Conscience is a man’s compass
~ Vincent van Gogh
I don’t know about you, but I have always been a trusting soul. Too much some times where I never see the whack coming when someone does something so awful that I fall hard and lose that trust. Look, I know I have done things in my life to make others lose trust in me so I am not perfect. But I try to make my relationships better and repair that trust if possible where I can.
And so it is with many aspects of our lives. Trust isn’t just about our relationships with people. It is about our relationship with the flora, fauna, cultures now and before us of which we must be cognizant. We have been entrusted with this Earth, and as living beings sharing the Earth we must understand that trust. We must understand that if we intend to breath the air, drink the water, use the land to live off of, then we must share it in a respectful way. As the Native cultures around the world will tell you, we are just visiting and we should leave the Earth the way we found it; actually we should leave it better than we found it. Enough excuses for why we can’t do this or that people are being extreme in their assessment of the state of the environment. Just leave it a better place, simple! Then you know you have done all you can.
So as part of this entrustment, I am participating in the Gardener’s Sustainable Living Project, the brainchild of Jan Huston Doble at Thanks for Today. What a perfect way to celebrate spring and Earth Day which is fast approaching.
As Jan says: The Gardeners’ Sustainable Living Project was created to share ways that gardeners are actively practicing a greener lifestyle and contributing to protecting our environment. If you are a garden blogger or just a gardener, you can join in and share what you do to help, rather than hinder, nature. Just because we are gardeners doesn’t mean we’re operating ‘sustainably’. Let’s find ways to garden by taking into account our impact on the environment and whether that has a positive effect on our health and that of Mother Earth.
Through Jan, this project encourages gardeners who blog or not to leave comments to discuss what they are doing to promote sustainability. And there are prizes which certainly encourages folks to participate, but I am doing it just because it is a good thing to do; to help each other see new ways to be better inhabitants of this Earth.
The pictures posted here are of wildlife that visit my “neck of the woods”. They are who I worry about the most. So this year I am doing a number of things to protect their habitat and try to leave this Earth a better place.
- Going Organic: My ignorance surprises me sometimes. I think I am gardening organically and then, whack, I read something about chemicals to watch for or avoid, and I say how could I be so stupid to not know I am using those. Recently it was the potting soil with Miracle Grow. It’s a fertilizer, but it is not natural; it is chemical. So I am looking for more examples of chemicals we use. Natural weed and feed of the lawn is the next reduction in chemicals. I know get rid of the lawn, but I like using it for paths in my cottage gardens and we don’t water it. So for now the lawn stays.
- Planting more natives and replacing more aggressives: This is especially so my critters have food. As I look around at the plants I do I have, I am making sure we at least have a native of that plant species and if we don’t then it will be my mission to try and find one. I am also addressing aggressive/invasive plants (see my recent post on Invasives). I will be looking to replace many of these with a native plant. In doing so, I will also be careful not to dispose of the aggressive or invasive plant into the wild environs that surround my gardens. If I have introduced them to the wild, it will be my mission to eradicate these nasty plants from that natural environment.
- Participating in The National Phenology movement in earnest: If you have not hear of this, it is worth looking into. Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate. As NPN says: The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone. As an USA-NPN observer, you can help scientists identify and understand environmental trends so we can better adapt to climate change. I have started every year observing certain plant and animal life, and admittedly have not followed through. But since I made a commitment a few years ago, I am finally sticking with it. It really takes little time, and you can make it as simple and easy as possible. If you love to garden or observe wildlife at all, I urge you to check it out. Pam over at Pam’s English Cottage Garden is getting involved in a local phenology project in Eastern Pennsylvania. I encourage you to follow her blog as she works on this worthwhile project.
- Creating a wildlife habitat: This year I was able to certify our gardens as wildlife habitats through the program at The National Wildlife Federation. This a great program and easy to do. Consider looking into getting your yard, community park or local school garden certified.
- Continuing to not use chemicals and plastics in the house as well: We have been better with getting rid of chemicals in the house especially for cleaning. I am also trying to replace plastics, like plastic containers, with other Earth friendly materials. I have been researching alternatives to plastic containers, but still haven’t put a full plan together.
- Further reducing water usage (although we have been good with this over the years): We do not water our lawn or perennial beds. We reuse water for container watering, and it has helped that I have installed numerous rain gardens and french drained the down spouts so the water is being put back into the gardens.
- Other: We are growing more organic fruits and vegetables in our garden this year; we also recycle and compost. These are things we will continue to do and expand upon as we learn more.
So there you have it. My little manifesto for the Earth. It is by no means complete, and it changes as my education on these and other topics increases. I will post more on some of these initiatives as the year progresses. I hope you will consider looking at what you are doing, and how you might continue to make further changes. The Earth and all her inhabitants are counting on you. They TRUST you will help continue to make this a wonderful place to live!!
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac