Happy Earth Day 2019! In my zone 5 garden, Spring is just beginning. I feel an enormous sense of optimism and possibility for this year.
That’s good because there is much work to do. Scientists now tell us that we have about 11 years to half our carbon emissions in order to avoid “climate catastrophe”. Yikes. Time to get busy.
Its all hands on deck everyone. Government and corporations need to do their part, but so do individuals. You may be struggling with knowing what to do. The good news is that there is a lot you can do. I have compiled a list of 11 ways you can slow climate change and improve the Earth from your own backyard.
- Compost. Because landfills do not have enough oxygen to decompose food waste normally, they give off carbon dioxide and methane gases. These are two greenhouse gases that make the Earth hotter. By creating a simple compost pile of food scraps that can decompose with some leaves or garden material in your backyard, your landfill trash footprint will become smaller and less destructive.
- Use organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are not made from fossil fuels like mainstream fertilizers are. Organic fertilizers are better for your soil and are slow release, which means they will be working for the entire growing season. See my article on organic fertilizers.
- Stop using pesticides or herbicides. They damage our ecosystems, harm our bees and pollinators, and likely harm ourselves. There is always another option. Subscribe to my blog for ways to avoid the pesticides.
- Stop tilling your soil (this includes rototillers.) Tilling ruins soil quality, kills microorganisms and earthworms in the soil necessary for healthy plants, and emits carbon. No-till methods are easier than you think, improve your soil and emit less carbon.
- Reduce or eliminate your plastic use. Plastic has two sins. First it is made with fossil fuels. Second, once it is made, plastic can never decompose and “go away”. It degrades and becomes smaller, but stays in our environment. Or it ends up in our oceans.
- Reduce your grass or plant eco-grass. Grass requires mowing and drinks up large amounts of water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, hour-for-hour, gas-powered lawn mowers produce 11 times as much pollution as a new car. Mow less often and consider other lawn mowers that emit less carbon, such as push reel and electric models.
- Stop using leaf blowers. They emit huge amount of pollutants. Consider this: the types of air pollutants emitted when using a gasoline-powered leaf blower for half an hour are equivalent to those emitted from 440 miles of automobile travel at 30mph average speed. Get a rake instead–its good exercise too.
- Reduce your water consumption. Can you water less? By adding compost and mulch to your planting beds, your plants will be able to hold onto water longer. Choose plants that that are drought tolerant.
- Plant trees. The more the better. Trees absorb carbon dioxide. Check out my article on trees that are good for bees.
- Plant for the bees, other pollinators and wildlife. Something I talk a lot about here. Subscribe to my blog. Stay tuned for lots more information about this.
- Get political. Last, but not least. There is much work to be done at the local, state, and national level. Pick a nature issue that you feel strongly about and get involved.
I can’t wait to dig into these topics this year. Stay tuned and enjoy the day!
What will you be doing?