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October 13, 2009 – October has been a mixed bag, thus far, though a few more of those bright, blue-sky days that serve as a backdrop to the colors of the changing leaves wouldn’t hurt at all. The weekend was sunny and brisk, perfect for working outside. I observed some interesting things while gardening that I thought I would share.

First, and not at all amazingly, the chickadees are steady, noisy customers at the sunflower buffet. I think they’re helping themselves to Echinacea seeds, too. A bit more surprising, perhaps, is the plenteousness of bird activity I’m seeing. All the birds seem to have a lot to say these days; it’s a very songful bunch I have in the backyard. The continuing abundance of rain coupled with warm nighttime temperatures is causing some flowers to re-bloom. Hydrangea, gazania and hibiscus are the three stand-outs in my yard. My floribunda rose, Distant Drums, continues to wend its gorgeous way through the year.

My most startling observation was – a grasshopper! I haven’t seen one in

years, and had assumed we’d managed to kill them off with conventional

farming practices. Are these pesticide-resistant grasshoppers? Time will tell. Finally, I found ladybugs on a few of my plants. It’s certainly late to be seeing the first of the season, but that’s what these were. The conclusion I draw from these few, scattered observations is that 2009 is still off-schedule, as it has been right from the start.

Glacier melt continues to be THE global warming story of 2009. All glaciers are melting faster than predicted just a few years ago. Accelerated glacier melt in the Himalayas could well spell disaster for those Chinese people dependent upon the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, which rely upon those glaciers for their water supply. Permanent glacier melt in the Andes mountains in South America promises to leave those living in the adjacent valleys without a source of water. Indeed, Lima, Peru, a city located in the Andes, faces a similar future. Water originating in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California is all spoken for, and then some – so much so that hard choices between adequate water supply for city dwellers and sufficient water for the irrigation needs of farmers are having to be made. So far, the city dwellers are winning. (The above information was drawn from Lester Brown’s book Plan B 4.0, pp. 66-68.)

These examples are the merest tip of the – glacier? Hard choices, heartbreaking choices will, in some cases, necessitate decisions whose ramifications are unacceptable to millions of people. Decisions which are made in the interests of the greatest good for the largest number of people could well spawn political and governmental chaos. The nearest and best road to well-thought-out alternatives to the status quo is to begin the decision making now. Governments will need to begin the discussion

at the local level, with the direct participation of those citizens most likely to be directly affected. The careful reasoning employed to discover the most beneficial outcomes must not only be expressed in easy-to-understand language, it must be written down, so that future generations will know not only what, but why.

Let’s get started!

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