Melanie Lenart, Ph.D.: Environmental Scientist and Writer

Tucson Green Times Columns:
Walking on Earth

Winds of Change (February 2011)
As pipes burst around the Old Pueblo, flooding homes and leaving restaurants and coffee shops without running water, questions about climate change surfaced with the gurgling water. More...

Save the Pines (January 2011)
Inhaling the scent of pine resin, walking on a cushion of needles, feeling the corky bark of a Ponderosa tree – all good reasons locals alluded to a sanctuary when naming the Mount Lemmon town Summerhaven. Yet forest havens throughout the Southwest could dwindle if we just sit by as temperatures rise and the winter snow that sustains them melts earlier in the season. More...

Paper Cups Runneth Over (December 2010)
As the coffee sloshed onto the coat in my arms to the beat of my steps, I regretted my decision to pick up my morning brew in the standard paper cup. It would be a small cup, I had rationalized, and I’d probably save 10 minutes by dropping in at Caffé Luce before going to my office, where I had left my travel mug. More...

For Peat's Sake (November 2010)
When I first started gardening a few years ago, it seemed natural to pick up a bag of potting soil to get my basil and oregano plants off to a good start. But as I was carefully crumbling the rich, airy soil from that automatic purchase, reality pricked at my conscience. More...

Too Dry of a Heat (October 2010)
A mere eight hours after a midday rain in Tucson, my seat was practically dry. Yet I was sitting on a cushion that had covered an outdoor plastic chair during the half-hour rain. In truth, I was surprised the cushion wasn’t soggy. More...

When Litter Is Good (August 2010)
Soil often travels in the Southwest. Dust forms clouds that block highways. Sand dunes creep around the landscape, consuming back yards in northern Arizona. Finding a way to hold it down would save lives and land. More...

Tipping Points (July 2010)
One drink too many. The last straw that broke the camel’s back. We’re all familiar with tipping points, even if we don’t call them that. Soon we may need to add another ultimate to the list: The final ton of carbon dioxide that thawed the Arctic. More...

Well-Oiled Solutions (June 2010)
The oil spill really brings home the interlocking nature of our planet’s problems. The same substance heating up our climate is now destroying the natural systems that help keep our planetary thermostat in balance. More...

Wildlife Rehab (May 2010)
Dying birds have a specific smell, an acrid one that stinks of failure. I got a reminder of that whiff in late April, when I came across a baby sparrow in my backyard. ... So I was thrilled to hear from a friend that there’s a place in town – Forever Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center – where knowledgeable people care for baby birds along with ahost of other young and injured animals. More...

Clearing the Air (April 2010)
Clearing The Air When the first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, pollution clouded and clogged the American landscape. Black billows of smoke erupted from factories and trucks. Sewage and chemicals drained directly into many of the nation’s rivers. More...

Green vs. Greed (March 2010)
Green vs. Greed Some of the character attacks by global warming skeptics go to the heart of an issue affecting us all: Just where in this world do we draw the line between being an objective observer and an active participant? More...

Regreening Haiti (February 2010)
In Tucson and elsewhere, people are gathering resources – money, food, even people – to send to Haiti for the latest in a string of disasters. Gerard Dalencourt, a Haitian-born Tucson resident, blew a soulful sax with his funky voodoo band, Green Light, to help raise money during a Jan. 31 Hotel Congress benefit. More...

Timing Matters (January 2010)
Timing matters A December trip to Denver reminded me how cold the rest of the country gets during winter – and perhaps why many Americans continue to dismiss the threat of climate change. We arrived in snow-slicked Denver in a car whose heater had conked out – unbeknownst to us, for lack of use. More...

Climate of Collaboration (December 2009)
It sounds like such a good idea, giving forests and other natural systems credit for the carbon dioxide they collect. And it is. With help from the oceans, natural systems pull down more than half the carbon dioxide we release around the world in the burning of coal, oil, gas and forests. More...

A Curbside Orchard (November 2009)
Using the shovel end as a ruler, Laura Mielcarek checked the depth of the hole we had just dug next to the driveway. “Maybe a little deeper,” said Mielcarek, a landscape architect, eyeballing the mini-channel designed to divert water from the street into this pit. Soon it would host a plum tree. More...




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