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Water and Energy
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Well Being & Environment
Happier Homes News
27 August 2012

Save Water - Save Lives

At the beginning of August, a sweet shop in upstate New York was broken into. This was no ordinary robbery however; the culprit was a one ton black bear. To quote one report of the incident, “A black bear clawed through the wall of a candy store on Main Street last week; another one locked itself in a minivan and shredded the interior in a frantic struggle to escape, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “We’ve been here 17 years and never had a problem with bears,” said Roslyn Starer, who runs the Candy Cottage in Old Forge. “But it’s been so dry the normal foods in the woods just aren’t growing. So they’re coming into town.”

The bear problem isn’t just isolated to New York, it’s a growing problem as a drought continues across North America. In eastern Kentucky, the US Forest Service closed two campgrounds for a weekend at the end of July because of bears raiding picnic baskets and coolers. Biologists blamed the drought-related berry shortage.

In Colorado, where drought has dried up the chokecherries and serviceberries bears rely on, a bear and three cubs broke into more than a dozen cars in Aspen looking for food in June. A rising number of bears have been encroaching on human areas since the start of the drought this summer. July of this year was the hottest summer in the US since records began.

It’s not only the bears that are affected of course, this year’s corn, grain and soybean crop (The United States accounts for over half the global export market for corn and nearly half of the soybean market) has been severely affected. This shortage will see a sharp rise in food prices across the globe. According to a U.N. report, global corn prices surged nearly 23% in July. Some corn ends up in products like cereal and soft drinks, but the biggest chunk is used as feedstock for pork, chicken and beef. So it’s not just the price of corn and bread that will go up, prices are expected to rise in all areas of food production.[ break ][ break ]The drought closer to home, which has seen hosepipe bans in many places around the UK since early April, has been less severe, but acts as a constant reminder of how precious a resource water really is. Spring this year saw the lowest rainfall in a generation, which means that water resources will still take months to recover, even with the heavy rainfall and flooding at the beginning of the summer, which led to ironic pictures circulating online of buses stuck in flooded streets with adverts on their sides reminding people about the scarcity of water. However, as one water company’s recent slogan reads, “Saving water is a marathon, not a sprint.” Water conservation is a long process that should be treated seriously by everyone, whether it’s rising food prices or local water shortages. For tips on how to save water, check out our website for more information.