Ever since we celebrated Earth Day just a few weeks ago, we’ve been extra-inspired to do more to help the environment. So in this special edition of Hangin’ Out, let’s think about the things we can do at home to improve our relationship with Mother Earth. We’ll get our hands dirty with some eco-friendly hobbies, and review some household habits that help to save the earth.
In case you missed it, check out our post about making
Every Day Earth Day!
The Dirt On Composting
Nearly one quarter of all landfill waste is organic matter like food scraps and yard trimmings. By composting we can reduce the land being used to store trash as well as the greenhouse gases produced by those landfills. But the benefits of composting go beyond this. The enriched soil provides benefits back to our gardens and local communities. It improves soil health, which promotes healthier plants, conserves water and prevents erosion. So not only do we reduce our carbon footprint via composting, but we also directly strengthen the environment around us. Win-win!
Granted, composting does take a little bit of effort and space. However, everybody can get involved in this earth-saving process. If you own a house and have a yard, you can request organic material pick-up, just like recycling. Or you can even create your own compost pile if you have gardens in which to use the soil. If you live in an apartment, save your food scraps in a compost container like the one to the right. Then you can take this waste to a local composting center which will create the compost to be used in your community. And if you have the time, you may even be able to volunteer at the composting co-op near you!
To understand a bit more about composting and how easy it is to get started at home, check out this video:
1 Tablespoon of soil has more organisms in it than there are people on earth!
Planting For Progress
Benefits of Gardening
Even if you think you don’t have a green thumb, this activity is good for you and the environment. For an individual, gardening can help build strength, provide aerobic exercise, boost mood and reduce stress. When done with others, working on a garden fosters human connections and purpose. Flowering plants provide nectar to insects, which are a vital link in the natural food chain. Additionally, if you grow a garden full of herbs, fruits and vegetables, you’ll have fresh produce to eat!
Why bees are so important…
Bees – particularly honey bees – are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. Approximately one-third of the world’s food production depends on bees… That’s one out of every three bites you take! Moreover, they pollinate wild plants, too. This means they are critical to the reproduction of a vast range of plants, and to the survival of all the organisms -including humans- that rely on those plants for food.
On top of the benefits above, growing vegetables at home helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Even if you can’t grow an abundance, it is fun hobby and every little bit helps the environment. Check out this video to see just how easy it can be to start growing veggies like lettuce at home:
Here are some other products we like that can help you find your green thumb easily and quickly:
Every pound of homegrown produce saves nearly 2 pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere due to the growing & shipping of industrial argiculture.
Drought Resistant Gardens
Although it may not seem like it, you can grow a garden even if you live in an area with limited water. Your dry weather garden or lawn may not be ultra-lush but it can still be beautiful. You just have to pick the appropriate dry-climate plants. This typically means growing cacti and other succulents. These are great because they require very little water, yet provide a creative yet natural flair to your yard or patio garden. And it turns out they are fairly simple to propagate. So you can easily increase the size of your garden and even share some with friends! Here’s a useful video we found about cactus propagation:
Water Conservation Is Easy
Nearly 75% of the planet is covered in water… about 326 million cubic miles of it! Remarkably however, only 0.5% of this is fresh and actually available for use! Additionally, that water is for ALL plants and animals on land, not just humans. So although we may not realize it, the fresh water available to us is indeed a rare and valuable resource. Because of this, we should each do our part to conserve water. Not only does this reduce our water bills, but it avoids excess water pollution and processing, and leaves resources available to nature. There are many ways to save water each day, and they’re easy to start today.
The easiest way to save water is to simply turn off the tap. Don’t leave water running while you are scrubbing dishes, brushing your teeth, washing hands or lathering in the shower. To further increase conservation, install water-saving aerators on your faucets. Similarly, you can install low-flush/high-efficiency toilets. Also consider reducing the times you flush per day… By all means, flush after taking a number two, but after a number one, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow“.
Refilling a half-liter water bottle 1,740 times with tap water is the equivalent cost of a 99 cent water bottle at a convenience store.
Be sure to Reduce and Re-use!
Shockingly, up to 50% of water is lost through leaks in cities throughout the developing world. Do your part to prevent this by immediately fix any leaks you find. (Pssst… This includes a leaky gasket inside your toilet, which can be sneaky since it does not leave a puddle on the floor.)
If you are a home or business owner, there is even more you can do. Purchase barrels designed to catch and store rain so you can use it for gardening. Use a water-saving nozzle that allows you to easily stop the flow while you are not actively watering the lawn or rinsing the car. Also, swap out your appliances for Energy Star certified ones in order to save water and power; a double-bonus for the environment and your wallet!
Especially, for you business owners out there: update all plumbing fixtures to be water-efficient. Since your facilities are used many times a day by employees and patrons, the impact you can make is tremendous. And if you have the means, look at using water-conserving and energy-saving green decor like living walls and roofs.
Here’s a cool way that everybody can make a living wall decoration:
As you can see, there are many different activities and actions we can take -on our own and with our friends and families- to help preserve our planet. We hope you can join us in taking steps to making all our homes “green homes”.
Let us know your favorite way to hang out! We’d love to hear about all the fun and meaningful ways you stay connected with your friends, family and the world.
Drop a note in comments below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.