Friday, March 30, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

In 2007, WWF-Australia inspired Sydney-siders to show their support for climate change action in the first ever Earth Hour event. It showed that everyone, from children to CEOs and politicians, has the power to change the world they live in. In Sydney, Australia, 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour to take a stand against climate change.

In 2008, the plan was to take Earth Hour to the rest of Australia. But then the City of Toronto, Canada, signed up and it wasn’t long before 35 countries and almost 400 cities and towns were part of the event. It said something compelling to the world: that the climate challenges facing our planet are so significant that change needs to be global.

With the invitation to ‘switch off’ extended to everyone, Earth Hour quickly became an annual global event. It’s scheduled on the last Saturday of every March – closely coinciding with the equinox to ensure most cities are in darkness as it rolled out around the Earth.
In 2011, Earth Hour saw hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries switch off for an hour. But it also marked the start of something new – going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action on climate change. And with the power of social networks behind the Earth Hour message, we hope to attract even more participation so we can build a truly global community committed to creating a more sustainable planet.
For more information go to:
Please email questions and comments to

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897

Think before you print!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to find a natural high

 While I agree with this article, this is not meant as a substitute for prescribed medications.  Before making any changes in your medication routine, please check with your doctor.

How to Find a Natural High

Seriously, skip the substance abuse and find a green way to relax.

By Sara Novak
Columbia, SC, USA | Tue Feb 24, 2009

According to a recent survey by the World Health Organization, the United States leads the world in substance abuse problems. Forty-two percent of American respondents said they used marijuana, 16 percent had used cocaine at least once, 74 percent admitted to having used tobacco, and 92 percent drank alcohol. We were third in the world in alcohol consumption behind only the Ukraine and Germany. Colombia, Mexico, Spain, and New Zealand were the runners up in cocaine use, but were still nearly 4 percent behind us. Those are some pretty scary figures. While the alcohol use percentage is questionable because I'm not sure what "use" means, all the other stats are a bit disconcerting. There are much more natural and healthy ways to de-stress without abusing scary substances.

Here are some greener ways to get happy and reduce stress:

·         Sometimes we're happy, sometimes we're sad and for some of us exerting control over this would be fabulous. Over the past two years, through tons of yoga and meditation, I've learned what makes me happy and helps me to get rid of that nasty low feeling that can sometimes really hurt. Check out my guide to How to Get Happy Without the Prozac—Natural Cures for the Blues.

·         Why not use bananas to overcome the blues? Bananas contain tryptophan. Which, according to science, can help the body manufacture serotonin, a naturally occurring relaxant. Low levels of serotonin often go hand in hand with depression. An increase in your banana intake may be just what you need to get happy after the holidays.

·         Check out Elizabeth Seward's guide to curing your seasonal affective disorder (SAD) naturally. For example, make sure that you spend at least 30 minutes outside every day. Even if you're freezing and thoroughly disinterested in the bland horizon, force yourself to do something outside. Go for a long walk instead of using your car!

·         Check out my guide to foods to boost your mood naturally (article below this one). Instead of medicating yourself with drugs and alcohol, why not try these four foods that a recent article in Medizine's Healthy Living Magazine said are known to boost your mood?


Instead of medicating yourself with drugs and alcohol, why not try these four foods that a recent article in Medizine's Healthy Living magazine Overview said are known to boost your mood?

  1. Whole grains
    Whole grains stimulate the release of serotonin which regulates mood and helps you get to sleep. My favorite whole grain is quinoa.
    Quinoa is a complete protein, great for vegetarians. And going vegetarian has the same effect on carbon dioxide emissions as switching from a Chevrolet Suburban to a Toyota Camry. Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc. It's great in stews, curries, salads, and pilafs.
  2. Leafy greens
    Leafy greens are a great source of folate which helps the body manufacture serotonin. Try
    spinach. It's available in the spring and autumn and it's one of the most versatile foods out there. Curly spinach requires cooking. Flat-leaf spinach is sweeter and more tender, so it can be used for cooking or salads. Baby spinach is very tender and is ideal for salads. I also like winter greens, kale, and collards (duh, I'm from South Carolina).
  3. Bananas
    Bananas are a great source of B6, which helps to make serotonin. Bananas are awesome in smoothies because they thicken them up and add tons of depth. Try this go-to smoothie recipe that I have made many a morning for my husband.

    Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

    1 organic banana
    1 tbsp organic peanut butter
    3 oz almond milk

    Blend and enjoy.
  4. Salmon
    Salmon is also a natural mood booster. It contains Omega 3 fatty acids which help reduce depressive symptoms.
    Salmon is one of the healthiest fish options around. Most varieties, including coho and sockeye, provide more than three times the 250 milligram recommended minimum daily dose of omega-3s. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide, sustainable salmon choices include coho, sockeye, king, pink and red, and sake. These sustainable varieties should also be wild-caught in Alaska.



Please email comments and questions to


Gene Dempsey, City Forester

Environmental Services

Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897


Think before you print!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

10 first steps

Ten First Steps Toward Lighter Living

May 11, 2008 by Chris Baskind

Ready to start living a greener lifestyle? Not sure where to start? Here are ten easy steps to get you underway.
It all seems so daunting: Climate change. Carbon credits. Biofuels, hydrogen power, and solar energy. The vocabulary of a new century. There's a lot to learn.
The news is full of disturbing reports about global warming, threatened species, and the gradual realization that the way we liveparticularly in the developed nationswill have to change if we want to enjoy a clean and sustainable future.

Take your first step today

But there's no reason to feel overwhelmed. Every journey begins with a single step. At Lighter Footstep, we've rounded-up the ten easiest ways for you to start moving toward a lighter lifestyle. Some cost nothing at all. Others provide a lot bang for your eco-dollar. In every case, these ideas will save you money, cut energy use, and help balance your household's greenhouse gas budgetthe amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere to produce goods or electrical power.
So pick a few, and give them a try. Before long, you'll establish the habits we all need to develop as we face the challenges of a resource-hungry planet.
Make the switch to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs). Just a few years ago, CFLs were bulky, expensive, and hard to find. Thanks to environmental commitments by companies such as Wal-Mart, CFLs are now readily available at about $2.00 each. That's more expensive at purchase than incandescent bulbs, but lumen for lumen (the unit by which a light bulb's brightness is measured), CLFs use much less power. They also last up to ten times longer than regular bulbs. That means that the average CFL bulb will save $30 in energy costs over the course of its life. Accoring to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if every American household were to swap just one bulb to CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 2.5 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of nearly 800,000 cars.
Monitor your thermostat. Small changes make a big difference over time. Make a note of where you normally keep your thermostat. Once you've got an idea where it is usually set in the summer and winter, make the Two Degree Pledge: up two degrees in the warmer months, and down two degrees when it's cold. Check Lighter Footstep for energy-efficient ways to stay comfortable through the seasons and save up to $100 a year on your power bill. That's equivalent to one ton of greenhouse gases which would have been produced by the energy you saved.
Clean or replace your air conditioning filter. Depending on where you live, air conditioning filters can get dirty in a matter of days. An air conditioner with a clogged filter has to work harder, which means higher power bills and the creation of more greenhouse emissions. Running clean, you can save up to $150 each year. You'll also enjoy the benefit of fewer allergy causing particles in the air, and a more comfortable home or office.
Unplug idle appliances and electronic devices. Just because that cellphone charger doesn't have a phone attached to it doesn't mean it's not drawing energy. Devices such as televisions with standby modes can use up to half the power they would draw when turned on. Don't just turn something off: unplug it. The average household can save up to several hundred dollars a year just by pulling the plug on silent energy vampires.
Buy a low-flow shower head with a shutoff valve. In most homes, you can replace an old-style shower head with a modern unit in about fifteen minutes. You'll reap two-pronged savings, both in water and the energy you'd have used to heat it. You're also saving your community the power it would have used to treat the wastewater. The benefits can be pretty impressive, since water heaters account for about 25-percent of home energy use. Put several hundred dollars back into your budget each year and keep water use to a minimum.
Drive smarter. In real world testing of common fuel-saving tips, the Edmund Automotive Network found some surprises. First, it's a good thing to keep tires properly inflated, and this is a commonly recommended strategy for saving gas. But Edmund found others which make a more noticeable difference. Use your cruise control on the highway for up to a 15-percent improvement in mileage. Driving less aggressively is the single most effective way to save gasoline: accelerate out of lights more gently, avoid rapid braking, and only drive as fast as you must. And turn off your engine rather than idling excessively. If your car starts reliably, consider shutting it down at long lights. Skip the drive-through window, park, and walk your business inside whenever possible.
Get an annual tune-up for your car. At $200 to $300, a full engine tune-up sounds like a pricey way to save fuel and money. In practice, it's a good investment. A faulty oxygen sensor, for instance, can penalize your car up to 3 miles per gallon. Worn spark plugs and dirty air filters can cost you another 4 MPG. It all adds upfast. Set a fixed time each year to give your car the attention it needs. And check that fuel cap, while you're at it. A loose or poorly sealed cap will vent gasoline vapor, polluting the air and costing you up to 2 miles per gallon. Tighten up!
Dust-off that bike. Bicycles are the most efficient form of human transportation, and the only thing they burn is calories. Consider whether bike commuting might fit your lifestyle. Even if this isn't the case, bicycles are a healthy and environmentally friendly way to run those short errands. You'll need a helmet, a good lock, and proper lighting if you're out before dawn or after dusk. Start by resolving to use your bicycle instead of a car just once a week, a build from there. Watch Lighter Footstep for articles on choosing an appropriate commuter bike and outfitting for comfort and safety.
Go meatless once a week. If you're not already practicing a vegetarian diet, consider cutting back on the amount of meat in you consume. As Frances Moore Lapp pointed out in her bestselling book, Diet for a Small Planet, livestock production absorbs sixteen pounds of grain and soy feed for every pound of meat that actually gets to the plate. Each calorie of animal protein requires 78 calories of fossil fuels to produce, and irrigation directly associated with livestock production (including feeds) amounts to about half of all the consumed water in the United States. Give meatless substitutes like Boca Burgers a try, or scan vegetarian recipes for healthy and earth-friendly meal ideas.
Buy local; buy in season. According to the non-profit group Sustainable Table, the typical carrot travels 1,838 miles before it ends up in your kitchen. That's a lot of food miles, and a tremendous amount of wasted fossil fuels and packaging. Buying regionally produced food is a keystone of sustainability: not only does it save the energy costs associated with shipping bulk produce, it keeps a portion of your grocery money close to where live. So locate your local farmer's market and add it to your weekly errands. You'll be supporting local growers while enjoying fresh, seasonal produce.

And you're on your way

By the time you've a few of these steps, you'll probably be thinking of other actionable ways to present a lighter environmental footstep. And that's how meaningful change begins: consistent, incremental improvements to the way we manage our personal and community resources. Join with Lighter Footstep in fashioning a wiser and more sustainable future.
Email comments and questions to

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897

Think before you print!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Spring Butterfly Counts

The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Butterfly Counts is an ongoing program of  NABA to census the butterflies of North America.  Volunteer participants select a count area with a 15-mile diameter and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle.
The 2012 Spring Count in Broward County is coming up this Saturday, March 31st for the North Circle and Saturday, April 15th for the South Circle.  Times of the counts are from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and/or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 
North Circle areas are Crystal Lake Pine Scrub, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Hillsboro Pineland, and Coconut Creek Tamarind Village. 
South Circle areas are Tree Tops Park/Pine Island Ridge Natural Area and Long Key Nature Center. 
After the morning counts, participants will gather at local restaurants to discuss observations. 
If you are interested in participating, bring water, snacks, hat, sunscreen, binoculars, field guides, and cameras.  Dress for the outdoors.  NABA’s participation fee is $3 for all participants.  No experience necessary! Friends of all ages welcome.  High School Students can earn service hours. 
If you would like to be a part, please contact one of the following:
Ana Maria Agrusa – 954-689-0050; 954-805-1725C or
Barbara DeWitt – 954-584-3123H; 954-599-1082C or
Janice Malkoff -954-993-9449 or
Nancy Johns – 786-525-3701 or
Sandy Fernandes – 954-557-3090
Mona Johnston – 954-975-9157 for Coconut Creek Tamarind Village
For Count instructions go to
For information on the Broward County Butterfly Chapter go to
If you don’t live in Broward County, Florida, check with your local Butterfly groups for Counts information or to see where counts are currently conducted. 
Please email comments and questions to
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897
Think before you print!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why MPG is a stupid measurement

 something to think about when you are considering a new car or truck...

Why MPG is a stupid measurement

Originally posted by Hank Green on Mon Jul 14, 2008 on Yahoo’s green site which is now -
We tend to have bad measurement systems here in the U.S. We've got a temperature scale where water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 (it's zero and 100 for the rest of the world). And none of our measurements are compatible with our base10 numbering system. Twelve inches in a foot? 5,280 feet in a mile? I mean, come on...
So it should come as no surprise that measuring vehicle efficiency in miles per gallon is about as effective as measuring a city's population density in square miles per person.
The reason is simple. What we want to know is how many gallons we'll save, but what we're getting is how many miles we can go. This might seem like a small difference, but displaying miles per gallon in gallons per mile immediately shows some huge flaws in our current system:
15 mpg = 660 gallons per 10,000 miles
20 mpg = 500 gallons per 10,000 miles
30 mpg = 330 gallons per 10,000 miles
45 mpg = 220 gallons per 10,000 miles
60 mpg = 160 gallons per 10,000 miles

Now, obviously, the most fuel-efficient car here is still the 60 mpg car. And that's fantastic. But increasing the mileage of a 15 mpg car to 20 mpg, saves as much gasoline (and carbon) as doubling the mileage of a 30 mpg car to 60 mpg.
But to the consumer's eye, the difference from 15 to 20 might not seem all that important. One might even go so far as to say that consumers would see it as insignificant. If they're going to buy an inefficient car, what does it matter if they get an extra five miles for every one gallon of gas?
This, in short, is why the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid won Green Car of the Year this year. And while it may seem like the best way to save gas is to make small cars more and more efficient, it's obviously much more important to work on the big cars first.
Not only is a gallons-per-10,000-mile system more accurate in terms of efficiency, it's better for consumers. It shows them exactly how many gallons they'll be burning. And, from there, it's only a quick multiplication to get yourself a big scary number for your gas bills.
Of course, if history is any guide, switching the units will be no easy task. But the next time you're at a dealership, maybe you should bust out your calculator and figure out how many gallons per mile you'll be getting.
Please send questions and comments to

Friday, March 23, 2012

12 things you can do in your yard that will reduce your footprint on the planet

From the Fort Lauderdale Garden Club website (
12 things you can do in your yard that will reduce your footprint on the planet
1. Buy Slow Release Fertilizers and do not Fertilizer within 15 feet of the canals.

They might appear more costly - but you use less and they last longer.  Florida's sandy soil does not hold water. It passes rapidly through the ground and into our water table.  Slow release fertilizers give off diluted chemicals over a longer period of time and the amount is consumed and filtered by the time water reaches well depth.

2. Reduce Garbage and Compost

Save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year. Compost is the best gift you can get for your plants.   Using your yard clippings means fewer trips the city has to make to the dump and greater savings for all.

3. Plant a Tree

Plant trees local to your area that will reduce carbon dioxide and create clean air to breathe. One tree can suck up 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.

4. Let Mother Nature help out - Get a Rain Barrel - Get another!

You can capture rainfall from your roof and use it to water your plants.  They are easy to make and highly efficient.  Plus rainwater is free from fluorides and chloride chemicals so your plants do better!  If we get a 1/2 rainfall, one downspout can capture 55 gallons of water.  MAKE YOUR OWN RAIN BARREL

5. Buy Products and Plants Locally

Buy locally and reduce the amount of energy required to drive your products to your store.
6. Use a Push or Electric Mower

Use your muscles instead of fossil fuels and get some exercise. Save 80 lbs of carbon dioxide and x $ per year.  Or try an electric mower.

7. NatureScape - Plant Native Plants

Native Plants like it here and they survive In spite of our weather.  Natives also supply food and shelter for our native wildlife.  Bring butterflies and birds back into your yard!
8. Buy or Raise Organic Food

The chemicals used in modern agriculture pollute the water supply, and require energy to produce. Besides It is better tasting and better for your health.  Remember how good a homegrown tomato tastes?

9. MULCH - use environmentally friendly Eucalyptus or Melaleuca

Save the Cypress and the Pine trees from being ground up and choose eucalyptus mulch that does not harbor Insects and decomposes in the soil. Put it around your plants leaving at least 1 Inch of free space near the stems so they will not rot and apply the mulch 3 Inches thick.

10. Water efficiently

Established plants do not need to be watered daily - In fact it weakens them and they establish surface roots.  Give your plants 1 inch of water twice a week during the growing season and once a week during the winter.  It is deep roots that help them survive!

11. Get a birdbath

The water shortage effects wildlife that depends on fresh water in puddles and ponds to survive. Share what you have with the other members of our plant.

12. Share your knowledge and encourage your neighbors to do these things. Then, compliment them when you see them making a difference.

Remember --- It takes a village!   We are not in this alone.

Other yard tips can be found in the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Handbook which you can view online

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day

World Water Day - March 22, 2012
The world is thirsty because we are hungry.
There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.
When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’.

Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:
  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
  • consume less water-intensive products;
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
At all steps of the supply chain, from producers to consumers, actions can be taken to save water and ensure food for all.
And you? Do you know how much water you actually consume every day? How can you change your diet and reduce your water footprint? Join the World Water Day 2012 campaign “Water and Food Security” and find out more!
At One Drop, you can take a quiz and find out how much water was used to make your meal -
Please send questions or comments to
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897
Think before you print!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lawns II

Recently, a NASA-funded study, which used satellite data collected by the Department of Defense, determined that, including golf courses, lawns in the United States cover nearly fifty thousand square miles—an area roughly the size of New York State. The same study concluded that most of this New York State-size lawn was growing in places where turfgrass should never have been planted. In order to keep all the lawns in the country well irrigated, the author of the study calculated, it would take an astonishing two hundred gallons of water per person, per day. According to a separate estimate, by the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly a third of all residential water use in the United States currently goes toward landscaping.
Source: Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
(954) 828-7704
Think before you print!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It's the first day of Spring and many of us start thinking about our lawns.  When planning your outdoor haven, consider what sort of yard is important to you. Do you crave shady trees under which to string that hammock, or do you want wide swaths of lawn for the kids' football games? Here are a few suggestions on landscape design:
* Plant food. Use your yard to grow a vegetable garden, edible berry bushes, fruit trees or whatever your region can support. You will slash your grocery bills and cut down on the fossil fuels used to transport produce around the U.S. and around the world. "Edible landscaping may be the most important thing you can do with your yard," says Bill Duesing, who is also the Connecticut chapter of NOFA's executive director.
* Cut down on the size of the lawn (and the time it takes to maintain it!) by adding ground-covering plants, shrubs or flowerbeds.
* Plant trees and shrubs that help cut your home heating and cooling expenses. Tall shady trees make great air conditioners in summer.
* Group plants that have similar water needs together—those that only need rainfall and those that need weekly or monthly watering—so that you can irrigate them together, and have other areas of the yard with hardy plants that you water less frequently, says Douglas Welsh.
* Construct a "rain garden" ( that traps rainwater and allows it to seep into soils rather than running off toward storm drains. A rain garden is a plot of low-maintenance, native perennial flowers and shrubs planted in a shallow basin.
* Native plants have evolved to live in your region, so they have better defenses against predators, require water commensurate with annual rainfall and help foster healthy soil and insect life that attracts birds and enhances overall biodiversity. "There is this idea that plants are just ornaments that sit in the landscape," says botanist Marielle Anzelone, of head of Drosera, a landscape design firm. "In fact, plants are an integral part of nature."
* Spread the word. Your best advertisement is your beautiful lush lawn. Post a "pesticide-free zone" sign (available at and you may have passers-by asking about it. Organize a coalition of neighbors to lobby for pesticide-free playgrounds, sports fields and neighborhoods so that your children and pets don't tread through pesticides at neighbors' houses.
Please email comments and questions to

Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
(954) 828-7704
Think before you print!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Arbor Day Foundation Members Help AddressChallenges in our National Forests

Our national forests are being threaten by bark beetles, diseases, and invasive insects from other lands.  The beetle devastation is spreading acrose the West and now threatens to move eastward.  Foresters blame the epidemic primarily on two things:
1)  management practices that have eliminated the natural role of fire in the western forests, creating crowding and stress, and
2)  climate change that is preventing deep freezes that killed bark beetles during winters of old.
Foresters are fighting back with the help of members of the Arbor Day Foundation.  Through improved forestry and by planting a diverse population of new forest trees, land hit by beetles and wildfires is being restored. 
Already millions of trees have been planted as many Foundation members support replanting efforts in forests as they join or renew their membershio each year.  Two other ways of providing significant help are donations to Trees in Memory and Trees in Celebration (   
For more information on the Arbor Day Foundation, go to
(Information taken from the March/April 2012 Arbor Day newsletter.)
Please email questions and comments to 
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897
Think before you print!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Water evaporated from trees cools globalclimate

Water evaporated from trees cools global climate

Evaporative cooling is the process by which a local area is cooled by the energy used in the evaporation process, energy that would have otherwise heated the area’s surface. It is well known that the paving over of urban areas and the clearing of forests can contribute to local warming by decreasing local evaporative cooling, but it was not understood whether this decreased evaporation would also contribute to global warming
The Earth has been getting warmer over at least the past several decades, primarily as a result of the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil, and gas, as well as the clearing of forests. But because water vapor plays so many roles in the climate system, the global climate effects of changes in evaporation were not well understood.
The researchers even thought it was possible that evaporation could have a warming effect on global climate, because water vapor acts as a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Also, the energy taken up in evaporating water is released back into the environment when the water vapor condenses and returns to earth, mostly as rain. Globally, this cycle of evaporation and condensation moves energy around, but cannot create or destroy energy. So, evaporation cannot directly affect the global balance of energy on our planet.
The team led by George Ban-Weiss, formerly of Carnegie and currently at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, included Carnegie’s Long Cao, Julia Pongratz and Ken Caldeira, as well as Govindasamy Bala of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Using a climate model, they found that increased evaporation actually had an overall cooling effect on the global climate.
Increased evaporation tends to cause clouds to form low in the atmosphere, which act to reflect the sun’s warming rays back out into space. This has a cooling influence.
“This shows us that the evaporation of water from trees and lakes in urban parks, like New York’s Central Park, not only help keep our cities cool, but also helps keep the whole planet cool,” Caldeira said. “Our research also shows that we need to improve our understanding of how our daily activities can drive changes in both local and global climate. That steam coming out of your tea-kettle may be helping to cool the Earth, but that cooling influence will be overwhelmed if that water was boiled by burning gas or coal.”
Source: Carnegie Institution for Science
The Department of Global Ecology was established in 2002 to help build the scientific foundations for a sustainable future. The department is located on the campus of Stanford University, but is an independent research organization funded by the Carnegie Institution. Its scientists conduct basic research on a wide range of large-scale environmental issues, including climate change, ocean acidification, biological invasions, and changes in biodiversity.
Please email questions and comments to
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897
Think before you print!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012



Trees and vegetation are most useful as a mitigation strategy when planted in strategic locations around buildings. Researchers have found that planting deciduous species to the west is typically most effective for cooling a building, especially if these trees shade windows and part of the building's roof. Shading the east side of a structure also reduces air conditioning demand. Planting trees to the south generally lowers summertime energy demand for air conditioning.
Trees and vegetation absorb water through their roots and emit it through their leavesthis movement of water is called "transpiration." A large oak tree, for example, can transpire 40,000 gallons of water per year; an acre of corn can transpire 3,000 to 4,000 gallons a day. Evaporation, the conversion of water from a liquid to a gas, also occurs from the soil around vegetation and from trees and vegetation as they intercept rainfall on leaves and other surfaces. Together, these plants take water from the ground through their roots and emit it through their leaves, a process known as transpiration. Water can also evaporate from tree surfaces, such as the stalk, or surrounding soil. processes are referred to as evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration cools the air by using heat from the air to evaporate water. Evapotranspiration, alone or in combination with shading, can help reduce peak summer air temperatures. Various studies have measured the following reductions:
Peak air temperatures in tree groves that are 5ºC cooler than over open terrain.
Air temperatures over irrigated agricultural fields that are 3ºC cooler than air over bare ground.
Suburban areas with mature trees that are 2 to 3ºC cooler than new suburbs without trees.
Temperatures over grass sports fields that are 1 to 2ºC cooler than over bordering areas.
Trees and other large vegetation can also serve as windbreaks or wind shields to reduce the wind speed in the vicinity of buildings. In the summertime, the impacts can be positive and negative. In the wintertime, reducing wind speeds, particularly cold north winds, can provide substantial energy benefits. 
Please email comments and questions to
Gene Dempsey, City Forester
Environmental Services
Office - (954) 828-7704 Fax - (954) 828-7897
Think before you print!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pets and Dangerous Plants

Plants and Pets Don't Always Mix!
Broward County Animal Care Advises Pet Owners to be Cautious with Dangerous Plants
Cardboard Palms are familiar plants in South Florida, but their seeds, leaves and roots can be fatal to dogs and cats.
DATE: March 5, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Mendheim, Public Education Coordinator
Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Section
PHONE: 954-359-1010
Florida is home to a wonderful variety of plants and vegetation all year long, however, not all of these plants are “pet friendly.”

“Many people do not realize that many plants, even houseplants, can be toxic to your dog and cat. That’s why it is important to research the type of plant you bring into your home or the types of flowers and shrubbery you have in your yard, since it does not take much for your pet to get sick or even die from ingesting parts of plants that may be poisonous to dogs and cats,” said Dr. Tim Johnston, veterinarian, Broward County Animal Care and Adoption.

Of major concern are popular plants like the Cardboard or Sago Palm, which can be found throughout South Florida. Landscapers and homeowners often plant the Sago because it is attractive and requires little water and care. However, all parts of the plant, including the seed pods, are toxic to both dogs and cats and can cause vomiting, liver failure and even death.

In addition to researching the plants in and around your home, pet owners are encouraged to watch out for chewed leaves, roots or seeds, as well as any signs of vomiting, listlessness or diarrhea. If any of these symptoms occur, please seek immediate medical treatment for your pet! Pet owners are also encouraged to take the following steps: 
  • Do not allow pets to roam outside unsupervised.
  • Do not allow your pet to lick water off of leaves or drink from bowls that might contain water from plants.
  • Do not allow your pet to dig in or around any toxic plants.
  • Do not bring any toxic plants into the home.
  • Be careful when playing “fetch” with branches from toxic plants and do not throw balls or Frisbees in the direction of poisonous plants.
  • Quickly clean up any seeds or flowers from toxic plants.
  • Keep the number for poison control on hand.
  • Immediately rush your pet to a veterinary clinic at the first sign of any symptoms. Some plants are fatal to pets, so time is of the essence.
Information regarding toxic plants and flowers has been posted on Animal Care’s website. The site also provides a link to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' website, which provides a comprehensive listing of plants and foliage, including symptoms and a poison control number to call.

Broward County's Animal Care and Adoption Center is dedicated to providing shelter for lost and surrendered animals as well as the successful adoption of pets. The agency also coordinates the licensing of dogs and cats and provides rabies vaccinations in order to encourage a healthier pet population.

For more information about other animal welfare programs, visit, follow us on twitter@BrowardPetPals or "like us" on Facebook.
For more information on poisonous plants in Florida, see 

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