Those who have heard me speak before may recognize the following statistic from some of my recent talks: 43% of the 920 greenhouse growers in the state of Georgia are no longer in business. Pike’s Nursery, who had long defined retail lawn & garden activity in the Atlanta metro market also suffered the same fate. This, of course, came in the wake of [what I thought] was one of the most severe droughts (2005-2007) the Southeast has faced in a while. Knowing all of this made the recent blurb in the newsletter for the newly branded Southeast Color Connection even more interesting:
We might have all thought they were the worst conditions possible, but according to researchers at Columbia University, the drought that gripped the Southeast from 2005 to 2007 was not unprecedented and resulted from random weather events, not global warming.
The published report (click here) examined population trends, data from weather instruments, computer models, and measurements of tree rings, concluding that the drought was “pretty normal and pretty typical by standards of what has happened in the region over the century,” said Richard Seager, a climate expert at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Census figures show that in Georgia alone the population rose to 9.54 million in 2007 from 6.48 million in 1990, and Douglas LeComte, a drought specialist at the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service said the new report “makes sense.” Although Weather Service records suggest the 2005-07 drought was the worst in the region since the 1950s, LeComte said. “We have had worse droughts before. I am not going to criticize any governments for what they did or did not do,” he added. “But if you have more people and the same amount of water storage, you are going to increase the impact of droughts.”
Not good news for those of us hoping this drought was a freak occurrence or something that could be prevented, but it is a good reminder that times are changing…industry professionals alike should be prepared for the next drought with internal water conservation measures, drought-tolerant product offerings, and customer education literature.
“Water is the next oil”most pundits are saying today. Without a doubt, preserving and conserving our most important natural resource is imperative for green industry firms today. That’s why we developed the recent webinar series on water quality, conservation, and management. We had a lot of folks join us for that series, but if you happened to miss them, you can listen online at the Ellison Chair website (click here).
If water is the next oil it will probably be because it is being controlled by special interest/economic groups for power and money. Why are bottled water and soft drink companies allowed to continue taking a natural resource that should belong to everyone (Hint: money)? Each household should be allowed to collect enough water for their personal use each time it rains.