Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Every Little Bit Helps



Do you ever wonder how much effort you would have to put into your gardens to make a positive difference on the environment and climate change?  What if I told you that "every little bit helps"?  Last fall I participated in Blog Action Day 2009, which focused on Climate Change. This month Jan over at Thanks for Today is encouraging all of us gardeners to participate in her "Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living" project, and I hope that all of you do!  As more of the world tries to live more sustainably, even some of the most powerful voices on earth are bringing us new ideas.  Last week at TED 2010, Bill Gates himself announced that his top priority out of everything is to get the world to zero climate emissions. That is an immensely bold statement, and goal for our world.  The Worldchanging blog has a post on this with all the details.

What I wrote last year about how we can help still holds true for myself and all other gardeners out there, so here they are again.  There are millions, maybe even billions of people who call themselves "gardeners" here on earth. If each and every one of those people changed just one thing in how they garden, think of the profound effect it would make on helping to reduce global warming and environmental damage.

What would some of those things be? Things as simple as:
  • composting yard waste instead of putting it out to the trash,
  • watering your gardens and landscapes one less day per week or month,
  • watering only when and where your plants need it,
  • using soaker hoses or drip irrigation instead of sprinklers,
  • growing your own food (even a little) instead of buying it at the store,
  • leaving your grass clippings on the lawn instead of bagging them and putting them in the trash,
  • accepting that the perfect lawn, flower or garden does not need herbicides, pesticides, or artificial fertilizers,
  • using the rain that falls naturally from the sky to water your gardens instead of sending it down the sewers and into the streets,
  • planting flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees that provide nectar for the pollinators of the planet,
  • most of all, remembering to reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose.
What if you already do all of these things? Well, be proud of yourself, as you are being a good steward of the earth. And the most important thing you could do next would be to convince just one other person to garden as you do. After all, gardeners help many things, including people, to grow.

Remember, every little bit helps, so get out and start doing it!

P.S. Please remember that this year Earth Day is Thursday, April 22nd.  Do something good for the earth that day, and every day!  Check out Earth Day 2010 for events in your area and lists of things you can do to help out Mother Nature.

21 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, Kathy! I am so thrilled every time I meet someone else who says "If each of us did just one thing" because we really could make a huge benefit for the environment if we did just that. And sometimes we need to spread the word by convincing just one more person to garden as we do. That's how change will happen: one gardener and one garden at a time. Keep up the good fight!

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  2. Thanks so much for reminding us all that our actions DO make a difference. Please allow me to recommend a seminal work by Doug Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens. This is a fascinating and empowering read. If you want to understand, or need to explain to others, how plant/amimal co-dependence really works, and why we need biodiversity, it is a must have! Happy Gardening!

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  3. I am reminded of the time in the 1960's when my mother, reading about Organic Gardening, decided to join the trend. She bought a popular book, read it and snorted, 'Why, Organic Gardening is what I've been doing all along. I just didn't know it had a name!'

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  4. Excellent post! Just think of what we could all do together just by practicing all of these.

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  5. I forgot to come back to my original reason for recommending Tallamy's book in the context of this particular post. It is this: he explains the critical importance of the collective work of individual gardeners, whether they have large or small spaces to work in. We matter!

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  6. @cleangreennatives - Thanks for visiting and the comments. I have Tallamy's book, and recommend it to many people, I even have it listed on my sidebar as a great read. Yes, we really all do matter, and not just in our gardens, but in our daily lives.

    Kathy

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  7. Kathy,
    A wonderful post! And, this project is such a wonderful way to educate ourselves as well as others. If each gardener could adopt and refine the principles of sustainable gardening, we can improve the environment for people, wildlife, and plants.

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  8. Nice post Kathy. I'm going to check out Jan's project. How about adding to that list - accepting the IMPERFECT lawn/flower bed/etc. Let the insects have a little as well. :-)

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  9. The one that people out here in the Arizona desert need to concentrate on is watering when your plants need it...so many over-water. Great post with lots of great tips.

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  10. If nothing else, in our town, we are the crazy people, who leave the 'weeds' standing, have a pond full of NOISY frogs, and we LIKE our snakes. Like I said. Crazy!

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  11. Great post. I, too, truly believe every little thing helps.

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  12. That's a great post. You made me realize I am doing much more than I thought. There is always room for improvement. People don't realize how simple it is. Thanks for reminding us.

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  13. To really go for sustainability, we got to do it consciously. The "do list" you had put down, are easy things people can try... sustainability is attainable I think.... ~bangchik

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  14. Thank you for your wonderful post! I love how you've outlined some 'do-able' actions that everyone can try...and if they can't do all of them, they can do some! I am able to see so clearly from your post how easy it can be. These things are exactly what I think of now when I hear the word 'sustainable'. Things I don't already do are on my 'to do' list, and you've shown how straight forward most of them can be. Thanks for your participation!

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  15. This sounds great... thanks for the info!

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  16. Hello Kathy!
    You are writing wisley. In Sweden we have come quite far in environmental thinking. We all must work together to halt global warmning of the Earth! /Anja

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  17. Hi Kathy, so true. I started gardening by removing lawn, bit by bit, year by year. Most of it is gone. In its place are flowers that attract pollinators and plots that grow veggies. I am limited in space, but last year I removed and donated some shrub roses and have been improving the soil. This year it will grow potatoes. Prevention magazine listed commercial potatoes as one of the 7 foods not to eat. Ugh! Must grow my own!

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  18. Hello. I just joined the Nature Blog Network and am enjoying visiting the backyard blogs.

    Yes, Tallamy's book is most excellent. Since reading it, I've been "gardening for the insects."

    Another great book is Win-Win Ecology by Dr. Michael Rosenzweig, an evolutionary biologist at University of Arizona. He talks about reconciliation ecology, which is "redesigning anthropogenic habitats so that their use is compatible with use by a broad array of other species." In other words, ecological gardens.

    He also explains species-area relationship in a very clear, non-scientific way. If everyone gardened ecologically, all our gardens would knit with conservation areas to huge eco-system benefit!

    My blog is at . Come by and visit some time for a view from the Chicago area.

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  19. Sorry about trying to post my blog address. Didn't realize it would be disabled.

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  20. I see we both used the same title for Jan's project and lots of the ideas you mention, I also mentioned.

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  21. Crafty Gardener - I guess "great minds" think alike :-) Since I posted my entry two months ago, I must have channeled something good to you! Thanks for visiting.

    Kathy

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