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Climate: Be Prepared

Posted 1/2/2008 10:11am by Leaf Myczack.

The Georgia Office of Climatology has forecasted that the current exceptional drought will continue through the Winter and Spring of 2008, which is bad news for all of us. We ended 2007 15 inches below the average rainfall total for the year. If you are concerned about having enough rainwater to grow a garden this coming year, then we encourage you to check out our webpage on rainwater collection workshops.

When I was going through my Boy Scout experience fifty years ago (I'm 62 now), we had the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" drummed into our heads by our ex-Marine scoutmaster. It is good advice that has seen me through all phases of my life, including a fifteen year stint as a RiverKeeper that had us making numerous wintertime crossings of the Gulf of Mexico in a small, hand-crafted sailing vessel that my wife and I designed and built. Preparedness kept us from being "lost at sea" and/ or drowning.

Today, it is apparent that the "normal" weather patterns have changed, and have now been replaced by climatic extremes that have thrown the natural and somewhat predictable cycles into disarray. Reactions to this fact have ranged from official denial to individual panic. We have witnessed the governors of Georgia and Alabama, two states being devasted by the current drought, proclaim a day of prayer in hopes of overcoming the lack of a comprehensive statewide water policy. We have witnessed others engaging in wishful thinking that somehow the "weather will return to normal", and thus end the crises. And still others have begun to stockpile bottled water as a survival mechanism. What all of these responses have in common is a failure to look at the big picture in a comprehensive manner.

If people want to pray for rain, or engage in wishful thinking, okay, but don't let that prevent anyone from also developing a legitimate plan and executing it in a timely manner. Summertime is not that far off, and if we wait until the earth is parched once again, it will be too late to "Be Prepared."

Preparedness must begin long before the event. Otherwise it is a reactive reflex instead of a plan, and while sometimes winging it can work out favorably, it would be foolish to adopt this approach in lieu of real planning. One could begin with a household or personal water needs / water allotment assessment. How much daily, weekly, monthly water do I need? How will I supply my daily, weekly. monthly water needs? What is my backup plan to meet this need if my primary source should prove unreliable? How can a change in my behavior and / or conservation play a role in meeting my water needs?

These are basic questions to help you get started in being prepared for an event that is unfolding now-and that is the continuing drought. We have been asking these questions for over twenty years, and have arrived at some effective answers for our own situation. As we learn to tweak and update our plan of action, we are also ready to pass this information on to you in the form of workshops and seminars so that you don't have to re-invent the wheel and waste precious time. We are getting prepared, are you?