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A drought is considered to be an extended period of time with little to no precipitation for a region. So depending on the region, depends on what constitutes a drought. A drought in somewhere like New York would be very different than a drought in Arizona. The lack of precipitation can be accompanied with high temperatures. Droughts can be divided into four different categories: meteorological, agricultural, hydrological, and socioeconomic. Below you will see a table that gives a brief description of each type.




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  • Is specific for the region.

  • Focuses on the amount of precipitation received.


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  • Accounts for the water needs of crops during different stages.

  • Can be independent from precipitation levels.
  • Focuses on soil conditions and erosion.


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  • Persistently low water volumes in streams, rivers and reservoirs.

  • Can be linked with meteorological droughts.
  • Human activities can worsen hydrological droughts (such as drawdown of reservoir).
  • Drought will slowly develop.


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  • Occurs whenever there is a demand of water greater than what is in the supply.

  • May be caused by too much irrigation or low river flow forces hydroelectric plant operators to reduce energy production.


Image result for united states drought monitorTo monitor drought conditions, the United States has their own tool for monitoring the conditions and portraying them to the public. The United States Drought Monitor (USDM) produces a map on a weekly basis that takes in to account the measurements of precipitation, soil moisture, stream flow, and many other variables. The image to the right is an example of the map that is produced. The table below describes how drought severity is calculated and classified.


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For more information, or to view the current USDM map, please go to http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

For areas not located in the United States, the Global Drought Information System can provide a worldwide map with the drought monitor, or with the standardized precipitation index.


The chart to the left uses the annual Palmer Drought Severity Index values, and averages it over the 48 contiguous states. Positive values indicate conditions that are wetter than average, while negative ones indicate conditions that are dryer than average. A value between -2 and -3 indicates moderate drought, -3 to -4 is severe drought, and -4 or below indicates extreme drought. The thicker line is a nine-year weighted average. This chart has been included to show how drought conditions have changed throughout time.



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There are several signs and symptoms that people can feel as a result of the heat or lack of precipitation of a drought. Below is a list of several of the general signs and symptoms.

  • dehydration
  • malnutrition/starvation
  • impaired immune system (leads to increased incidence of infections)
  • diarrhea
  • stress and anxiety
  • fatigue with exertion
  • heat exhaustion
  • heat stroke
  • worsening respiratory conditions


With droughts, there is an increased incidence in diseases and illnesses that are related to the decreased precipitation amounts. Most of the diseases and illness are food-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, related to toxin exposure, or are a result of transmission through mosquitoes, ticks, or other insect. Image result for farmer crops cartoonWhenever there is a lack of water, like during the time of a drought, farmers will occasionally recycle the water to help the food grow. The water which had not been adequately treated can then infect the crops to cause food-borne diseases. This decreased water supply can also lead to an increased use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to decrease weeds and pests. However, as a consequence, the chemicals may also be absorbed into the food we eat, allowing for an increased risk for disease.


Droughts help contribute to an increased concentration of pathogens. Image result for lack of water cartoonThe ratio between the concentration of pathogens and water flow changes. The concentration of pathogens is now higher, while the amount of water flow is lower than usual. The increased concentration may become too overwhelming for some water treatment centers, allowing for some pathogens to contaminate the drinking water. As the level of water decreases, the concentration of sediment and other minerals located at the bottom of the water supply are increased. The various pathogens, sediment, and minerals can prove to be a large concern for those who obtain their drinking water from a private well.


Vector-borne diseases (diseases carried by mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects), did not immediately make sense as to why they might increase during a drought. Image result for vector borne diseasesThroughout a drought, there is not much water to be found. This not only affects animals, but humans as well. Because of the lack of water, humans tend to want to store water close to their homes. The increased amount of water in urban areas, draws in the mosquitoes, birds, and other animals. This causes an increase in the number of disease carrying animals. There are now more animals in a closer proximity than they normally would be, which leads to an increase incidence of these diseases. Below is a table displaying a portion of the drought-related illnesses with their associated signs and symptoms.


Signs and Symptoms

West Nile virus

Headache, body aches, vomiting , diarrhea, rash, fatigue, weakness, joint pain, and neuroinvasive disease (infection and inflammation of the brain)

Valley fever

Fever, cough, shortness of breath, night sweats, headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, rash, and fatigue

E. coli

Stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever


Diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps

St. Louis Encephalitis

Fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, malaise, stiff neck, confusion, disorientation, tremors, and unsteadiness

Lyme Disease

Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and rash


Diarrhea, vomiting, tachycardia, thirst, muscle cramps, restlessness, irritability, dry mucous membranes, loss of skin elasticity, and hypotension


Chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, and jaundice

Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis (PAM)

Severe frontal headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, seizures, altered mental status, hallucinations, and coma

Dengue Fever

Severe headache, severe eye pain, joint pain, muscle pain, bone pain, rash, mild bleeding manifestations, and low white blood cell count


“Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet’s climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and catastrophe of our own making.”

                                                            -Al Gore


Closing Remarks

Thank you for visiting my second blog post. I hope that you have found this post to informative and maybe even got you thinking about how many different may be connected. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions, so feel free to leave a comment. 


Credit that is Due

Credit should always be given when and wherever it is due. The following sources were used in order to compose this blog entry.

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/drought/infectious.htm                                                https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html                            https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/symptoms.html https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/ecoli-symptoms.html https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-cantaloupe-08-12/signs-symptoms.html                                                                                  https://www.cdc.gov/sle/technical/symptoms.html https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/symptoms.html                                                                        https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/faqs.html                                                        https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/illness.html https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/symptoms/index.html    https://www.cdc.gov/cholera/illness.html                                          https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-drought  https://www.livescience.com/21469-drought-definition.html http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/                                                          https://www.drought.gov/gdm/                  https://cameronwebb.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/why-would-a-californian-drought-trigger-an-outbreak-of-mosquito-borne-disease/ https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/climatechange/health_impacts/vectorborne/index.cfm https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/climatechange/health_impacts/waterborne_diseases/index.cfm https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/programs/geh/climatechange/health_impacts/foodborne_diseases/index.cfm                                                                https://www.popsci.com/severe-west-nile-virus-epidemics-are-more-likely-to-happen-during-droughts


Heat Waves


As climate change continues to occur and get worse, so do the extreme weather events. One such example of worsening extreme weather, includes heat waves. Heat waves can be defined as a period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and humid weather that lasts two or more consecutive days. They cause more fatalities than any other single extreme weather event. The fatalities from heat waves will soon increase even more over time. This is due to the fact that climate change will cause the heat waves to grow in intensity, occur over longer periods of time, and occur more frequently. As these weather events become worse, people need to be cautious and plan accordingly to prevent any adverse effects to their health, or to their livelihood.


There are several signs and symptoms that people can feel as a result of the heat or humidity of a heat wave. Below is a list of several of the signs and symptoms.

  • dehydration
  • dizziness
  • fanting
  • rash
  • heat exhaustion
  • heat stroke
  • lower extremity swelling
  • heat cramps


With heat waves, there are many individuals who are at a higher risk to feel its effects than others. It may be dependent on their medical history, socioeconomic status, age, mental capacity, prescribed medication, and the location of where they work. Having a complex medical history does not automatically mean that things will be worse for you. People especially with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases will have greater difficulties in handling the high heat and humidity. In the table below is a list of several of these diseases, as well as a column for some miscellaneous diseases that would not fit under the other two columns.




History of angina pectoris Pneumonia Diabetes
Heart failure Influenza Alzheimer’s disease
Cardiac dysrhythmias Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Acute renal failure
Hypertensive disease Asthma Parkinson’s disease
Cardiovascular Accident (aka a stroke) Emphysema History of epilepsy
Diseases involving arteries, arterioles, & capillaries Chronic bronchitis Cirrhosis of the liver



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The elderly population (anyone at the age of 65 or older), are more susceptible than those in any other age group. Not only do they have an extensive medical history, but they also have an impaired sensation of heat due to their thin, frail skin. Whenever there is extreme heat,  they may not recognize that there is an issue, and may possibly think that it feels completely fine.



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Outdoor labor workers work outside in the elements, and can be exposed to the harmful effects of a heat wave for several hours. Their jobs require them to exert some level of physical labor to complete their job. They may be required to work at a strenuous pace to complete a necessary quota or deadline. this means they may push themselves do accomplish more than what is considered safe. 



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There are medications that will affect the mechanisms responsible for cooling a body down, or are capable of causing health concerns in another way. There are medication that could alter the thermoregulation (regulation of the body’s temperature), and thus the response or actions associated with it. Some medications will alter an individual’s alertness, which could be just be drowsiness or heat-avoidance behavior. Antihypertensive medications are another medication that may affect how people interpret the effects of a heat wave. It causes vasodilation, which in turn could lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. Anticholingeric medications will affect the body’s smooth muscles, and could leave the individual with an impaired sweating mechanism and dry mouth. The increased temperature of a heat wave may also decrease a medication’s effectiveness, or could increase the amount of medication present in the body (i.e. drug toxicity). This especially holds true for medications with a narrow therapeutic range. Regardless of the medication, the people taking them should be aware of these extreme events. They should also follow the safety measures for susceptible people.



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For the people that were mentioned beforehand, it is especially important to be aware of the weather, so that they may take the necessary precautions. The National Weather Service uses a specific heat index to alert the public of days that pose the biggest threat. With the relative humidity and temperature, it displays what the temperature outdoors will actually feel like. It also displays these temperatures in categories ranging from caution all the way to extreme heat, for the public to understand it better.  The image above shows what this heat index chart looks like. 



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The image to the right describes what the three different heat alerts are, and what the differences are. A heat outlook describes a heat event in 3-7 days. A heat watch describes a heat event in 12-48 hours. Finally, a heat warning/advisory describes a heat event in the next 36 hours. These heat alerts are just another way for the public to be notified and aware of the weather around them.




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  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Take breaks in the shade whenever possible
  • Use air conditioners to maintain a cool environment indoors
  • Check on the elderly and people who do not own an air conditioner
  • Limit strenuous outdoor activity
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks
  • Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses whenever outdoors
  • Schedule outdoor activities during the coolest part of the day
  • Do not leave children in the car
  • Avoid hot and heavy meals


“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods–all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgement of science–and act before it’s too late.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -Barack Obama


Closing Remarks

Thank you for visiting my second blog post. I hope that you have found this post to informative and maybe even got you thinking about how many different may be connected. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions, so feel free to leave a comment. 


Credit that is Due

Credit should always be given when and wherever it is due. The following sources were used in order to compose this blog entry.


Cdc.gov. (2018). Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness|Extreme Heat. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Davis, R. E., P. C. Knappenberger, P. J. Michaels, and W. M. Novicoff, 2003: Changing Heat-  Related Mortality in the United States. Environmental Health Perspectives, 111, 1712-1718, doi: 10.1289/ehp.6336.

Nws.noaa.gov. (2018). NWS Heat Safety Tips. [online] Available at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Penn State Health News. (2018). The Medical Minute: Tips for weathering a heat wave. [online] Available at: https://pennstatehealthnews.org/2013/07/the-medical-minute-tips-for-weathering-a-heat-wave/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Robinson, P. J., 2000: On the Definition of a Heat Wave. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 40, 762-775, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0450(2001)040%3C0762:OTDOAH%3E2.0.CO;2.

Semenza, J. C., J. E. McCullough, W. D. Flanders, M. A. McGeehin, and J. R. Lumpkin, 1999: Excess Hospital Admissions During the July 1995 Heat Wave in Chicago. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 16, 269-277, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(99)00025-2.

Tan, J., 2008: Commentary: People’s vulnerability to heat wave. International Journal of Epidemiology, 37, 318-320, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyn023.

Who.int. (2018). WHO | Heatwaves and health: guidance on warning-system development. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/globalchange/publications/heatwaves-health-guidance/en/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2018].

Air Pollution

      As the title of the blog may suggest, I intend to have this blog discuss the relationship between the changing climate and how it can negatively affect our health. The first topic being discussed is related to air pollution. The climate is changing which can affect the movement of weather systems, humidity, amount of clouds in the sky, temperature, and even how the wind flows. This in turn plays a role in air pollution, more specifically with the amounts and location of the pollutants. The same meteorological processes that are affected by the changing climate are also responsible for transporting various pollutants hundreds to thousands of miles away. So just because a pollutant was produced in one area does not mean that it will only effect that specific area. The pollutants are created through both natural and anthropogenic (human induced) means. There is no one source that is responsible for the creation of the six pollutants. They are however created from sources that are identified as being natural, from a specific area, from a stationary source, and from a mobile source. Possible examples of natural sources are lightning, wildfires/forest fires, volcanoes, and dust storms. Sources from a specific area are places like a city scene. Sources of a stationary location are those areas like various plants or treatment centers. Lastly, the sources which are mobile consist of cars, trucks, and buses.

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          The main pollutants contributing to the air pollution include CO, NO2, SO2, O3, Lead, and particulate matter (further categorized by its size as 2.5µm and 10µm). Overall, these pollutants can cause such health problems as cardiovascular illnesses, respiratory illnesses, headaches, fatigue, and nausea to name a few. However, each pollutant is capable of causing health effects that are specific to that substance, due to how it distinctively affects the human body. Carbon monoxide (CO) will bind to the hemoglobin present in the blood. As a result, the blood cannot transport the blood as well as it normally could. This will then cause the body’s tissues and organs to not receive the appropriate amount of oxygen. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) tends to inflame the lining of the lungs, causing the individual to have a decreased immunity related to respiratory illnesses or infections. Sodium dioxide (SO2) will irritate the nose, throat, and airways leading to the lungs as soon as it is inhaled. Ozone (O3) can be found in the upper atmosphere as well as at the ground level. It is this ground level ozone that has the most potential for undesired adverse reactions. Like Sodium dioxide, ozone will also irritate the nose, throat, and airways leading to the lungs. Lead (Pb) has a mechanism that is slightly different than the other pollutants. Once lead has been absorbed into the body, the bloodstream will transport it throughout the body. Once it reaches the bones, it will then become deposited into the bones. Lead is a substance that will only be expelled in small amounts. This means that if there is continued exposure to lead, the person may reach levels of toxicity. Lastly is particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) which describes a mixture of various chemicals. This particulates can be especially dangerous because once inhaled, then are then capable of lodging themselves with the lung tissue. No matter the pollutant or how it will precisely impact a person’s body, all of the pollutants pose as a threat to anyone who may be healthy or who has a more complex health history.

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          The pollutants can pose more of a threat in feeling the effects of air pollution whenever a person has a medical disease that causes them to be predisposed. These people may be predisposed for different reasons, but still may require special precautions whenever the levels of the pollutants may be increased. With each pollutant, the individuals who are most are risk may vary slightly, but they do remain fairly consistent throughout. The various people include unborn babies, infants, children, the elderly, people with anemia, and people that have a history of a respiratory or heart disease. It is very important that these people should be especially aware of the standard values for each pollutant, as well as the level for the pollutants for their area. The standard air pollutants values can be located from the national agency assigned to monitoring air quality.


The following table was composed to display more specific signs and symptoms that is related to each pollutant.

Pollutant Signs and Symptoms


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·         Trouble concentrating

·         May be clumsy, or have a lack of coordination

·         May easily become tired

·         If high enough amount is absorbed, may lead to death

·         People with heart problems have the risk of more frequent and longer angina, which then creates an increased risk for a myocardial infarction (heart attack)



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·         Respiratory problems

·         Wheezing

·         Coughing

·         Increased risk for colds

·         Increased risk for the flu

·         Increased risk for bronchitis

·         Increased frequency of asthmatic attacks



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·         Coughing

·         Wheezing

·         Shortness of breath

·         Feeling of chest tightness

·         Increased risk of mortality

·         Visibility impairment



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·         Coughing

·         Feeling of chest tightness

·         Increased frequency of asthmatic attacks



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·         May lead to brain damage or mental retardation (in children)

·         Behavioral problems (in children)

·         Anemia (in children)

·         Liver (in children)

·         Kidney damage (in children)

·         High blood pressure (in adults)

·         Kidney disease (in adults)

·         Digestive problems (in adults)

·         Nerve disorders(in adults)

·         Memory and concentration problems )in adults)

·         Muscle and joint pain (in adults)


PM2.5 and PM10

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·         Respiratory illnesses (like asthma and bronchitis)

·         Cardiovascular disease

·         Some particulates may even cause cancer

·         Premature mortality



Closing Remarks

I hope that you have found this post to informative and maybe even got you thinking about how many different may be connected. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions, so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks everyone for reading.


Credit that is Due

Credit should always be given when and wherever it is due. The following sources were used in order to compose this blog entry.


Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Carbon Monoxide and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/co/co.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Inhalable Particulate Matter and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/pm/pm.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Lead and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/pb/pb.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Nitrogen Dioxide and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/no2/no2.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Ozone and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/ozone/ozone.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Arb.ca.gov. (2018). Sulfur Dioxide and Health. [online] Available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/research/aaqs/common-pollutants/so2/so2.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Conserve Energy Future. (2018). Sources and Effects of Six Common Air Pollutants – Conserve Energy Future. [online] Available at: https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/sources-and-effects-of-six-common-air-pollutants.php [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Kassulke, N. (2018). The six principal pollutants — Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine — December 2004. [online] Dnr.wi.gov. Available at: http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/html/supps/2004/dec04/six.htm [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications/factsheet-carbon-monoxide-co [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications/factsheet-sulfur-dioxide-so2 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications/factsheet-nitrogen-dioxide-no2 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications/factsheet-ground-level-ozone-o3 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/particles [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].

Department of the Environment and Energy. (2018). Department of the Environment and Energy. [online] Available at: http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/publications [Accessed 12 Feb. 2018].


About Me

So thank you for coming to visit my blog page. Since you have found your way here, I thought that it would be nice if I tell you a little about myself . So I am a student in my junior year of college. I plan on graduating in May 2019, that is as long as everything goes according to plan. I will have my Bachelor’s in Earth Science with a concentration in meteorology and a minor in GIS/Emergency Management. In addition to this education, I have previously gone to nursing school and currently maintain my license as an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). While attending school full time, I work on the weekends at a nursing home. If school and work wouldn’t make me busy enough, I also have a 9 year old child. So life for me is never boring or dull. With having a career and going to school for a completely different one, I would love to bridge the gap a little bit and combine them both. Having a job that would do with is my goal one day. For now though, I will see where life takes me. I hope you enjoy my blog about the climate and how it can affect the human health. Hope to hear from you soon.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton