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2015: The Heat Is On

December 29, 2015
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Globally, 2015 has been the warmest year on record. Places that used to get a lot of rain are far below average. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, for instance, the monsoon has filled the reservoirs for only 20%. The drought in California is also still going strong, but Britain is experiencing record floods; same in India and large parts of South America. The polar ice caps are melting at a record clip and Greenland’s ice cover is only half what it used to be.

Drought_Sao_Paulo
Cantareira reservoir, Sao Paulo (Forbes)
Floods-india
India: worst floods in 100 years

It is none too soon, then, that the 190 nations participating in the 21st UN climate conference in Paris have agreed to keep the global rise in temperature under 2º C, and preferrably 1.5. Before the agreement is ratified by all participant, however, you are likely to see a substantial rise in the price of coffee, tea and cocoa because of the shift of the seasons in growing countries such as Kenya. The agreement was made possible by a pledge of funds from the industrialized countries to the developing countries to improve their infrastructure.

Locally, the average rainfall for Tucson was 2.3″ above average, and the temperature was 3.0º F above average, which made it the warmest year in 68 years. But then, unlike the polar caps, we can take a little more heat. If you’re interested in more weather stats, you can find them at the Western Regional Climate Center.

Now back to the nitty gritty:

Tucson residents can recycle their Christmas trees through the City of Tucson’s TreeCycle Program, which continues through January 12. TreeCycle collection sites are located throughout Tucson and Oro Valley.

The University of Arizona Compost Cats will also collect Christmas trees at the San Xavier Cooperative farm through January 31st, Mon-Fri 8-5. 8100 Oidak Wog, Tucson, AZ 85746. If you have any questions, feel free to email compostcats@gmail.com

Please remember to remove all ornaments, lights and other non-tree items!

If you want to recycle those, or anything else that is not suitable for curb-side pickup, you can find out where to go at Tucson Clean & Beautiful’s comprehensive Recycling Directory at tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org.

Talking about trees: Trees absorb carbon dioxide and the eminent, if controversial scientist Freeman Dyson has estimated that a trillion trees would cleanse the artmosphere of carbon.

At the time is was thought that there were only 400 billion trees in the world, but a recent global tree count came to a little over 3 trillion. And even that appears not to be enough by far. So one good new year’s resolution would be to check out the tree planting program run by Tucson Clean and Beautiful in partnership with TEP.

Lastly, 2016 marks the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary; more about the various ways this is celebrated can be found at NPS’s Centennial page.

Please post comments and suggestions on the Weekly Green Facebook page.

Have a happy and sustainable New Year!

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