Today, April 22nd of 2020, marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day – the annual celebration of the Environmental Movement. Perhaps this isn’t how we planned to spend Earth Day this year, but it is as good a time as ever to reflect on our environmental footprint from home. How can we make a positive impact on the soil, water, air, and ecosystems around us? Check out some of our tips from Easton’s community gardeners below on how to make a ‘greener’ world. Happy Earth Day, and best wishes for a happy and healthy community for all!
- Reduce your food waste: Did you know that 40% of food is wasted? You can reduce waste that goes to the landfill by limiting your plate waste, composting, and more.
- Community gardeners Jill and Jamie suggest reusing eggshells for starting seeds (as well as repurposing egg cartons and cardboard toilet paper tubes). Pictures below!
- You can uses odds and ends of vegetable and bone scraps to make soup stock. Feeling creative? You can also make natural dyes from onion skins and other foods.
- Gear up to join the Easton Compost Program once the stay-at-home order is lifted. Or, you can make a compost pile in your backyard – which saves food scraps from becoming methane, a more potent greenhouse gas.
- “Bee-friend” pollinators: Pollinator species, like bees and butterflies, keep our environments (and food supply!) blossoming. Help protect these species with some tips from community gardener Tim below…
- Eliminate pesticide use on your lawn and in your garden. If you absolutely need to use them, make sure to read the labels and use them correctly and sparingly! You can also spray at night when pollinators like bees aren’t active.
- Plant milkweed for monarch butterflies – it’s the only food source they can eat as caterpillars! Additionally, you can plant an array of flowers that bloom at different times over the growing season, which provides a steady nectar supply. Check out this Master Gardener article to decide on which native plants to put in your garden.
- Avoid planting “doubled” hybrid flowers, which are bred to be perfect flowers to the human eye… but not provide the pollen/nectar supply for pollinators.
- Add some “furniture” for your pollinators. You can create a damp salt lick for butterflies and bees, but even adding a birdbath is a welcome water supply for pollinators. (You can learn more about planting butterfly gardens here.) No need to keep a perfectly tidy yard either… dead tree limbs and some debris make great nesting sites for native bees.
- Reduce the number of bird fatalities on home windows with a glare. Birds may strike windows accidentally when they cannot see that there is a solid window. You can apply removable stickers to windows you’ve noticed birds colliding into before.
- Eat local: Supporting local farmers means your food is traveling fewer miles to your plate, plus will be packed with more nutrients and flavor that way.
- Check out our Greater Lehigh Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local chapter to find local farms near us and for more resources.
- You can visit the Winter Market and Easton Farmers Market for a safe and sustainable way to get groceries. It’ll also naturally help you “eat seasonally” – reducing food miles and supporting local farms.
- As Michael Pollan’s saying goes, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” You can cut down on your greenhouse gas emissions by limiting certain foods (like lamb and beef) in your diet. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s chart to see what impacts different foods have on GHG emissions.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle: You can refuse disposable items like plastic bags, straws, and more. If you do use them, remember to reuse again and again. Finally, you can recycle.
- Check in to make sure you’re recycling items in Easton correctly. Did you know that the Easton Ambassadors are recycling cigarette butts too?! Check out the story here.
- Community gardener Jill cuts down on waste by utilizing reusable water bottles and utensils!
- Bike and hike it: You can visit local trails and parks for fresh air. While you’re there, remember to obey any park/trail rules that keep wildlife safe. Pick up litter safely along the way!
- Wash with care: You can wash your clothes on the cold water setting for energy savings on water heating. Bonus points if you air dry your clothes on the line afterwards!
- Buy local & sustainable: Support your main street shops instead of big box stores. You can utilize supporteaston.com to see what shops are open now and what their COVID-19 protocols are. We’re in this together!
- Unplug: Turn off any lights and electronics that when not in use, and switch out inefficient incandescent bulbs with LEDs.
- Upcycle: Pile up clothes and other items to donate at a later date. Clothes that are past their prime can also be cut into rags, or crafted into upcycled rugs as a craft.
- Use appliances efficiently: When’s the last time you thought about cleaning the back of your refrigerator? (If your answer was ‘never’… we’re in the same boat.) Did you know that your refrigerator runs more energy efficiently if you keep it stocked, keep the back coils clean from dust, and have enough room between the wall and the fridge? Nerdy, but true. Remember to take good care of other appliances to keep them running efficiently too.
- Think ahead: Community gardener Jamie planted these tulips at the Juliana Street garden, and also snapped a picture yesterday. Think about how to be helpful in your community garden and plan ahead.