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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day, sort of...

Happy Earth Day!

It's been a temperate spring day and I just took a stroll through the drought and storm battered Memorial Park. Depending on who you talk to, the park (one of the largest in the U.S.) has lost 10,000 or 40,000 trees. On Arbor Day, volunteers planted 25,000, but drought conditions are due to return this summer and may be even worse. The Memorial Park Conservancy seems to be strapped for cash, though I'm told that the board isn't terribly proactive and didn't act to retard the effects of last year's drought. I haven't found anything online to support that, but my source is pretty reliable.

That said, I hope that the city rallies to help the park out for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to preserve a recreational resource, but also for the benefit of everyone's health. The preservation of green space in and of itself is laudable, but less trees and more open space means more heat trapping pollution, increased particulate matter in the air, a higher heat index (and in Houston, that's just plain hell on earth), greater strain on the grid and all of these come together to bake a sizable population.

Not everything is bleak, or at least not completely: Trees for Houston stepped up to the plate and I think there's increasing support for making the city more pedestrian and bike friendly. Of course, the biggest issue is that Houston's mass transit usage is deplorable. People here are practically threatened by the idea of not using their car.

I hope that this finds you all well in your respective geographical regions and that environmental awareness spreads accordingly. Then we could have truly happy Earth Days!

Yesterday brought a serious downpour that washed out some of the trails in the park. I was on my way back to sis's when it started to come down. After a couple of hours, I sucked it up and went for a stroll. I tried to walked between the drops, but wasn't too successful.

The rains let up for a while, and then resumed. I meditated in the deepening dark.
Today, I saw the effects of both the wash out and trees that have been removed from Memorial:

The ground is still as sere as it was last summer and with the trees cleared away, you can see through to trails that weren't visible before.


Because I don't want to end on too much of a gloomy note and bearing in mind that is, after all, supposed to be a day to celebrate Mother Earth, here are some flowers, both reminders of joy to be preserved and a caution of what can be lost.


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