Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Disclaimer: I am aware that not all gardeners are environmentalists. I am. If Al Gore and sentiments such as "save the whales" annoy you, you probably will not enjoy this post. That's ok: I probably don't agree with everything you believe in either, and that doesn't mean we can't be friends. I hope you'll be back to visit another time.
Happy Earth Day 2009! For Earth Day this year, we planted a pink dogwood. Scott dug the hole just as deep and twice as wide as the container the tree came in. Then we mixed in some compost with the native soil, loosened the root ball, planted and mulched the tree. We even took the grass Scott dug up to make the hole for the tree and replanted it in a bare spot in the lawn.

This is a good day to celebrate what you do that's good for the Earth, and make a list of things you would like to do better. There is a fantastic article in this month's National Wildlife Federation magazine called "How Green is Your Garden?" We all know that planting drought-tolerant, native species is good, and chemical fertilizers are bad. This article goes much further, and I highly recommend it if you can get your hands on the magazine.

Ten things we do (or don't do) that make the Earth happy:

  • We compost or recycle almost all of our "trash"

  • We mulch to conserve water

  • We use fallen limbs for plant supports

  • The only chemical I use in the yard or garden is Roundup for Poison Ivy/Oak

  • I use integrated pest management in the garden

  • We provide food, water and shelter for birds

  • We buy recycled toilet paper and paper towels

  • We unplug the toaster when it's not in use

  • I'm a vegetarian (I know the effects of meat production on the environment are controversial, and I'm not looking for a fight. My main reason for being a veg is that I love animals and don't want to eat them!)

  • We have low-flow showerheads (and they are actually awesome!)

Six (of many) things I need to work on:

  • Buying locally-grown produce/supporting local farmers

  • Easy energy conservation: installing more weather-stripping, unplugging more things that aren't being regularly used ("energy vampires")

  • Being responsible with my plant choices. Not-so-angry-redhead had a great post about responsible tree choices recently.

  • Conserving water

  • Tending my compost piles more, so I'll get more compost and have to buy fewer soil amendments

  • Generally consuming less (when it comes to gardening, but also in general). This was a big part of the NWF article. I am going to make a concerted effort to buy good quality gardening tools that won't need to be replaced as often, and use found items or other things I already have when possible.

What do you already do or plan to do that makes Earth happy?


Susie said...

Hi Ginger,

I liked this post much. If we quit taking care of our home(earth) I'm afraid it will cease to take care of us.

I have to admit I didn't really do anything different today but I already adhere to several things on your list. Thanks for great ideas.

Ginger said...

I'm glad you liked it! You really can't predict how people will feel about this subject. Felder Rushing has a column in today's C-L about not assuming he's "green" just because he's a gardener. On the other hand, I started a recycling program at my old office and it was pretty roundly ignored/mocked as a "hippie" thing for awhile, then one day a very non-hippie woman came and apologized for mocking/ignoring the program. She said she had an ephiphany in church that Sunday and realized that doing things like recycling was taking care of the planet that God created, and that was something she definitely wanted to do! It was neat, and gave me hope.

Heather said...

Well said Ginger! I eat meat but all the others are things I am trying to implement in our home. We are working on eating locally grown and feeding locally grown to our animals. The thought of such a close to home cycle is something I find fascinating. If only every one cared a little, and few cared a lot, the world would possibly save itself. happy earth day!

Ginger said...

Thanks, Heather! I debated about putting the vegetarian detail in there, but then I thought about what you said on my egg decorating post about how each person's blog should really be a reflection of who they are and what they like! My husband is a carnivore, so it's not like I think eating meat is immoral or anything! It's just not for me :) I definitely agree with you that there are ways to be a more environmentally-responsible meat producer and eater.

I also agree with you that every little bit helps!

mlc said...

Happy earth day every day. Like you, I would like us gardeners to be a little bit more earth friendly. Congrats on quality content on good writing. I hate to add yet another southern gardening blog to my list...but.....Hmmm.
Should Bilbo get sent north, I hope he comes during one of our warm spells. LOL.

Me said...

HAppy belated Earth Day :)

Becca's Dirt said...

Hey Ginger - What a great post. Planting a tree was real nice for Earth Day. I like the list of things you do to help our earth. I need to incorporate some of those into my life/home. Thanks for all the ideas. Happy Gardening... Becca

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi Ginger, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and could not really understand if or why anyone would choose to be offended, no matter what their position is on the issue! How could anyone (who loves gardening)--whether they consider themselves 'green' or not--allow themselves to feel offended when everything you discuss represents taking care of our earth? We have all been 'hearing' messages about 'living green' for decades...and I'll be the first to admit, I am not very 'green'! Yet, I am learning every time I read something new, and in small ways, beginning to incorporate new perspectives into my thinking. Since this fits so well for the 2010 sustainablity project I'm having on my blog, I think you ought to include it. Just change the title, and republish it with a slight change of info. OR, take this post and insert it into a new one, so you can keep this one as the original. Just mention earth day 2010, the project I'm having, and link it on my blog. I'll put it on the list of participants. I don't think you can say the same thing too many times. If you wrote the same thing every year it would still be interesting, and helpful! So many people don't have a clue when earth day is, or why they should care. I hope you will add it...and thanks for letting me know about it. I'm impressed by your efforts and your commitment to carrying out these things. I have a long way to go, personally;-/ Jan