Environment

Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American if he can travel at all should see.
-Theodore Roosevelt, speaking about the Grand Canyon
When I lived in Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon. (No, I didn’t ride a mule.) It is impressive, and pictures don’t do it justice. Years later, when I honeymooned in Hawaii, my husband and I watched the sun rise over Mount Haleakala. Later, we biked–he biked, I rode in the van a good part of the way–down the dormant volcano. I remember noticing in both places the beautiful scenery during the day and amazing number of stars at night.
Besides their magnificence, what do these places have in common? They are both run by the National Park Service, a bureau that currently oversees 122 historical parks or sites, 74 monuments, 58 National Parks, 24 battlefields or military parks, 18 preserves, 18 recreation areas, ten seashores, four parkways, four lakeshores, and two reserves.
In 1872, Congress took land in what is now Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and created Yellowstone, the first national park. Others soon followed. With the passage of the Antiqities Act in 1906, “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” could be proclaimed national monuments by the president. Between 1872 and 1916, the Department of the Interior oversaw the parks and landmarks, but no systemic management or standards existed. In 1916, The National Park Service was created and assumed responsibility for 35 national parks and monuments, as well as the Hot Springs Reservation, which was later designated a national park.
Starting this Sunday, September 27, at 8:00 p.m., PBS will air The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a six-episode series directed by Ken Burns. The series was filmed over the course of six years and features footage from the parks, photographs, accounts of historical figures, and interviews with historians and people whose lives have been impacted by the parks. If you are a fan of Burns–he also directed Baseball, The Civil War, and Jazz, which you can borrow from the Nashua Public Library–you may want to tune in. To learn more about the series and to see some clips, visit the documentary’s website or search for it on http://www.pbs.org. In addition to watching the series, you can take a look at the companion book, The national parks : America’s best idea : an illustrated history. If you’re eager for more, you can read about the history of the National Park Service in The national parks : shaping the system, which is in our government documents section, or take a look at the National Park Service website . You can also find information about the parks themselves at this site.
If you are thinking about visiting a park, Nashua Public Library has guidebooks that will help you plan your trip. The more recent books include:
The complete guide to the national park lodges 647.9473 S
The complete guide to the National Parks of the West 917.8 C
Frommer’s national parks with kids 917
President Roosevelt, who signed the Antiquities Act, was a conservationist. A new book, The wilderness warrior : Theodore Roosevelt and the crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley details his conservation efforts. During his presidency, he proclaimed 18 national monuments as well as national parks and forest preserves. In the above quote, Roosevelt implored Americans to keep the Grand Canyon as it was so that future generations could appreciate its natural beauty. The National Parks are a great resource, and the areas under the auspices of the National Park Service are diverse. They range from coastline to canyons, include archeological treasures and presidential birthplaces, and can satisfy people interested in anything from history or hiking.
Sources:
Harper’s Ferry Center, National Parks Service. The National Parks: Shaping the System. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2005.
National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/index.htm.
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” PBS. http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/.
Roosevelt, Theodore. “Presidential Addresses and State Papers” quoted at “Teddy and the Children’s Room.” Theodore Roosevelt Association. http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/kidscorner/Grand_Canyon.htm.

ice.jpg Early morning Nashua—it is 2 degrees out there. Brrrrr. And although the thermometer has been inching up, melting snow means more water turning into ice overnight. Water on my street has pooled and frozen, creating a scarily shimmering scene—an ice skater’s delight but a treacherous trap for the rest of us.
According to Jane Brody in her New York Times article Preserving a Fundamental Sense: Balance, the sense of balance begins to degrade in one’s 20s and then it is downhill — literally and figuratively. Steps can be taken to preserve or restore one’s sense of balance.. She explains how to assess one’s equilibrium and then goes on to describe several exercises to build motor skills.
Recently I heard a physical therapist speak on the topic of preventing falls, and he gave some serious food for thought. Fact: By 2030, one in five Americans will be older than 65. Fact: The number of people over 100 doubles every decade. Fact: As they age, people lose muscle mass and strength, flexibility and bone. Fact: The resulting frailty leads to a loss of mobility and independence. Falls account for 87% of all fractures for adults 65 years and older. Hip fractures, 90% of which are caused by falls, cause the most deaths and lead to the most severe health problems. And only 25% of hip fracture patients will make a full recovery. There are many risk factors, including intrinsic ones such as muscle weakness, and gait and balance disorders, and extrinsic ones such as use of four or more medications, and the home environment. The latter may include risks such as poor lighting, inappropriate footwear (shoes, not slippers are best), loose rugs, wet floors, lack of handrails, and a cluttered environment. If we keep these in mind we can lessen the risk of falls for ourselves, or friends or family members who may be at risk.
Besides modifying the home environment, strengthening the body—particularly the lower extremities—can make one less likely to fall. And did you know that walking up stairs is one of the best exercises for the lower body? Although I cannot identify any interesting lofty buildings in Nashua, we can try to avoid the elevator and use the staircase whenever possible. For several years, the American Lung Association of New England has been promoting stair climb events in various buildings throughout New England as described in Stair Climb Training Tips from Paul Curley.
IWIF (Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund) presents Several Tips for Walking on Ice. Some of the strategies they recommend include approaching with caution and assuming that all wet, dark areas on pavements are slippery and icy in cold temperatures, avoiding boots or shoes with smooth soles and heels and wearing shoes or boots that provide traction on snow and ice (boots made of non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles are best), keeping your hands out of your pockets to maintain balance, and taking small steps or shuffling for stability. I have also been advised anything to prevent a fall—such as getting down on your hands and knees to crawl across an icy patch.
Inspired by the presentation on falls, and a New Year’s Resolution to become more physically active, I searched our library for materials pertaining to balance and agility. You might find the following especially useful, as I did:
Balance: in search of the lost sense by Scott McCredie.
Somatics: reawakening the mind’s control of movement, flexibility, and health by Thomas Hanna.
Fitness for life: exercises for people over 50 by Theodore Berland.
Sixty plus & fit again: exercises for older men and women by Magda Rosenberg.
So, happy stair climbing and if you meet me crawling on my hands and knees (see above), don’t be surprised–just say hi!

Global warming has suddenly become a serious matter. It seemed sudden, at least, to those of us who were going along not paying too much attention to the environment. It was interesting that winters were getting warmer, and it was something of a puzzle that glaciers were melting. Greenhouse gasses and the ozone layer were familiar terms, but they didn’t really spur me to any action. I guess I thought that those “big companies” were the only ones at fault for all this, and they really should be doing something about it. And maybe those people who drive eighteen wheelers and Hummers?
Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth served as a wake-up call. Global warming is not some vague event that may happen sometime, but there’s still plenty of time to do something about it. Apparently global warming has already happened to such a degree that, even if we all start now, we may not be able to “fix” it. This was frightening news to someone who hadn’t been paying attention. So what can the average person do about global warming?
Newscasters began talking about everyone’s carbon footprint. This carbon footprint stands for each person’s impact on the environment. Using energy creates carbon dioxide and the more energy a person uses, the more carbon dioxide a person creates. This can contribute to a big carbon footprint. So how do you measure your carbon footprint? ABC News has the directions for calculating the size of your footprint on their webpage. There are also suggestions for reducing the size of your footprint. Everyone’s goal should be to reduce their impact on the environment as much as possible.
A good understanding of global warming and the immediacy of its effects on the climate can be found on the website for the Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change or IPCC. This is the large international group of scientists sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme who recently established, beyond a doubt, that climate change has happened and will continue to happen. Working papers produced by this group are available in pdf format on their website, as well as audios and videos of press conferences and presentations . Two other websites to visit for more information on global warming and climate change are the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Global Warming International Center.
The library has some new books about global warming and climate change which might shed more light on the issues.
Climate change: human effects on the nitrogen cycle by Jeri Freedman
Field notes from a catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert and, just in case you choose to consider both sides of the story,
Global warming : opposing viewpoints edited by Cynthia A. Bily
Check out this information and keep working on making your carbon footprint smaller!

Did you know that the largest earthquake in New Hampshire occurred in 1940, having a magnitude of 5.50. The epicenter was at Ossipee Lake, near Whittier. For comparison, the largest earthquake in California (San Andreas fault, 1857) had a magnitude of 7.9. The most recent earthquake in New Hampshire occurred on August 28, 2004. It was thirty miles NNW of Nashua with a magnitude of 2.1.
Earthquakes have sparked man’s curiosity since ancient times. They have also disrupted lives, destroyed great monuments and cities and created great tidal waves. The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) was created to determine rapidly the location and size of potentially destructive earthquakes worldwide and to report this information immediately to the appropriate national and international agencies, scientists, and the general public. On this website, you can do such things as:
• read up all about earthquakes,
• search for earthquakes by state or by region,
• find information about the most recent earthquakes.
Another interesting site is Understanding Earthquakes. Here you can read excerpts from renowned people who have been witness to an earthquake, look at earthquake locations on a revolving globe, take an earthquake “quiz” and more….
Related Library Books:
When the Mississippi ran backwards : empire, intrigue, murder, and the New Madrid earthquakes by Jay Feldman.
A crack in the edge of the world : America and the great California earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester.