It’s Earth Day! Yayyy!!!
Making the best impact you possibly can on the environment is not a trend anymore, it’s critical. While I’m not a gardening aficionado, I’m dedicated to the environment – trees, air, sustainability and water.Being water and energy efficient, and anti-hazardous waste dumping, should be a concentrated priority.
With the latest 2017 natural disaster being Louisiana and the two manmade disasters – Flint Michigan and Standing Rock, taking an active role in showing gratitude to your environment is important more now than ever.
In the mid to late 90’s it was promoted to clean up and care. Nickelodeon hosted The Big Help, a national campaign driven by American pop culture sweethearts, to clean up parks and towns like nobody’s business for one whole week. It was cool for us kids to clean up alongside Rugrats or All That cast. And yes at eight and nine years old, I actually went. (I believe my mom has my autographed T-shirt somewhere.) I was a Nickelodeon fanatic– Legends of the Hidden Temple, Figure It Out, Wild and Crazy Kids, you name it.
Perhaps that’s why nearly a decade later, what companies and cities are doing to practice environmental awareness, gains my absolute loyalty 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 has a green roof, high-efficiency mechanical equipment, daylight sensors to control artificial lighting and water saving toilets.
3.) All the B Corporations out there donating time and resources to 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 to build a garden in my little North Jersey backyard and repurpose good materials.
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 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 started one of several attempts to grow them.
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 than $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 sprouts 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!
Here’s what to gather over the course of a month (qty.):
(2-3) 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 can buy them at Home Depot for .97. Use the bricks as a foundation so your garden bed is lifted off the ground.
(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 or in the bottom of the pot. I believe Christmas Trees are considered “organic matter.” (I’m cutting mine eventually)
(2) Bags of decent dirt. I highly recommend Vigoro ($3.77), Miracle-Gro dries out faster in my experience.
(2) Bags of rocks or clear flat gems from dollar tree to create “drainage” for my plants. Seriously $2.13 goes a long way. (If you can use real sand that’s more advisable, but im DIY all the way baby)
(4) Planks of wood from someone’s house in NJ (looks like it came from a swing set or treehouse) – Although it was out for trash, I still asked.
(3) Home Depot terra cotta pots or plastic pots (Get one medium-large one to start)
(3) Poland Spring water containers – they serve as very primitive rain water catchers which I then use to water my plants. Did you know filtered rain water is better to drink than tap? True story.
(1) Thin gardening gloves from dollar tree or wherever
(2-3) Solar lights from dollar tree (optional decoration)
(1) Iron Bookshelf my dad threw out months ago (yes, I even scalp my family and usually see shelves out for trash everywhere)
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/