As you probably are aware, April 22 is Earth Day, when we celebrate our beautiful Mother Earth. However for gardeners, I think every day is Earth Day, in that we demonstrate caring for the planet through our gardens.
It distresses me that our Earth is still in peril despite measures taken since the first Earth Day in 1970. Our lifestyle, which many take for granted, creates greenhouse gases and nearly every action puts more into the atmosphere, adding to climate change. Even the smallest things we do as individuals, when spread across many shoulders, leads to big impacts for better or worse.
Seeking ways to reduce my carbon footprint, I wondered about ways to reduce in my gardens, other than carbon absorbtion facilitated through plants. Rototilling garden soil releases greenhouse gases, not just the exhaust from the machine doing it, but gases stored in the soil itself. No-till gardening uses mulch, which reduces the need to weed and cultivate, adds organic matter to the soil and holds these gases within the soil. Microorganisms and fungi within the soil also are supported and this enables even more carbon retention.
Costly pesticides and fertilizers are petroleum products, so practicing organic methods are another way to reduce. The Amish, who don’t use chemicals, actually have greater yields per acre than their neighboring farmer up the road who does.
An estimated 17% of all fossil fuel consumed in the USA goes for food growing, harvesting, processing, shipping, packaging and distribution. Organic production cuts this by about 30%. In the U.S., the average bite of food travels 1,500 miles from farm to table. Raising food at home or buying local organic food saves significantly.
Meat production has a larger carbon footprint than vegetative production, since animals produce methane and consume grain, adding an extra step in the food chain. If you make a couple of meals each week meat-free, eat 10-20% less at every meal (which sheds those extra pounds you may have been meaning to lose anyway), you’ve changed the world!
Nearly every single thing we consume has a carbon footprint. By looking at what we consume and asking ourselves how we can reduce, each of us can take small steps, which together add up to make a huge impact. Our and future generations’ lives will be affected by the actions we take today. Make a pledge now in honor of Earth Day to change your world. For more ideas, visit http://www.earthday.org/take-action/
Great article Eliza. I recycle, buy organic food and clothing but I know that I and we can be much better. I don’t think our current administration cares much about the Earth
Thank you, Mike. We must work around the current admin. Congressional leaders must hear our wishes, OFTEN as we can. It’s our only hope for the next 4 years.
Thank you Eliza for reminding us how we can all contribute to,lessening our carbon footprint. A very informative post 💛
Thank you, Val. ‘Many hands make light work.’ 🙂
Thanks Eliza for this great reminder that even a little effort by everyone combines to produce a big effect.
It’s true. No step is too small, all is worth it! Thanks, Micheal!
This is an excellent post Eliza, if you are in agreement I’m going to repost this instead of my foliage post today. If even just one person changed the way the use energy after reading your post, it would make a difference. I already do most of the things you suggested but I want to do more. Thank you for reminding us that the earth is our host and we should be better guests!!!!!
Thank you so much, Christina. Reblogging is always encouraged!
An interesting and infirmative article: no-dig gardening is the way forward for me.
Thank you, Anne. The soil biome will thank you for it!
Great points to share to recognize earth day, Eliza!
Thank you, Kris!
That first shot is luminous!
Thank you, Fi. Spring light is wonderful.
Good awareness post Eliza! I’ve been a vegetarian since 1993 so in that way I already don’t add to the footprint… but my main reason is that I don’t want an animal to be a ‘product’ that is mostly kept in bad circumstances that leave a footprint on my heart! I salute to everyone who takes off his blinkers, be aware and eat less meat…
(And I’ll try to be more earth friendly in other ways, there are always things to improve!)
Thank you, Noortje! Hats off to you for being meat-free for 24 years – that has made a big difference to the world. More people every day are switching their diets as awareness grows. I wish Americans were as responsible as Europeans in caring for the Earth – we have a long way to go.
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Great post and images to illustrate, Eliza!
Thank you, Pete!
A fine post, Eliza. I found the Amish fact fascinating.
Thank you, Derrick. The Amish have kept to the old ways and Science is showing that it is essential to promote healthy soils, i.e. micro-biome, through organic practices. Inorganic chemicals and tilling is rapidly destroying our precious topsoil. We must honor nature’s ways if we are to survive.
Marvelous informative post Eliza – beautifully illustrated. Happy Earth day!
Thank you, Catherine. It is one of my favorite celebrations. ❤
Let us all behave in a conscious & responsible way so as to be worthy of living on this beautiful planet! And keep on reminding us.
❤ Thank you, I agree!
Happy Earth Day. You are a good steward. Thank you.
Thank you, Jim! 🙂
Yes. Every little bit helps. But it is enormously frustrating to see the horrific policies of this current administration, which will erase so much progress.
All the more reason to keep letting Congress know our dissatisfaction!
Yay!!!!! What a great post. And as someone who is devoted to hanging laundry on the line, your last picture went straight to my heart.
Thank you, Laurie. Can’t you just smell that sweet scent? 😉
Eliza, you are such a gift to this Earth 🙂
Aw, what a sweet thing to say. Thank you kindly, Kim. ❤
Lots to think about
Glad to hear that. 🙂 Thanks, Diana.
A super post for Earth Day, Eliza. Thanks for the reminders.
Thank you, Carolyn.
Wonderful post, Eliza – I still remember the first Earth Day and how it captured our imaginations.
Thank you, Lynn. There was lots of youthful hope and optimism back then. A lot of good has been done, but much, much more is needed.
Great post. Wonderful to see you drying your washing outside. It really is a no-brainer, it’s free, uses no fossil (or other fuel) and the laundry smells wonderful too.
Thank you. I love hanging laundry for all those reasons, as well as getting me outside with the flowers and twittering birds. 🙂
I love this Eliza. Happy Earth Day! 🙂 ❤
Thank you, Julie. Celebrate!
Great post Eliza, with important message. Lovely photos too!
Wonderful post Eliza. An excellent reminder of what we can all do to make a difference; and great photos too!
Thank you, Belinda!
Wonderful post. I hop it’s widely read.
Thank you, Victor. Me, too!
What a well written post, I hope it acts as a reminder of how even the small considerations can make a world of difference!
Thank you, Frank!
Super blog Eliza, thanks a lot. For me, realizing the huge carbon footprint that rearing cattle has made me denounce meat. For other reasons, I get my eggs from a farm down the road where I can see the chickens running around in the fresh air. But there’s always more to be done isn’t there, so thanks for reminding us.
Thank you, Denzil. Every bit counts!
My focus on this property and within this home is to be conscious about this Earth with all I do. Yet I know there is room to improve and I do. It is not easy to follow the less trodden path but oh is it so worth it. To have clean land …. and a clean home … those are my goals. Great post, Eliza!! ❤
Thank you, Amy! ❤
What a great post, Eliza ! I’m particularly taken by that early Earth Day poster. We have come a long way, yet there is much left to do . While I agree with you on all of your points , and especially appreciate your comments about reducing consumption of meat and animal products , I still feel your challenge to do more . .. Whatever that may entail for each of us . My carbon footprint grows especially large this time of year as I log many extra miles visiting every garden center in the area . ..a lot . … and buying uncounted plastic bags of potting soil, mulch and compost. Modern life allows so many thoughtless abuses of our planet and resources . The challenge remains to remain mindful of the impacts of our actions . My current challenge is to transition to a dairy free fully vegan lifestyle . ..not there yet . ..😐 thank you for this thought provoking Earth Day message and beautiful photos .
Thank you kindly, E. Awareness helps. There are not any easy answers to this problem, we can only do the best we can. 🙂
I am happy to offer you any help/advice on transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. It is not always easy, especially in social situations. I have been vegan for 4-5 years now and never felt better! In social situations my husband and I agreed that a little cheese or yogurt won’t kill us or the planet. It makes it easier. But when at home we buy, cook, prepare 100% vegan. We also enjoy seeking out vegan restaurants which has proven to be extremely fun and we’re amazed by the food and presentation at times.
Thanks for offering, Kathy. Any websites you can recommend?
I follow a lot of vegan food bloggers but two that really helped me transition are Produce on Parade (AK!) and It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken (Toronto!). I figured if someone in AK or Canada could maintain a vegan lifestyle, I could do it. So often it seems that “salad people” only live in CA LOL.
Great – thanks!
A great post… A lot of countries work hard at trying to reduce carbon gases. It’s too bad USA is not on board from a government standpoint. I have seen for myself the melting permafrost in the Arctic, it has become a drastic problem for communities where buildings that have been stable for many years are now sinking. Climate change IS real!
Thank you, Maggie. It is VERY real and I am appalled that gov’t is a tool of the powerful industries that are driving this planet over the inevitable cliff.
Great post, Eliza! Helpful information, good thoughts, beautiful photographs, including the clothes line. We use one also, right in the middle of our small garden–so I take it down each time until next washing day. But something has helped me learn that most shirts, pants, sweaters don’t need to be washed as often as I used to think. Saving a little bit of energy and water that way, but it’s also easier on the clothes line hanger, yours truly
Thank you, Albert!
I’m doing all I can Eliza!!! Enjoying my garden, my food choices, everything organic and earthy. I also try not to buy plastic wrap, plastic baggies for food storage and instead invested in glass containers. They look pretty and stack well in the fridge!
Great tips, Kathy – once you start looking around with an eye on conserving, you see a lot!
This is an incredible post Eliza, in the event that you are in assention I’m going to repost this rather than my foliage post today..
Please feel free to reblog – thank you!