The Essence of Living Green
My children love the outdoors, because my wife and I expose them to it. They also love computers, and I am sure if we exposed them to fast foods they would love that as well. It’s all about making good choices and being a good example. I’m not talking about wearing hemp clothing or eating granola all day long although there are those who do. You do not have to be that committed to be a part of the “Green Initiative”. For those who merely have a healthy respect for the world we live in and want to take action to help improve the environment, there are many simple changes that we can make, and teach our children to do the same.
There is more to recycling than paper, plastic and bottles. Organic waste is one of the largest contributors to landfills which causes methane gas, the principle component of natural gas, is released into the atmosphere and is a contributing factor in the depletion of the ozone layer, which in turn plays a major part in global warming. Organic waste such as leaves, grass clippings, and non-animal food scraps do not decompose efficiently enough in landfills yet makes the best compost for your vegetable garden, flowers, trees and shrubs.
Composting is Easy
Composting can also be fun, especially if you enjoy gardening, and are even more rewarding when you think about the thousands of acres of open space being saved through the very simple practice of recycling and composting. All good gardeners know that there is nothing better for your plants and turf than good old fashioned hand made compost. There are many different types of composters on the market today that make the task of composting very easy and will protect against attracting stray or wild animals. You can even quicken the process of making compost by using safe and organic composting accelerators giving you compost within a few weeks.
Use Organic Products
Using organic fertilizers and control products also cuts down on soil, air and ground water pollution. Sure it’s easy to buy a bag of name brand fertilizer or pesticide; however it is just as easy to find organic products now more than ever. In fact, it is also just as cheap. The larger name brand companies are beginning to put out their own lines of organic gardening products, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Rather than spraying for insects which would be both timely and costly, install a bat box or two in your trees and let them take care of the bugs for you! Adding ladybugs or praying mantis to your garden is much more fun than spraying weekly for bugs. If you live in a rural area and zoning allows for livestock, chickens are an amazing bug control. Yes, just a couple of chickens running loose in your yard will eat up to 1 million fleas and ticks daily.
Where droughts are prevalent each year conserving water is a must. Watering your yard can account for up to 40of water consumption. Catching rainwater with rain barrels to water your yard or garden is just as easy as dragging out your hose and will save you a substantial amount of money on your water bill. One 80 gallon rain barrel can capture 3,275 gallons of water per year and you’ll be putting the water back into the underground aquifer. Not routing rainwater from your roof to your garden will only serve to tax drainage systems rather than benefit vegetation or replenish natural, underground aquifers.
Most rain barrels are made from either 100recycled plastic or reused food industry barrels, so either way you will also be putting renewable resources to good use and your plants and flowers will thank you for it.
Plant a Tree
Every tree planted helps remove CO2 from our atmosphere, depletion of the ozone layer. There are many other benefits to growing trees in your own yard or community for that matter. They provide homes and a safe haven for the many wild animals that still reside among us. Mature trees help shade our home from the sun, cutting down on energy consumption when using air conditioning. One of the more proactive and well established non-profit organizations is the Arbor Day Foundation which encourages the planting and care of trees worldwide.
Pervious Patios and Walkways
For every 1,000 square feet of pervious patio, driveways or walkways, you can prevent an average of 12,100 gallons of storm water runoff from going into your communities drain system. This same water will help to recharge our lakes, wetlands and groundwater.
Make a List
There are many changes that you can to help improve our environment. Gather everyone in your household and discuss how your family can contribute to the health of the world we live in. Children are the most receptive to new ideas and will have a lot of fun making their own top ten lists. By making good choices today, our children will make even better choices tomorrow.
About the Author
Mark Pappas writes articles about sustainable outdoor living and is co-owner of GreenNationGardens.com which hosts sustainable outdoor living products.