Limit water consumption. In many parts of the country, more severe heat waves, droughts and declining snowpack due to global warming will cause a considerable reduction in available water resources. There are a number of ways to reduce water consumption in your garden, which will be particularly important when water resources become scarce. Actions that can help include mulching, installing rain barrels, watering only in the morning and evening to avoid mid-day evaporation, and using drip irrigation.
Compost kitchen and garden waste. Composting kitchen and garden waste can significantly reduce your contribution to global-warming pollution—especially methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. It also provides an excellent source of nutrients for your garden, thereby reducing the need for fertilizers that pollute water supplies and take a considerable amount of energy to produce.
Establish a “green roof,” and plant trees around your house. Planting rooftop gardens and trees around the house can significantly shield your home from the elements, reducing energy use for air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter. One study showed shade trees can reduce energy use for air conditioning by up to 70%. Trees also absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas primarily responsible for global warming. Over an average lifespan for a tree, it can remove a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Develop a rain garden. Gardeners can reduce water pollution associated with heavy downpours by developing rain gardens, which capture storm-water runoff and help prevent it from entering local lakes, streams and coastal waters.
Tune in tomorrow for Part 4 of this story.