Unconventional Earth Day

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©2016 Kari Carlisle

Earth Day, which falls on April 22 every year, is a great reminder for us to think about how our actions affect the earth. Beyond the usual Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra (don’t get me wrong – these are important), here are a few unconventional things you can do to celebrate Earth Day.
Xeriscape – Xeriscaping is landscaping with native plants that don’t rely so much on extra watering, especially important in arid climates. Connect with your region’s Native Plant Society to evaluate your current landscaping and make changes to reduce the amount of water you need to keep your outdoor landscape healthy and beautiful.
Be a locavore – Use food ingredients that are locally produced. I’m not saying you need to give up bananas from Mexico or pineapples from Hawaii or, God forbid, coffee from Sulawesi. Just be aware of how the food choices you make affect the environment. Every time you purchase food that was not produced in your region, it means that it, along with tons of other produce, was transported hundreds or thousands of miles, using up precious resources and polluting the environment. And now they want to transport chickens raised in the U.S. to China for processing and then back again for consumption? How ridiculous is that?
Use non-toxic cleaners – For your health and for the environment, consider every cleaner you use. They are filled with chemicals, and though our bodies have a natural ability to detox, the more chemicals you are exposed to, the more difficult it is for your body to eliminate them. And they don’t necessary disappear, either. They build up in your home and in our wastewater. Vinegar and baking soda can pretty much do it all for a fraction of the cost of conventional cleaners. A quick Internet search will give you instructions on how to clean anything naturally.
Eat weeds – Seriously, some of them are really good eatin’ and pretty good for you, too. We only call them weeds because they are not attractive and tend to take over our beautifully manicured green lawns. Tons of chemicals are used every year to control these unwanted plants. Do you really want toxic chemicals instead of free, healthy food? What’s wrong with you? Pop those dandelion flowers and sauté them in butter. I’ll warn you, though, you may start salivating while you’re out getting some sun in the backyard. Check out www.eattheweeds.comfor more info before you nosh.
These are just a few of the things you can do to celebrate Earth Day. Implement as many as you can, and you will find yourself “thinking green.” Once you start thinking green, you’ll see how everything we do impacts our natural resources. The less of an impact we have, the healthier our planet – and we – will be.


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