Going to the Mattresses with the Texas Drought

from Wildlife Promise

US drought map

US Drought Map

After almost 70 days of 100 degree temperatures in North Texas (we still have a chance throughout September to reach those high marks yet again) it’s time for me and the family to go to the mattresses!  Texas drought you better watch out!  We may be down for the count but we’re a strong state and we will win this war!
According to NCDC and NOAA, Texas has experienced the driest 12 month period on record and the entire state is at some level of drought with 81.1 percent falling into the exceptional category.
Living in Texas one expects to experience their fair share of 100 degree days, but this year’s drought  has not only hit agriculture exceptionally hard, it has caused strife for its residents and threatened our states flora and fauna.
According to Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists say this summer’s drought has led to a record $5.2billion in agricultural loses.
August is typically the hottest month for Texas but with temperatures so high for several months and precipitation so sparse many ecosystems have been severely affected.  In Grapevine, Texas the heat wave contributed to the death of 124,000 fish.  Texas is home to many threatened and endangered species, such as the San Marco Gambusia and the Texas blind salamander.   If conditions do not improve state officials will soon be looking to relocate species to safer environments until they are out of danger from this extreme weather event.
Residents have also been hit hard by this summer’s heat wave.   With increased energy and water consumption comes higher utility bills which is putting a strain on everyone’s pocket book and so both municipalities and residents are looking for solutions.
The city of Arlington has requested its residents to reduce energy consumption during peak hours, 3-7 pm and due to the incredible lack of precipitation the city has placed us on Stage 1 Drought Restrictions.

Hammonds' Water Conserving Flusher

The Hammonds' Family Clothesline

Solutions our family has implemented at home to conserve natural resources and our cash flow include, using a clothes line (clothes have never dried faster then when they’re in 100 degree + temperatures), installing dual flush toilets, raising the thermostat to 80 degrees during the day, and using energy efficient fans.

After looking at city solutions and personal solutions I asked myself, “Self, what can the  Eco-Schools USA program provide?”  Well how about solutions for schools that will increase awareness and find solutions to the school’s natural resource needs.
Did you know schools are one of the biggest if not the biggest consumers of energy within a municipality.
Students could utilize the Seven Step Framework and our energy and water pathways to audit, plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate an  initiative that could potentially save their school hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

So even though the South is suffering one of the worst droughts on record all members of the community – the city, residents, and schools can go to the mattresses and work to raise awareness and conserve our natural resources and win this war against the Texas Drought of 2011.
Every change no matter big or small impacts us all, today, tomorrow, forever.