Just bringing it to people’s attention that many cities in America recovering from the last ten years of financial struggle, such as Detroit, have put into effect guidelines for building green in their cities. Meaning new buildings must stick to those guidelines by implementing green building ideas into their roofs, interiors and parking lots. I applaud this effort, contributing in the small ways we all can, recycling, gardening organically and up-cycling everything possible to keep unnecessary garbage out of the trash bin. We must learn to be a more conservative nation and not so much a “throw away” nation.
I’ve noticed an increase in the articles on creating “green roofs” on buildings. The effect is more than astonishing, it provides a natural corridor for migrating birds in places, allows for the continued success of singing and mating of song birds and cools the buildings without resorting to the overuse of air conditioning. Costs money to air condition, just saying…Also, songbirds have declined rapidly in urban and forested areas because of one sad fact, people are noisy. Our heavy vehicles, our way of life and behavior, the use of stereo systems and outdoor sound systems, traffic noise, all of it combines to make it impossible for some species to hear mating calls, and so they don’t find mates. No mates, no eggs, no birds. But up in the air of a thirty story building it’s much more quiet I believe. It may be that small trees and bushes planted among other greenery such as ground covering Sedum plant mats could very well encourage our song birds to come back. It has already revived some pollinator populations in places. Pollination is important because without it, we won’t eat. Period. Nothing will get fertilized which means no cereal grains, no vegetables, no bushes, no plants, for 99.9 percent depend on pollinators to set their fruiting bodies, whether it be cereal grains, rice, or the ubiquitous Zucchini, or “Marrows” as the British call them. It is worth considering this practice when you are building a new home for yourself. Why not look into building a home for wildlife as well. Most are built of Sedum covered mats layed over a prepared roof and then left pretty much alone. These plants are drought tolerant, hardy in most places that freeze during the winter. They protect rooftops, give birds welcome relief, insulate from the heat and cold better than conventional roofs and cost about the same to install. Easy to maintain these types of roofs could give us much needed relief and provide a way to keep our carbon footprints smaller even with our larger houses. Even if the entire roof is not done, one could do half a sloping roof, leaving the other half to be conventional roofing material, or if it’s a multi roofed building, do two or three sections of roof, it cuts down on the heat lost in the winter, cools in the summer giving you relief from high air conditioning bills and helps the entire planet including birds and butterflies and bees and other pollinators, which are fast disappearing. Remember, no pollinators, no food. Intrepid rehabilitators have already brought back the Peregrine Falcon to nest in New York. Many green roofs there are thriving with birds and bees and butterflies. Just the ones we need.
So I invite you reader to give it a thought, do some research, look up green roofs on the internet and see what you can find out. It would be a good project for your children to do with you.
Solar panels are another good way to help. Anything we can do to help our climate change now will save lives in the future, and perhaps one of those lives will be one of your children or grandchildren.
How do I help? I have a wonderful land lady who installed a low water toilet, I garden organically and attract as many birds, bees and butterflies as possible into my garden. Every year I have nesting birds, a balance of good and bad insects among my veggie patch and I conserve as much water as possible. Birds are always dropping me a feather or two to say thank you. Last week I found a hummingbird’s breast feather, so dark and iridescent, so very very tiny. I see it flit from one lavender bush to another and then on into the columbines and back. It’s always lovely to see the small ones, and they are so fast it’s unbelievable. Sometimes mistaken for large butterflies or moths, these little birds are hard working and generous creatures, giving us the benefit of pollinating our crops as they hunt for the nectar they need to stay alive. Birds also spread seeds they eat, encouraging the growth of “volunteer” plants in your garden, like the one in the picture above. It sprouted last year out of “nowhere”. I think it’s a Butterfly Bush but it is only a year old and hasn’t bloomed yet. Whatever it is the birds, or the squirrel, planted it because it is something they like to eat. So when you think you can’t do much in the way of helping to sustain the environment, or help the shrinking population of wildlife we truly need, think outside the box of your house, maybe go up and look at your roof, and while you are on the ladder look down at your garden, no matter how small, and see what kind of pollinator sustaining, flowering greenery you can add to the mix, along with wildlife and bird friendly seeding plants like Pyracantha, Virginia Creeper, their blue berries delightful to many species. Great as a vine, scarlet red in the fall for instant color. To keep it contained plant in a large pot in the ground and pull up the self seeding plantlets in the spring. Sometimes we should work as hard as our friends do…Blessings to you for reading and thank you for considering the alternatives to make our futures greener.