For Blog Action Day, I chose to list tangible, easy ways to help the environment. And after that is a list of statistics that will make you want to do something. We can't just sit back and whine....it's up to us to do something.
Don't use peat in your flower beds and vegetable gardens (peat is taken from ancient bog land, destroying some of our most precious wildlife areas). Instead, make your own compost with grass clippings and vegetable scraps from the house. Find out how to make your own compost.
Plant local species of trees. (Native! Native!)
Given how labor and water intensive maintaining a lawn can be, why not opt for a yard that's grass free? Here are some alternative ground covers that require little mowing or watering (before planting, check with a local nursery to make sure the option you choose can tolerate your local climate conditions):
Yarrow - withstands light foot-traffic and grows in poor, dry soil.
Alyssum - tolerates dry soil and is very attractive in bloom.
Thyme - grows low, spreads quickly, and offers colors ranging from light lemon yellow to deep grayish green; several types make for great ground covers.
Sweet Woodruff - loves shade, has slight, sweet fragrance, and sports fine white flowers when in bloom; not very tolerant of foot traffic.
Periwinkle - does best in shade; the very low-growing vine may feature either white or blue flowers.
Collect rainwater to water your flowers.
Use recycled paper. (I go one further...I used recycled paper for my printing, and when I am finished with it, I shred it and use it for the rats' bedding. Then I compost it. Three-time recycling!)
Take extra plastic and rubber pots back to the nursery.
Regular incandescent light bulbs are inefficient, with 90% of their energy going to generate heat not light. Replace standard lamps with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs -- they cost more per bulb but are far more efficient and last up to ten times longer.
- turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
- collect the water used to wash vegetables and salad to water your houseplants.
Feed the birds! Tuppence a bag! Birds are important indicators of environmental health and play a significant role in maintaining the earth's ecological balance--propagating plant life as pollinators and seed dispersers and controlling insect populations. Birds also bring beauty and enjoyment to our lives as one of the most accessible forms of wildlife. If their populations are in decline, it can mean that our natural resources are in trouble as well.
Have a dead tree in your yard? If it isn't in danger of falling on your house, let it alone!!!! More than 85 bird species in North America use dead and dying tree cavities to nest in. If they can't find a place to raise their young, where are they going to go?
Statistics that will make you think:
At 479 billion cubic meters, the total volume of water used annually in the United States could fill the Grand Canyon more than ten times.
More than 16,000 species of animals are at risk of extinction. Click here.
When you drive, you release 20 lbs. of carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas you burn.
A typical CFL uses only 25% of the electricity of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light, so if every U.S. household replaced its most heavily used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half. This would cut our annual carbon dioxide pollution by about 62.5 million tons, halting the growth in our country’s global warming pollution.
Number of people around the world who could be displaced by more intense droughts, sea level rise and flooding by 2080: 200 MILLION.
Number of federal bills passed to cap America's global warming pollution: ZERO.
The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can will operate a TV set for 3 hours.
1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate 20 acres of a lake, making the fish unfit to eat.
About 1% of U.S. landfill space is full of disposable diapers, which take 500 years to decompose.