What do Dollar Tree, Nickelodeon, Dumpster Diving and Home Depot Have in Common?

An Earth Day Activity!! It’s Earth Day! Yayyy!!!

Making the best impact you possibly can on the environment is not trendy anymore. It’s critical. While I’m no gardening aficionado by any means, I am dedicated to the environment – trees,  air, sustainability, and our water supply.

It’s not complicated, being water and energy efficient with a dash of anti-hazardous waste dumping should be a political and global priority.

With the latest natural disaster being Louisiana and the two manmade disasters – Flint Michigan and Water Protectors on Standing Rock, taking an active role in showing gratitude and improving your environment is more important now than ever.

In the mid to late 90’s it was cool to clean up and care. Nickelodeon hosted The Big Help, Jerry McGuirea national campaign driven by pop culture American sweethearts, to clean up parks and towns like nobody’s business for a week.   It was cool. And yes around approximately nine years old, I actually went. (I believe my mom has my autographed T-shirt somewhere)

Perhaps that’s why nearly a decade later, what companies and cities are doing to practice environmental consciousness, gains my absolute respect and further inspires me to do what I can.

Here are a couple businesses doing good for the earth-

1.) The New York Times building in Times Square is energy efficient. The ceramic rod casing allows for energy efficient lighting and air conditioning. Check it out: here

2.) Drexel University‘s award-winning Lebow Hall as a green roof, high-efficiency mechanical equipment, daylight sensors to control artificial lighting and those water saving toilets.

3.) All the B Corporations out there donating time and resources to environmental nonprofits!

4.) And last but not least, me!

No i’m kidding. I’m not a business mogul yet, but I have been collecting wood on random trash days so I can build a garden in my cramped North Jersey backyard and repurpose good materials.

I’m kind of a repurposing fanatic. I’m not great at it but I try, and with city living being tight, making the most of what you have can actually go a long way.

Being a grad student in the United States is tough right now, and I have found that even trying to garden is a huge relief and really challenging at the same time. I don’t have a lot of money, want to cut down on waste, engage my artsy creative side, and practice what I preach – why not start the spiritual journey of gardening.

I bought some spinach and oriental poppy seeds in January and starting practices one of several attempts.

I highly recommend splurging on a few things from Home Depot -small pots (.97), one big pot ($6), two small flower trays ($4 ea.), a bag of decent soil ($4) and a rose bush or lavender plant ($9).  Roughly less then $30. Shave off one flower tray or bush and you’re closer to $20. Lavender is more of a medicinal recommendation. But the bottom line is take few dollars and give it try. Also, don’t treat it as a one-day activity, tend to it daily and look for changes or if the soil is wet enough. Read the seed packets to know when something should be happening or how much sun is appropriate.

Lastly, keep your eyes peeled for simple opportunities to repurpose. From left over Folgers coffee containers, banana peels, or other peoples wood disposals. Reduce, reuse recycle!

What I had/used over the month-long+ course of collecting:

(2) Different sized wood pallets (seriously look around and you will see them everywhere and unless they’re piled up next to a dumpster, I always ask when I can)

(4 – 5) Bricks , it literally started with me finding a regular red brick in the middle of the street but I think you can buy them at Home Depot for .97.

(1) Christmas Tree from 2016 – seriously everyone should cut up their Christmas Trees and build a garden or reuse the branches to put under your garden bed …p.s. I believe Christmas Trees are considered “organic matter.” (I’m cutting mine eventually)

(4) Planks of wood from someone’s house in NJ – Although it was out for trash, I still asked. Ironically there were more pieces but I’m not that tough.

(3) Poland Spring water containers – they serve as very primitive rain water catchers which then is used to water my plants. Did you know filtering rain water is better to drink than tap? True story.

(2) Bags of rocks from dollar tree to create “drainage” for my plants. Seriously $2.13 goes a long way.

(1) Iron Bookshelf my dad threw out months ago (yes, I even scalp my family)

(1) Light weight work gloves from dollar tree or wherever

(2) Solar lights from dollar tree

(4) Home Depot pots and other plastic pots from previous tenant

(1) And a bag a decent dirt. I recommend Vigorito #3.77

Happy Earth Day!

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Ever wonder what those arrows on every single piece of plastic in your house means? Find out: http://naturalsociety.com/recycling-symbols-numbers-plastic-bottles-meaning/

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