It's Earth Day, one of my most favorite holidays of the year. Earth Day is all about showing our big blue planet some love and respect. Won't you celebrate this special day by giving our beautiful earth a gift? Here are some great gift ideas I think Earth would love...
1. Start a Green Club: Let's face it, going green isn't easy. I can't think of a better way to start loving our planet more than starting a support group to help encourage one another, share ideas, and become more educated with green issues. One great way to get involved is by visiting Meetup and finding a green group you can join. Or, better yet, start your own. You don't need to join a website to spread the word. (Meetup does have a fee to create a meeting group. There is usually no fee to join a group that is already established. However, a group organizer might choose to charge a small monthly fee ($5-$10) to help them cover their costs. That's not always the case though.)
2. Use Less Water: Of all the gifts I can think of, this one might be the most challenging. Who doesn't enjoy a big tub of hot bubbly water to sink into? Last summer, I took a few showers outside (with my bathing suit on thank you very much) and saved a ton of water! Not to mention the scenery was much better than my bathroom walls. One way to conserve while you bath is to fill up a 5 gallon milk carton with water and use it to get wet, lather while wet then use the rest to rinse the lather off. Fun, simple and safe.
3. Cloth Napkins: I love that we don't use paper towels or paper napkins anymore. It feels good giving my boys a cotton cloth napkin to wipe their faces with. I know that they are not going into the trash when we're done with them and I love that there's just something a bit more classy about cloth napkins. I have a bin under the sink I put our used napkins in. Once it's full, I wash them, fold them and reuse them.
4. Composting: It's a great way to have a readily supply of "black gold" soil on hand. Check out this site for some great composting ideas.
5. Home Recycling System: It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. And, if you're like me, it can't be an eye sore! In order to keep these eye sores out of site...I have found putting them in the garage, on the side of the house or next to the trash cans help make these bins easier to look at. You can probably find a service in your city (for a small fee) that will provide you with an extra trash can (usually a different color) for your recyclables.
6. Community Garden: This is something I've been wanting to do for a while. How heart warming is it when a community can come together and share their love for food and life?! Starting a community garden is a huge undertaking. You have to find people who are willing to donate time, supplies and even money. But, I think people are more willing to do so than you would think. There are a ton of community garden websites available to start doing some research and get some great ideas. In the meanwhile, start looking for a plot of land that needs development and take it from there. Oh, and while you're planning...don't forget to plan a small play area with couple of picnic tables. What good is a garden if you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor? ;0)
7. Urban farming: I'm chomping at the bit to get this one underway. Since we moved from a house to an apartment temporarily, I'm feeling the restrains of not being able to get my little home farm started. I saw a baby goat the other day at church (yes, I live in the mountains with some fine mountain folk now ;0) and I couldn't help but want one. Not just because it was so adorable, but just think of all the possibilities. Making your own goats cheese, fresh goats milk, knowing exactly what it's being fed, knowing exactly what medications it isn't receiving, saving money...oh baby. It's just exciting!
8. Disposable Utensils: I know, it's so much easier to just use it and throw it away. That's why they sell so well. But, there is a better way and it takes just a tiny bit more effort. Promise. ;0) You can purchase a set of these adorable, Sistema portable, BPA free utensils to use at your next outdoor function. They even come in a case you can pack them back into, take them back home and reuse them again later. I know, it's more dishes, but...The Earth will love you for it!
9. Self-sufficient: It's a term becoming more and more popular these days! Being less of a consumer and living more within our means is a great way to eliminate trash created by buying things we don't need. Try going solar, starting a garden, raising honey bees or buying a few egg laying chickens to keep in your back yard. (Check with your state to see what is allowed. Some states have a maximum # of chickens you can keep. And, of course keep your neighbors in mind...you don't want a swarm of bees attacking their daughters birthday party guests. ;0)
10. UPCYCLE: Keep would-be trash out of the landfills by turning something old and useless into something new and exciting! Uppity's favorite!
This is a photo of Yosemite National Park I took last month. It's incredibly majestic. I couldn't imagine such a beautiful place being overtaken by smog and trash. Won't you give our beautiful earth a gift this year and change something in your life in order to live greener? One step at a time you can make a change...It'll be worth it.
Happy Earth Day!