When In Drought: Crowdsource for the Trees

No matter what you think about climate change, you have to admit that the weather has been a little strange this summer. This has caused concern in a number of cities including thousands of fish dying in the midwest due to extreme temperatures or 2.1 million acres burned by wildfires by the beginning of July… just to name a few of the effects that we’ve seen so far.

For Chicago, this scorching summer has meant drought. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added “66 Illinois counties to the list of primary natural disaster areas because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.” What?! Farmers are able to apply for loans to sustain their crops, but I’m surprised that I had to do some searching to find this story. It wasn’t top of my news feed.

Still, real-life crowdsourcing is happening again in the middle of the city. In Chicago, 10,000 young trees are also looking like they won’t survive the summer, so the Chicago Park District and the Friends of the Parks are asking the community to help them save their trees by asking neighbors to personally water the younger trees that don’t have the deep root systems that will sustain them through a hot summer.

I will be interested to see how the program progresses. Of course, there is always the tree appreciation generated by the Houston Center for Photography which hosted an event fueled by crowdsourcing “SPIN8: Put a Tree On It” as part of their summer party. Attendees were encouraged to send in their favorite pictures of trees as an homage to all the trees that were devastated by last year’s drought.

These gestures are both real world examples of crowdsourcing to honor trees (even save them) and respond to the drought, but is there more that we can do to provide aid in this situation? What are some other solutions that you would suggest?

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