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The broken record keeps on playing. We've all read the reports and
talked with our neighbors about the ongoing drought and thirst for rain
in Texas. Despite the bleak forecasts, Texans are banding together to
fight this disaster in a way that only Texans can.
We all know that summer in south and west Texas means days that are
hotter than blue blazes and nights that aren't much better. But what
none of us could have been prepared for is that this year's sizzling
summer would be an encore to a record dry year in Texas. Texans have
once again been asked to hang tough, but even though Texans can only
take so much.
The facts and figures on the low levels of the rivers and springs are
astonishing. Too often discussions talk about salamanders or other
species being the victims of the drought. It is people who are the true
victims and the true heroes in this story. Everyone is being hit hard.
Farmers and ranchers losing crops and livetock. Consumers are paying
more at the gocery store. Tourists and new businesses are turning away.
Families are losing lawns. I know this is not news to you, but the news
is how communities are banding together.
Everyone is doing their part. Communities are sharing conservation
ideas such as watering in the early morning and evening or using
low-flow shower heads. Schools, businesses and government are doing
their jobs using less water. Everyone has had to put their thinking caps
on to come up with innovative solutions to get through this problem.
Congress has been creative in crafting disaster relief provisions to
benefit those hardest hit by the drought. For example, the Livestock
Feed Program and the Disaster Reserve Assistance Program have been
extended to help mitigate drought losses to agricultural producers.
Currently, counties are being evaluated to determine whether conditions
merit further extension of these two programs.
In the wake of some communities' issuance of voluntary conservation
plans, many local citizens are coming up with practical steps that could
conserve water. For example, people are being urged to fix water leaks
and water their lawn in the early morning or evening. Other more
innovative solutions include landscaping tips such as mulching flower
It is not easy, but through creative solutions and cooperation we'll
make it through. Keep up the fight, do what you can and pray for rain.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Henry Bonilla represents the 23rd Congressional District
in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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There is some room for debate about whether human activity is changing
the world climate. If it is accepted that humankind's works do have an
effect, there is more room for debate about the extent of the effect.
That much was evident from a lively conference on the subject last week
at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
What shouldn't get lost in the debate, however, is common sense, and
common sense tells us that it is stupid and dangerous to foul one's own
Though a majority of scientists has determined that there probably is
an effect on the climate caused by human activity, there hasn't been a
determination of the size of the impact. ...
Certainly, it costs more to be careful with resources, whether they are
renewable or depletable, aesthetic or vital to continued life on the
planet. Even if it turns out we're not contributing to global warming,
though, we still ought to be good stewards. Who wants to live on an
ugly, polluted planet?
Whether life could be sustained on other planets in other solar systems
if we ruin this one is something we will not know for perhaps dozens of
What we do know is that for our children and grandchildren, there is
and will be only one planetary residence.
- Austin American-Statesman
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