Celebrating Earth Week

Time to celebrate! Time to get involved! Time to Restore and be Restored!
Friday, April 16th, kicked off Earth Week 2021, which runs through Earth Day on Thursday, April 22nd. This year’s official theme is “Together, We Can Restore Our Earth,” and activate change for good. In addition, National Parks Week runs from April 17 through April 25, with parks offering special programs, events and digital experiences focused on the natural world.

By having a weeklong celebration of the Earth allows students and all of us to spend more time learning about the environment and the challenges we face. It is a time to rethink how we do things, make adjustments and form decisions that will preserve, protect and positively impact our world. It is a global environmental coming together to activate change for good.

Earth Week allows companies, schools and individuals to celebrate and reaffirm their commitment to care for nature, plants, and the land. We rediscover that by doing so, we realize how integral that is for our own health and well being. Individual responsibility lies with each of us!  Whether it’s a healing walk through the woods, parks, beaches and canyons, picking up litter (while walking!), or buying more Earth-friendly products, we all can do our part to care for our planet and each other. 

Most years, Earth Day events range from river cleanups to removal of invasive plants. With social distancing still in place for many of us this April, Earth Day has gone digital with virtual events, environmental lectures and films. However we can still all go outside and enjoy nature, doing so responsibly. Nature is not canceled!
Check out your local listings for events and activities near you. To help get you started, here are 10 Earth Day activities and ideas from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

1. SUPPORT OUR POLLINATORS! 
Bring native bees and other pollinating creatures to your garden. Select plants that will attract them. Local nurseries can help you identify the right plants for your gardens. 

2. CLEAN UP PLASTIC IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD OR LOCAL PARK
One of the best ways to connect with the Earth is through cleanups! Go on a walk with a trash bag and help to clean up any plastic that you find. You’ll start to realize that plastic permeates every aspect of our lives. Think about ditching single use plastics and recycling those you do use. 

3. SWAP OUT YOUR KITCHEN AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS!
Think 100% recycled aluminum foil, chemical-free parchment paper for baking, compostable bags made with potato starch, and even vegetable-based inks for packaging.  Use cloth towels instead of throw away paper towels. Use reusable containers and covers instead of plastic wrap. Look for cooking and cleaning products that are biodegradable, without chemicals or plastic. It is great to see more companies offering these items.

4. PLANT A TREE!
Trees capture carbon, cool overheated places, benefit agriculture, support pollinators, reduce the risk of disease transmission, and boost local economies. Did you know that planting one oak tree brings in more insect and bird species than an entire yard of plants? Talk to your local government about planting more trees and native garden beds in public spaces or consider planting your own on your property! 

Another way to make a difference is to ditch printed catalogs. Contact the company and ask to be removed from their print list. Look to send digital greeting cards. And also, monitor what you print out. Is a hard copy really necessary? You will be surprised.

5. USE WILDFLOWERS AND NATIVE PLANTS
Wildflowers and indigenous species are not only beautiful but also attract native and beneficial insects that improve both pest control and pollination—meaning bigger flowers and bigger harvests. Try to simply add a couple of native plants to your garden each year, and you’ll be amazed at the difference—they’ll bring in pollinators as well as birds!

6. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE IN THE GARDEN
Caring about yourself and nature means being less wasteful and saving money, too. If you are a gardener, here are just a few ideas:
Buy in bulk when you know that you’ll need a lot of topsoil, mulch, compost, or other materials. This cuts down on plastic bags. Also check with your city recycling center or Department of Transportation—they might offer free compost, soil, sand, or other materials.
Reuse, recycle, or return old plastic pots and trays.

7. STOP PESTICIDES AND CHEMICALS IN THE GARDEN
Start growing without chemicals or pesticides—in a way that works and even saves money. Much of this is simply about focusing less on the plant and more on the health of the soil that supports the plant. If it’s nutrient-rich with organic matter, plants thrive. 
You don’t need chemicals to get rid of pesky garden pests: Companion planting, natural remedies, and attracting predators to your garden can save you money and also save your plants. Some bugs are good for the garden! Check with your local nursery for the right ones for you.
Use an organic plant fertilizer—made from just weeds and water. 
Gardening and farming methods such as not tilling the soil, growing cover crops during the off-season, and rotating crops (and grazing) help to retain organic materials in the soil.

8. CONSERVE WATER!
We waste a lot of water. Improve plants health by avoiding overwatering. Water your garden vegetables and plants at soil level, not overhead, which invites fungal disease. Consider setting up sprinklers on timers or convert from sprinklers to a drip system. Harvest your rainwater from a roof, gutters, and sky with a rain barrel.  If you have a low-lying area, consider planting a rain garden, which captures runoff, filters out pollutants, and provides food and shelter for butterflies, songbirds, and other wildlife. 

9. THINK ABOUT YOUR DIET!
About one-third of the food that we produce every year goes to waste annually! Usually, this happens after we buy the food. How do we avoid waste in our own lives (and save money)? How can we improve our diet so that it’s healthier for ourselves (and the planet)? One way is to care about your “foodprint,” which is the result of everything that it takes to get your food from the farm to your plate. Think local farmers markets, think plant based, think about buying what is fresh and in season.

10. GET KIDS INVOLVED!
Pass down a love of nature and plants to kids. There are so many ways to actively involve children. As the weather continues to warm up and we spend more time outdoors, it is the perfect opportunity to garden, enjoy the fresh air and nature, get your hands dirty, and watch the flowers and vegetables grow.

Here’s to Celebrating Earth Week!

With Light and Love and deep Appreciation and Respect for you and our Earth,
Karen

 

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