Earth Day began in 1970. It was founded in the United States by Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, but is now celebrated in many countries around the world. It's a day to teach and learn about how to live green and be environmentally friendly. I've always been conscious about doing my part for the environment, even back when it was considered a weird hippie type thing. (But I was a charter subscriber to Mother Earth News and was probably considered a weird hippie type girl. It all fits.)
Since today is Earth Day I thought it would be a good idea to think about and share some of the things I do to help out Mother Earth. It is my hope that more and more people will do something, not just for Earth Day, but every day in taking care of our planet. If we don't take action, who will? What kind of things do you do to decrease your environmental footprint?
Here are some of the things we do at our house:
-- Recycle as much as possible. I always used to say that my grandparents were the original recyclers. And I think this is true of many people who lived through The Great Depression. My grandparents had gotten married in May and my grandmother was pregnant with my Mom when the stock market crashed in October 1929. Recycling was economically essential.
-- Garden. I grow many herbs and lots of vegetables and flowers, all organically.
-- Compost. This is something my Mom was doing even back in the 1960s.
-- Turn off the lights, television, etc. when we are not in the room. My Papa was a stickler for this when I was growing up.
-- Use re-usable canvas shopping bags. They live in the trunk of my car so that they are always available when I go to the market.
-- Switched to spiral fluorescent light bulbs in as many fixtures as possible.
-- Belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and get a box of organically grown local produce and free-range eggs every week.
-- Pay bills electronically and stopped getting my actual cheques returned to me in my monthly bank statement.
-- Bought travel mugs that we use to get coffee when we go to Starbucks and a stainless steel bottle to carry with me for water.
-- Stopped eating red meat (in 1984) and when we eat fish or poultry, try to use what is locally produced whenever possible.
-- Leave the doors and windows open as much as possible so as not to run the air conditioner. This is a challenge in the deep south.
-- Consolidate errands and plan the route to reduce fuel use.
-- Purchase grains, seeds, flour, coffee, etc. in bulk from our local health food stores, so as not to be a consumer of excess packaging.
-- Forage when feasible. Remember Euell Gibbons? My grandmother and her friends used to forage for asparagus every spring. Watercress is readily available in many streams and creeks around here. Morels and fiddleheads can be found now, too, but fiddleheads are much farther north. Berries are available in the summer and nuts are plentiful in the fall. Just BE SURE you ask permission from landowners before foraging on property that is not yours. And never take all of anything. We want it to come back the next year.
-- Wear natural fibre clothing, rather than fabrics that are man made.
-- Purchase items made from recycled plastic, paper, etc, whenever they are available.
-- Mulch outdoor plants and use indigenous plants when possible to reduce water requirements.
-- Have a house with no lawn. Requires no mowing, fertilizers, etc.
-- Don't litter.
-- Encourage our highway department to plant native wildflowers along roadways to remove the necessity of mowing.
-- Have not renewed subscriptions to many magazines. I read the online versions.
-- Planted a number of different fruit and nut trees at the farm. Not only are these better fresh picked, we don't have to buy ones that have been shipped from elsewhere.
-- Can, pickle, dry and preserve our own fruits and vegetables. I was helping my grandmother do this when I had to stand on a stool to reach the counter. Back then my job was mostly peeling the tomatoes and peaches, but I learned other aspects of food preservation as I got older.
-- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
-- Rinse all my laundry in cold water.
I know there are more things, but these are what I can come up with at the moment.
'cause this isn't good
Happy Earth Day