybe worse. Be careful out there, women, and if this happens to you, report it to the police; I did.