Gardening and climate change, what to do and how to behave?
The gardens can be of many shapes and sizes: small gardens in pots , large parks of private villas and large urban parks. They are the setting for large public facilities such as hospitals or retirement homes. They help at school in the training and education of children and young people. They create moments of aggregation in green areas open to the public. They are elements of collection of trees and plants of all kinds for the purpose of study in botanical gardens . They are multifunctional spaces, important for health and social well-being, as well as being a support and aid to wildlife .
Gardens also perform important functions in support of the natural ecosystem. They reduce the negative effects of water bombs in the city , slowing the flow of water. They decrease the temperature in urban centers. They protect buildings, creating natural insulation against solar radiation or to defend against prevailing winds. They attenuate and capture pollutants present in the air and water.
The climate is undergoing major changes, often due to human behavior. These are easily perceived by observing the strong and more frequent precipitation and the increase in average temperatures. To aggravate these phenomena, human activities continue to emit pollutants into the air and water, as well as insisting on replacing green and permeable surfaces with expanses of waterproof concrete and asphalt.
For many of us gardening is much more than just a pastime but it is a real passion. Fortunately, there are actions and behaviors that we can also adopt during our activity in the garden or on the terrace , which can help mitigate the effects of climate change and save the natural environment.
Climate change affects every gardener . Life is also in the garden. For those of us who are truly passionate about our gardens and their plants , it just seems like a peremptory duty to change, in order to continue doing what we love most, gardening .
The gardener as a sentinel of climate change: warning signs from the garden.
As many gardeners and green enthusiasts in general have observed , climate change has already produced a significant impact on the micro habitats of our gardens and terraces.
- Average temperatures are higher , rains are more intense and frequent . As a direct consequence, there is early flowering of plants and unpredictable growth cycles, with unusual seasons. Hot climate plants, such as tomatoes, can also be damaged by rising temperatures.
- Plants and animals that are not native to some regions or are invasive are moving to hostile ranges until a few years ago. They are ready to exploit weakened ecosystems and replace native species. Some of the easier-to-adapt species can thrive in the new conditions.
- The climate change also means that many native plants may no longer be able to survive in places where they have lived for centuries. Many regions of the planet could lose their typical trees and flowers. Imagine Florence without its Giglio !
- Some important direct and indirect relationships between pollinating insects , birds and other wildlife and the plants on which they depend may be interrupted or mutated. For example, pollinators such as bees may arrive too early or too late to feed on the flowers they normally sit on.
These are just some of the main warning signs that we need to do something now. Given the strong relationship between gardens and some natural variables such as temperature and rainfall, a changing climate will create some big new challenges for gardeners . Any potential benefit from a longer growing season, will be overcome, of course, on a number of issues much more, from the restrictions on watering , the water bombs , the expansion of weeds and harmful insects or diseases fungal .
What gardeners can do to reduce the effects of climate change
Although the forecasts for climate change are dire, I believe they are not inevitable. The consequences will certainly be reduced if we take steps to reduce our carbon pollution. We can also take action to help both the natural and human environments adapt to changes already underway.
The gardeners are administrators and guardians, at the same time, the environment of our park or garden and can make a difference in the fight against climate change. Here are just a few ideas on how we can make a difference in our backyards, in the communities we live in and for the rest of the world. A great journey always starts with one step!
- Make the space you live in green . Trees and plants help remove heat, trap CO2 from the atmosphere, reduce the risk of flooding. Some species can be very useful for capturing fine dust pollution.
- Plant a wide variety of plants in your garden . Anticipating the flowering of some melliferous plants could strongly damage the relationships between pollinating insects and the host plant. Then, plant different varieties of pollinating plants, with different flowering periods.
- We learn how to grow plants with “new” techniques . The green roofs and green walls can help a lot for energy-saving home, throughout the year. In summer they will have a cooling effect on your home and in winter they will have a natural insulating effect.
- Improve your energy efficiency . Using energy-saving products and reducing your home’s energy consumption will reduce carbon dioxide emissions . You can replace the old bulbs garden house with LED bulbs with high efficiency, installing outdoor automatic light timers.
- Connect your garden with the natural environment . Make sure that your garden can host specimens of natural wildlife, such as beneficial insects, birds, small mammals. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. You could turn the neighborhood into a natural habitat for wildlife . This could help maintain or reconnect fragmented natural habitats .
- The environmentally conscious gardener reduces the use of gasoline garden tools . Limit the use of gasoline powered tools such as lawn mowers and blowers . Whenever and wherever possible, use human-powered tools such as walk-behind mowers , manual hedge trimmers , and rakes . Alternatively, use battery-powered garden tools which, however, are energy-intensive, albeit to a lesser extent than petrol ones. If you are even better at it, you will reduce the amount of lawn that needs maintenance .
- Use and management of water in gardens . Use rainwater tanks with a good capacity, so as to ensure, as much as possible, sufficient water for irrigation during the summer. Select more environmentally friendly plants and garden design ideas . Using tools such as mulching , the use of electronic control units for irrigation and the use of drip irrigation , helps to reduce the consumption of water in the garden. Practices such as mulching also provide nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers .
- Avoid peat . Peatlands contain significant amounts of carbon. Get informed, look for good alternatives in your area, for example use peat-free compost.
- Comost your garden and kitchen waste . It is possible to compost garden and kitchen waste, obtaining a product rich in excellent nutrients for the garden and for balcony pots .
- Try to reduce the use of new resources in the garden . Where possible, reuse what is present from year to year. Recycle garden waste , plastic, glass and metals as much as possible. The quantities disposed of in landfills are reduced and the products manufactured with recycled material increase.
- Avoid, in every way possible, the use of chemicals in your garden . Today there are many products that allow you to fight plant pathogens or limit their effects while respecting the environment, according to biological, organic, natural methods.
- Limit invasive species of plants and insects . The gardeners should be sure to comply with all regulations relating to abbligatoria fight certain pathogens in the spread of species of weeds.