45th ANNIVERSARY OF EARTH DAY

Posted: April 22, 2015 in Rhode Island, Southern New England, Uncategorized
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I remember when Earth Day was first organized…the enthusiasm we all had to do our part to get our neighborhoods clean. For years, our radio station sponsored Earth Day clean-ups all over southern New England, and we got a firsthand look at just how badly we treat the environment around us, and how we could make a difference.

Today, it seems that Earth Day is simply something on a calendar.

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For me, Earth Day is the real start of spring. I think about the new growing season and the things I can do in my own backyard to help the planet, even on a very small scale.

 

COMPOST!

If you’ve got a corner in your yard big enough to hold a trash can, you can compost. Now, you’ll never get that “ultimate” compost pile you read about, steam rising out of a pile that’s cooking away, producing usable compost in just a few months. Even the pros really need to work hard to make that happen. But…you can get the pile to warm up and become a happy haven for a colony of worms that will gladly eat your kitchen scraps and make wonderful soil for you in return. And it’ll take about a year to get usable compost.

I have a small metal can with a lid under my kitchen sink and I toss all fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells and used coffee grounds into it–no meat products. When the can is full, I bring it out to my compost bins. Successful backyard composting requires a certain amount of “green” products (the kitchen scraps) and some “brown” products (leaves, newspaper, cardboard, saw dust.) Combined, they heat up and eventually break down into nice brown and crumbly organic matter  to be used in the garden. Leaves are the ultimate compost material, but to get them to break down properly, they need to be shredded first. (I use a leaf blower.)

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MULCH!

Spreading mulch on your garden means less weeding (as long as you use weed-free mulch!) Less weeding means no need for nasty weed killers. Mulching also helps the soil retain water, which means you don’t have to be out there with a garden hose every day.

 

KEEP IT ORGANIC!

No how matter how small a garden you have, you can make a real difference by laying off the pesticides and herbicides. Not only will the beneficial insects around “bee” happy, but you’ll be feeding your family healthy fruits and vegetables without harmful chemicals. And there’s no runoff of toxins that wind up in the water, either.

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LESS GRASS, MORE MEADOW

Golf courses are already poisoning the environment with an overload of chemicals. Why should you? I stopped fertilizing and spraying my lawn a long time ago. You know what happened? It’s still green. And in some areas, I replaced the grass with perennial flowers and grasses. You know what happened? I had less lawn to cut. And the toughest thing for me was to let dandelions grow in my yard. There’s something about those yellow flowers that I can’t stand. But they help the bees. Priorities.

 

PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!

Dog feces on our streets is the #1 polluter of our waters. Most of the storm water that washes our streets clean ends up in the ocean completely untreated. If you’re a dog owner, one of the most significant things you can do is pick up after your dog and dispose of the poop in your trash. I had a teacher that used the phrase: “Every curb is a coastline.” She’s absolutely right.

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SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ORGANIC FARMER!

Organic farmers are a special breed. They work twice as hard to sometimes get half as much. But it’s worth it to them because they believe in maintaining a natural balance in their world. Organic fruits and veggies are not always as “pretty” as those grown conventionally, but they’re not genetically modified, showered with Round-Up or sprayed with dyes, either.

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All photos by me. Location: Earth.

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