This winter I’ve been getting a lot of new requests involving shrub clearance around buildings. By itself, that’s nothing unusual but many owners are now installing air-conditioning units. Aha, that’s our twist.
To understand it, you’d have to know about the unprecedented, anywhere on Earth, heat dome we experienced in June 2021. For weeks we head super high summer temperatures and according to provincial reports, 595 people died as a result of the oppressive heat. Seniors are especially vulnerable so they’re getting ready by installing air-conditioning units. If there are boxwood hedges or flowering shrubs in perfect health in the way, so what. Summer safety comes first.
The actual physical work was easy. I had to prune away sections of boxwood which looked ridiculous until the AC unit got installed. And the elderly owner was super happy. If we get another summer heat dome, he’ll ride it out inside.
And the workers?
And what about the workers? I’m currently working on a second edition of my e-book “How to become a landscape professional” and now I wonder if it’s right to recommend landscaping as a career. It could be a mess with global warming driven changes.
The heat dome was oppressive, to put it mildly. One complex provided us with water coolers and a misting station but that was a rarity. For weeks, we suffered and went home early. Most of the professionals on staff managed; most of the hypochondriacs on staff bailed early and this time they didn’t need any elaborate excuses.
People were actually dying from the heat in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia; mostly seniors, sick people and the homeless. Five-hundred and ninety five heat-related deaths is 595 too many. Welcome to climate change. It’s very real.
With the pandemic continuing, I fully expect another eventful summer. If we get hit with another heat dome, we’ll get through it. And so will the seniors who invested into new AC units, sacrificing perfectly good shrubs to stay safe. Here we go. Bring on summer.