Toxic Thursdays: Green Your ‘Hood
In April, we celebrate Earth Day, which serves as a reminder that we are all the caretakers of this big blue ball that we call home. There is only one earth. This is where we raise our children and where their children will grow up and perhaps question the decisions we made.
It is an easy idea to say we want a healthy earth for future generations. It is a much harder thing to plan for that future without taking into consideration the needs people have today. Often the future is cast aside because it is so hazy. We need jobs now, so let’s worry about the future later.
Putting all the politics of Earth Day aside, there are many simple ways we can individually make a difference for the environment – even in our own neighborhoods.
Clean Up Your Neighborhood
Litter is becoming worse and worse it seems. These pieces of trash are becoming an eyesore along many roads and streams. Often, pieces of plastic blow and end up in our wetland habitats. Eventually, they can end up in rivers and the ocean where marine life can eat them and become sick or even die. We can all do our part by making a monthly date with our friends and neighbors to clean up your local road or creek. If you are going to be out on a busy road, please make sure to have reflective vests for everyone involved!
Get Your Hands Dirty
Study after study shows that both children and adults benefit from time spent close to the earth. Digging in the dirt is a great way to talk to kids about the environment and the importance of taking care of our planet. It can also be a way to improve your local ecosystem.
It’s not too hard – stop by your local home improvement store, or even supermarket, and purchase some small plants. They could be herbs or flowers. Go for whatever speaks to you. Be sure to check the little tag to make sure you know if they do best in full sun, partial sun, or shade. Then take a small trowel, dig a hole in an appropriate area, plant, and water. If you want to improve the air quality around your home, planting some young trees could be a great idea. Get some information from your local nursery or garden supply store to be sure you have the right environment for the tree. Then make sure to water it!
Another idea is to plant a butterfly garden. These small areas usually feature a variety of flowering plants and help provide a place to land and eat for butterflies. They also provide hours of entertainment for you! Determine which types of butterflies travel through your area and choose plants that they enjoy.
Talk To Your Neighbors
Often in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we forget to take time to get to know those living around us. Host a neighbor gathering at your home or just stop to chat on your way to get the mail. Keeping in touch with those in our neighborhood can be a great way to improve our lives and it can also lead to discussions about ways to improve the neighborhood.
If there is a dangerous swale that collects litter, you can clean it out and work together to add protective landscaping. Just make sure any changes meet your homeowner’s association’s approval!
Just a small nudge – often lawns are over-fertilized and allow chemicals to leach into our rivers, streams, and wetlands, which all lead to the bays and oceans. A brief discussion could lead the way to a reduction in chemical lawn-care products. Just saying – every little bit helps!
Have a great spring!
*You may have noticed the blog name has changed - we have updated this regular blog to be called Be Real. On the Be Real blog you can expect healthy living topics from the front lines of parenting and family life! Enjoy!