How to Weather the New Weather

How to Weather the New Weather
Amanda Bancroft Making Ripples

Amanda Bancroft

If you were Mary Poppins, an unusual wind blowing in from the east simply means you might open your magical umbrella and drift away gracefully to someplace else. In reality, umbrellas are often no match for an intense storm, and they aren’t very good at fighting climate change. So what’s a non-magical-nanny to do?

Weather is the day-to-day conditions we experience, like precipitation or humidity. Climate is the weather patterns of a place over a long period of time (often, thirty years). In other words, what weather can typically be expected. Climate change is when our expectations are defied by unusual weather patterns over a long period of time. This shapes our daily life beyond just the weather. People who grew up in Northwest Arkansas, for example, may not recall seeing armadillos in abundance here during their youth. Earth’s climate has always been changing, but now, changes are happening outside of previously predictable patterns, and the changes are more extreme than have ever before been recorded in human history. Despite skepticism, many American farmers and city planners are forced to confront the obvious changes around them and are coming up with some good ideas.

Adapting to these changes can be a pain, as in the case of fire ants. But there are many methods for adapting to a changing climate. Here are a few strategies to beat the heat this summer:

1. Close the window blinds on hot, sunny days to prevent indoor spaces from heating up or using more electricity as the air conditioner battles the sunlight.

2. On cooler nights, open the windows and let the cool air fill the house before trapping it inside when the windows are closed in the morning.

3. Prepare for varying amounts of precipitation in your area by installing rain barrels and landscaping with porous surfaces and native plants that can resist drought and help mitigate runoff from pavement.

4. Weatherize your home to minimize income lost on a poorly insulated house.

5. Plant trees in safe places around your home to shade it from the strongest sunlight.

6. Exercise during the coolest hours, drink plenty of water (not soda or coffee!) and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

7. Consider purchasing a solar cooker or using another method of outdoor cooking and baking, so you won’t have to heat your house (and yourself) with a hot stove or oven.

8. Visit and hear stories about how people are increasing their “climate resilience.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a website dedicated to listing climate change impacts and adaptations by region ( Do you have a tip for dealing with fire ants, drought, or other changes to life in NWA’s climate? We’d love to share your knowledge with other families who could use the help. Email and we will share your tips on our Facebook page!

Amanda Bancroft is a Master Naturalist and volunteers with her husband Ryan for their solar-powered online educational center on how to make a difference with everyday choices at:

Categories: Making Ripples