Last Friday marked the 46th official celebration of Earth Day, a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people across the globe to action on world environmental issues.
We’re a week late mentioning it—on purpose.
“We love Earth Day. We love it so much, we celebrate it every day,” Marc Wise, founder and owner of Greenwise Organic Lawn Care (www.iamgreenwise.com), said. “And we want you to, as well: It’s easier than you may realize to make a few simple changes that—collectively—have a huge impact on being good environmental stewards of our planet.”
While there are a wide range of ways– from cycling, to recycling– that people can help make Earth Day every day, Wise points to 5 simple steps we can take right away to ‘lighten our footprint and help save the planet right in our own backyards’:
1. Switch to Organic Lawn Care
Organics are safe, effective, affordable, and easy to use. As people learn how damaging and toxic chemical herbicides and pesticides are, they’re quickly being banned across North America and Europe. The liability of having a toxic environment outweighs any benefits chemical treatments may offer. Chemical lawn care is a way of the past and just not worth the risk.
“Organic lawn care supports everything with roots under your turf,” Wise said. “In doing so, it creates healthy soil, retains water and nutrition, and reduces drainage issues, filter contaminants, cools your home, and fosters a healthy ecosystem.”
2. Insist on Sustainable Landscape Design
Sustainable means accomplishing today’s goal while protecting the earth for tomorrow. Sustainable, or green landscaping, is a way of designing and maintaining yards, gardens and landscapes to reduce harm to the environment. Sustainable landscaping provides healthier places to work, live, and play, and save time and money by offering reduced maintenance. Sustainable landscaping means smart landscaping. Smart landscapers evaluate ecological components of every site, select locally sourced materials and energy efficient materials, and extend the useful life of materials through reuse and recycling.
3. Incorporate Storm Water Management
Gallons of rain water go to waste as run-off from storms each year. When rain falls hard on a surface too impermeable to handle it, the water runs off into the sewers or floods homes. To make matters worse, the run-off often collects toxins as it flows into lakes, rivers and other potential sources of drinking water. By incorporating water-absorbing and habitat-friendly landscaping practices in their yards, homeowners can help manage flooding, reduce water waste and protect the drinking water table. Effective storm water solutions also may include the use of permeable paving, rain gardens and rain collection systems to direct runoff and maximize water usage on site.
4. Use Mulch
Mulch makes garden beds and tree rings look fantastic. But beyond improving a property’s aesthetic quality, mulch offers an amazing array of environmental benefits.
In addition, mulch:
- Reduces evaporation from soil surface, cutting water use by 25% to 50%;
- Organic mulches promote soil microorganism activity, which in turn, improves soil health and helps lessen soil compaction;
- Stabilizes soil moisture;
- Prevents soil compaction;
- Controls weeds, which rob soil moisture;
- Moderates soil temperature extremes;
- Controls erosion.
5. Embrace Composting:
Each year billions of pounds of food and plant material, such as grass clippings, are needlessly thrown away, ending up in landfills. In fact, more than one third of all food produced around the world for human consumption is wasted every year. One way to reduce this waste is by composting. Composting is a biological process during which naturally occurring microorganisms, bacteria and insects, break down organic materials such as leaves, grass clippings and certain kitchen scraps into a soil-like product called compost. It is a form of recycling—a natural way of returning needed nutrients to the soil. Cutting down on waste while adding nourishment to your garden for healthy soil and plants makes good sense.