(Feel free to use any of the following verbiage for your own community announcements.)
DAYTONA BEACH PERMACULTURE GUILD DECLARES STATE OF “HEIGHTENED HEAT URGENCY”; URGES IMMEDIATE SHIFT IN LANDSCAPING PRACTICES TO PRIORITIZE HEAT-MITIGATION.
Our rain chances keep receding before our eyes. In Daytona Beach we have basically had a rainless June, particularly on the beachside which tends to be more dry in general. I only have about a week of stored rainwater left and then I may be looking at which plants I need to just let go.
Note, at DBPG headquarters we are engaged in ongoing practices of only watering our yard by hand-carrying water in watering cans. This water is exclusively rainwater, captured during the previous summer’s rainy season as well as occasional rain events in winter & spring.
We only use city-water for cooking and other indoor functions, not for outdoor uses. We do catch all water from our kitchen & bathroom sinks and use it to water our shrubs, tall coastal grasses, & other nonfood plants.
In my capacity as admin of the Daytona Beach Permaculture Guild, an independent grassroots hub for community resilience, I am deeming our city and surrounding area to be in a state of heightened heat urgency. The extreme patterns that have been hitting many parts of the world are finally starting to reach us.
For several years now, I have been striving to communicate to local government bodies and neighborhood groups, and local groups on social media, the importance of putting heat mitigation as top priority of our landscaping policies, strategies, and methods. I have often sent out and/or posted on social media detailed information, including graphics and illustrations from recognized expert sources, showing how our landscaping practices are disrupting the rain cycle, and impeding stormwater mitigation and filtration when the rains do come. And how we can easily and inexpensively fix this! My shorthand catch-phrase is “puffy landscaping.”
Of course landscaping is not the only factor in the heat-island effects that are leading to drought-flood extremes. But they are a big factor, and unlike pavement and other “gray” infrastructure, landscaping practices are a leverage point that most of us have at least some access to.
In the near future DBPG will be putting out a set of suggestions which local government and residents alike should find helpful. As always, I strive to make simple suggestions that will help people save money, labor, and other resources while restoring our rain cycle and stepping-up protection of our waterways, drinking-water quality, wildlife, soil biology, and humans.
As just ONE suggestion, the easiest and most effective thing many of us can do is to back off on excessively frequent mowing of grass areas. Our default landscaping standard of scalped grass, leaving many areas of bare dirt, is a major problem. Did you know that bare dirt is nearly as hot as pavement? Also, the stunted root systems of scalped grass impede the healthy absorption of stormwater into the ground & its gradual filtration to replenish the ground-water.
Ride-on mowers set too low, and leaf-blowers used excessively, are particularly conducive to creating bare patches of earth that exacerbate heat.
Please feel free to call on your Daytona Beach Permaculture Guild admin, Jenny Nazak, for information & other support regarding landscaping, composting, sustainable water usage, community food resilience, and all other matters of retrofitting sustainable design into the human-built environment.
1) Shaded seating area I created along my fence line this spring for people to stop and rest. Last week I added the drinking-water bowls for dogs, and an urn of water for humans. For the latter, mainly I recommend soaking a cloth with the water and putting the cloth on your face, neck, etc to cool off. Also the water is potable. Though the water is not cold, it could help in emergencies.
2) Close-up of “Hieroglyphic Stairway” poem in a corner of the seating nook. Great poem by Drew Dellinger; google it and really let it sink in.
Love you all, stay safe and hydrated, and check in on your neighbors. 💚
PS. Full disclosure:
1) Tax status: Daytona Beach Permaculture Guild is funded entirely by the income of its admin, Jenny Nazak, a self-employed author and sustainability educator. Income sources include writing, speaking, private consultations, sale of artworks, eco landscaping, and an occasional house-cleaning gig. Income is deliberately kept around the poverty line; she is not profiting from her eco landscape business or from gloomy predictions about the environment; she could make a lot easier money just by mowing lawns or cleaning houses.
2) Political affiliation: DBPG is politically independent and seeks to build bridges across all party lines. Its admin, Jenny Nazak, personally identifies herself as a libertarian with strong anarchist leanings, but places attention on finding common ground rather than emphasizing differences.