Photo credit: jan buchholtz licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

There’s an old saying that every cloud has a silver lining. I’m not sure that’s true, but many clouds–or in this case, no rain cloud in Las Vegas–may indeed have a silver lining.

As this report in The New York Times describes, the western U.S. is facing a severe drought. No rain clouds, no snow clouds in the winter, in Las Vegas or in Colorado, where the Colorado River originates, in Rocky Mountain National Park. Water levels in Lake Mead, the reservoir on the Colorado River providing water for Las Vegas, is at historically low levels.

As a result, Las Vegas has banned green lawns with rare exceptions. “Non-functional” lawns that only serve a decorative purpose are being ripped up and replaced with native plants more appropriate to a desert climate.

What’s the silver lining? Aside from reduced water use and benefits to the local ecosystem, there may be less use of gas-powered lawn maintenance equipment.

A quieter world, with less air pollution from noisy two-stroke gasoline engines, will be a better and healthier world for all.

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