July 25, 2006

Nature and the NYT

I know that this is one more in a series of stories from the NYT about rich people and their lives (like the whole Ivy League women dropping out of the workforce "scare"), but I find the rooftop garden to be tremendously appealing. First, I admit that it resonates with me personally. One of the few downsides to living in Rio de Janeiro was that I was in a highrise with no access to gardening, aside from a few pots in the window or on the tiny balcony. I always longed to have a cobertura and be able to have arooftop farm. Second, there are demoonstrable benefits from rooftop gardens, from lowering runoff to improved cooling efficiency (less sun beating right on the roof) to better air quality. Third, with the recent popularity of urban gardening (a la Alice Waters or Bette Midler) there are community building aspects to rooftop gardens (not in this case, but...). The big downside is architectural... can it be done - particularly in retrofit situations - without wrecking the roof and making floods. I don't know. In the case that I win the lotto (which would be miraculous, since I don't play) I've had my eye on a small three story triangular building about a half mile from here. I've got it all planned out, with the ground floor being my pottery studio/classroom/gallery, the second floor for public home space (dining, living, guest rooms) and the top floor for private living (bedroom, spacious bath etc) plus access to the rooftop garden. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

On a less happy note, a recent study has shown high levels of mercury in songbirds. It was previously thought that the spread of mercury in birds was restricted to those that ate fish (which are full of the stuff from living in polluted streams) and that songbird declines were linked to habitat reduction (as well as suburban predators such as the neighborhood kitty cat). This new study shows a wider dissemination of mercury in birds that never eat fish and may implicate mercury in declining populations.

Posted by binky at July 25, 2006 01:24 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Ecology

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