Rat-proofing row homes in Baltimore

Posted on | January 6, 2017 | 3 Comments

Bin hutches with planters imagined in front of a typical East Coast terrace of row homes. Drawing: Emily Green

When Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s mayorship of Baltimore is finally judged, her crowning achievement may be having provided residents with rat-proof trash cans. The stout green plastic bins that arrived early last autumn came in two sizes, enormous (roughly 60 gallon) and large (more like 40). After the city dropped them off, as is if over night, the cans radically reduced the amount of skimpily bagged food waste left out on city streets as trash collection days approached. It was so effective that in a recent round table assessing Rawlings-Blake’s tenure, NPR host Tom Hall and his guests were talking trash cans in the same breaths as the former mayor’s handling of the riots and a huge port development deal.

But, months after the roll out, with a new mayor, securing Baltimore’s trash remains a job half done. The former mayor’s veto of the single-use plastic bag ban mean streets and drains are still clogged by persistent waste. The city’s quaintest streets are too small for alley collection so the cans must live out front, where they are eyesores and open to unsavory contributions from passers by. Perhaps their biggest failing is that they only address one waste stream: trash. What rats lost in open garbage on Tuesdays, trash day, they won on Thursdays, recycling day. The new bins did nothing to deny rats greasy pizza boxes and glue-rich Amazon packaging. Read more

Forget it, Jake. It’s Cadiz

Posted on | June 8, 2016 | 1 Comment

Photo: Chris Clarke/KCET

Money flows uphill to money. Not a drop of water has been exported in a 22-year-old bid to mine Mojave Desert groundwater for Southern California cities, but many millions of dollars have gone to the speculators behind the scheme. Click on the image to read my commentary at KCET on the water grab known merely as “Cadiz.” Photo: Chris Clarke/KCET

Gone painting

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | 2 Comments

Angus waiting for Donna

“Angus waiting for Donna,” May 2016, Emily Green. Painting not reporting this holiday weekend. For the latest in water news, do browse the Climate and Water column to the right.

The week that was, May 15-21, 2016

Posted on | May 22, 2016 | No Comments

Upper Colorado River. USGS

So much for the long-assumed notion that groundwater can be used as a get-out-of-jail-free card when rivers are over-drafted. Click on the image from the USGS for the survey’s study showing that as much as half of the streamflow in the Upper Colorado River Basin originates as groundwater.

“I thought it was too long, and just a piano and voice.” — Paul Simon on “Bridge over Troubled Water,” Paul Simon has never stood still, Belfast Telegraph, 5/19/16

 The nation’s largest man-made reservoir slipped to a new record low sometime after 7 p.m. Wednesday, and forecasters from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expect see its surface drop another 2 feet through the end of June. — Lake Mead hits record low, Las Vegas Review Journal, 5/18/16 Read more

The weeks that were, May 1-14, 2016

Posted on | May 8, 2016 | No Comments


UPDATED: Apologies. I am on deadline for KCET and “The week that was” is again postponed. For those who didn’t check it out last week, please accept as an apology a link to this delicious nugget from the UK’s Daily Telegraph about the 18th century British peer Lord Rokeby. Click on the rendering from the UK’s National Portrait Gallery to read Hazel Davis’s delightful sketch of the “original hipster,” a locavore who built public drinking fountains then paid neighbors to use them.

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