Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day 2012!

Happy Rainy Earth Day 2012!  Normally I would be sad that it’s raining on Earth Day, but this year our little piece of the Earth NEEDS the rain badly.  We have an 8 inch deficient here in Massachusetts, so I’m not complaining at all.  To celebrate Earth Day, rain or shine, maybe you’d like to consider one or more of these ideas "a la carte style" today, or in the future. 

  1. After the rain is the perfect time to weed by hand instead of using pesticides which linger in the soil, and can seep into the groundwater.  Not to mention pesticides end up on shoes, and can get tracked into homes and offices.  So skip the pesticides, grab a weeder instead, get your hands a little dirty, and get a dose of Mycobacterium vaccae, it's good for you!   
  2. Plant a tree in honor of Earth Day.  Trees help clean the air by taking in carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen, provide shade, help prevent erosion, are aesthetically pleasing, and provide homes for birds and animals.  
  3. Consider Xeriscaping.  Xeri what? Xeriscaping is landscaping and gardening that takes water conservation into consideration, and minimizes the use of additional irrigation.  For example, many people want lush green lawns and spend a lot of time and money in the form of pesticides, fertilizers, and watering to accomplish their goal of the greenest lawn on the block.  Some xeriscapists take the less is more approach, reducing the amount of lawn in lieu of a patio, or by creating mulched garden beds with shrubs and drought tolerant plants, or planting sections of ground cover that require less water than lawns. 
  4. Commit to greener, clutter-free gifts this year.  Instead of more stuff, how about giving the gift of togetherness in the form of memberships to places such as nature preserves, museums, or aquariums?  This type of gift encourages people to spend time together, commune with nature, and won't end up being a repository for dust.
  5. Speaking of nature preserves, commit to green exercise!  Hike or walk in nature preserves.  Communing with nature and just being outside is good for the soul and heart.
  6. Throw open the windows, let in the fresh air, and use ceiling fans to circulate cool air, especially in the evening and early morning, cutting down on cooling costs.  Be sure the switch is in the proper position, the fan should move forward, or counterclockwise so that you can feel the "wind chill" as the air pushes down.  Using ceiling fans can help reduce cooling costs by 40% or more.  
  7. Take leftovers for lunch.   I don't know why my kids don't like leftovers...but then again when I was a kid I hated them too!  As an adult, I love taking leftovers for lunch because it's fast and easy if you portion leftovers into lunchable containers after dinner.  In addition it helps use up leftovers that my family despises.  Taking leftovers for lunch means you will end up with a trashless lunch, which helps to reduce landfill waste by up to 67 pounds of waste per person, per year.  In addition, leftovers for lunch reduces landfill waste from leftovers that turn into science experiments!  
  8. Commit to remembering those reusable grocery bags.  Be honest, do you remember to use them every trip?  I'll be seems that half the time I forget to take the reusable grocery bags into the store with me.  I don't know why I forget soon as I unload them, I take them back down to the car, so they are ready for reuse.  I have been getting better, and I really do prefer them over the plastic bags that slip and slide all over the car.  The reusable bags stand up nicely, have great handles, and hold more than the plastic bags, which means less trips up and down the stairs when unloading at home.  I'm going to work really hard at remembering them this year.  
  9. When you do forget to use your reusable grocery bags, be sure to either reuse the plastic bags, or recycle them.  We end up reusing the plastic bags for many things including as garbage can liners, and for cat litter disposal (I know, I know I should use eco-litter, but my cats doth protest and then pee where they shouldn't, and then I doth protest loudly).  When the bags are ripped an unusable, we recycle on the next trip to the grocery store (they get bagged up and put in the car so that I don't forget them.)
  10. Join an environmental group, follow an environmental blog, take an online environmental class,  or commit to being informed about eco-issues. 
In "a la carte fashion", choose what will work best for you, and what you can stick with for lasting change.  I hope you decide to give one or more of these ideas a try today, or in the future :)  Happy a la carte Earth Day 2012!


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