One of the things you can do to keep the environment healthy is to change the area around you in a positive way.
Here are some of things I’ve found that are either easy for most people to do or if not easy are cool and a lot of fun!
Picking up litter
Something that pretty much anyone can do is to help clean up the trash and litter around the area you live in. Most people don’t have to travel too far from their homes to find an area where people have thrown their trash and left it laying around. Many areas have Adopt–A–Road Programs also where you can volunteer to help keep a stretch of highway clean from debris and litter. Individuals or groups are eligible, but an adult may be required to be present.
Composting, technically, is the aerobic decomposition of biodegradable organic matter or more simply it is the decaying of food, mostly vegetables and fruit. The end result – compost – is an extremely useful humus-like, soil which is great to use to increase the soil quality in a vegetable or flower garden. Items that can be composted include vegetable and fruit peelings and waste, leaves, grass clippings, sawdust and wood chips.
While composting may be difficult for people who live in apartments, for those who have a little bit of land it is a rather easy thing to do to help reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. For more information on composting see:
Get a Certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat
Another great thing to do is to get your backyard Certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. They have step-by-step instructions on their web site. Basically, you have to provide a few things for wildlife in your area:
- food sources
- water sources
- places for cover
- places to raise young and
- maintain your landscape in an environmentally friendly way
Its much easier than it sounds! It’s a great way to teach kids about wildlife too and something you can do together with your kids. They have certifications for schools, businesses and churches too.
I’ve been really excited about this program for years, but I’ll admit I’ve not yet got around to actually doing it. So this will be the thing I will pledge to do this Earthday. And I’m saying it here publically – so anyone reading has to hold me to it!
The National Wildlife Federation has a presence on many social media web sites too – I’m sure you can ask them questions about the program there:
Butterfly and Native Plant Gardening
This is one my special personal interests. I even have a web site and blog about it! Butterfly gardening has been one of the most intellectually and spiritually satisfying things I’ve ever done. Gardening is a great way to get fresh air and exercise too – and it is also very relaxing once you have created a beautiful garden for butterflies and other wildlife to enjoy.
Butterfly gardening basically consists of growing two general categories of plants – host plants and nectar sources. Host plants are the ones that the adults lay eggs on and their babies eat. Each species of butterfly has only one or a few plants that it can lay eggs on. So, the presence of the proper host plants for each species of butterfly native to your area is absolutely necessary for the butterfly to continue to reproduce and exist.
Nectar sources are the plants that the adults feed on – although not all adult butterflies feed on flower nectar.
In general, planting lots of plants and trees native to your area is good for the ecosystem. So many species depend upon the presence of these plants for their food and shelter. And really, creating a butterfly garden pretty much satisfies most of the requirements for a backyard habitat as mentioned above. (And really means I have no excuse for not getting our yard certified!)
So, I plead, get down on my knees and beg to you to please try to do just this one thing, if nothing else: when buying flowers or other plants for your yard – please try to choose at least some that are native to your area!
And I must now stop or I could go on forever about butterfly gardening. Please visit my site or blog above if I haven’t bored you to tears already and you want to learn more!
Come back tomorrow for my next post in this Earthday series: Extend the use of the items you use and buy
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