May is a magnificent month. I have been able to spend the first days of May outside gardening, biking, hiking and just looking for the new beginnings of spring. Birds are flying around my yard with nesting materials in their beaks, and I see new migrating birds everyday. The spring ephemerals(wild flowers): Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauty, bellwort, and blood root cover the forest floor with their magnificent plants.
May is Mental Health Month, and I promise you if you spend 20 minutes a few days a week connecting with nature and May beauty you will be much happier! Get outside daily to see the daily changes and beauty of nature. Look around pay attention and get connected to the outdoor world! I watch for butterflies, birds and new sprouting plants everyday.
The Actions for Happiness Calendar has ways to make your beautiful May Meaningful. See below.
Recycling is important, but it just isn’t enough to solve our plastic problem. What is the solution? Last week I had this letter (below) published in the http://www.startribune.com/ in response to Target rolling out their new “green” products:
Earth-friendly line is insufficient; stop stocking single-use plastic
Plastic bottles, plastic bottles — Target must have missed the memo on how harmful single-use plastic is to our Earth (“Target rolls out earth-friendly household goods,” April 23). To be truly green, Target needs to offer consumers the ability to refill their own bottles with these new “green” products. Customers who care about all the plastic in our environment can now reuse and refill their bottles at Minnesota’s excellent food co-ops, or the new zero-waste Tare Market in Minneapolis where consumers can save money and help our environment at the same time. Many of these bulk products are even Minnesota-sourced. Let’s move to the paradigm of reusing instead of adding more single-use plastic to our landfills, and I’m encouraging Target to become the business leader in this reuse/refill movement. health4earth
The power of trees is enormous. They add beauty and quiet to our lives. Trees work to keep our air and water clean, and they keep us healthy and happy. Be mindful of the trees in your life! Trees create that sense of belonging and community, see the video below.
“Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Planting trees helps fight climate change.” Arborday.org
On this Earth Week, can you find ways to reduce your plastic footprint? I am happy with my recent efforts to reduce plastic: Plastic rapping on toilet paper is gone, milk for yogurt making comes from a reusable bottle, and I refill body lotion jars with scent-free lotion from my local food coop.
Plastic is very harmful to our Earth, but it is also harmful to our health. Read about the seven types of plastic and which ones are the most harmful to our human health here. Also, a new study claims we are even inhaling microplastics. We need to become aware of the harm plastic is doing, and I hope you will start the effort to boycott plastic today.
Ideas from my county to reduce plastic. “There are many ways to avoid single-use items. Want a quick list? Pack your lunch in reusable containers. Forgo the straw in your drink. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop. Bring reusable bags, produce bags and containers to the grocery store. Support businesses that serve food on reusable dishes.” Hennepin County
Read about the ten companies that are flooding our planet with throw away plastic. They need to take responsibility for the harm they are doing!
Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now! This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.
It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.
If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by. Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.
A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.
“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.” Mary Carol Hunter
“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”
“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.
Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw or picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.
Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you. A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try. Find a place outside that you feel made you feel like you’ve connected with nature.
April is Earth Month
April is a month of challenges. Challenges of 30 days of biking or running, 30 days of plastic-free, 30 days of watching birds. 30 days of taking a daily picture, or thirty days of writing a poem for poetry month. The thirty-day challenges are endless.
My April challenge is 30 days of picking up trash. The snow has melted and the swollen rivers are subsiding but our beautiful Earth is covered with litter. It is embarrassing to see so much trash and blowing pieces of plastic. Everyday on my walk in April I carry a bag and collect litter, and actually I started my challenge a few days ago. This year I’m looking extra hard for the small plastic scraps like cigarette butts and Styrofoam pieces. This challenge is easier than some of the other 30 day challenges, but this challenge gets you outside, and it really makes a difference for our Earth. Please join me.
April 22 is Earth Day and April 26 is Arbor Day. Please make everyday April day Earth Day.
Have a fun Earth Month, and remember to enjoy our beautiful our Earth.
Get your 30 days of Active April calendar from Actions For Happiness here.
We love lakes, we love rivers and streams, and we love our oceans. March 22, is World Water Day. Clean water is a human right and should be available to every human being. Unfortunately, some of us have too much water, but many don’t have enough water, and the water they have is polluted. I am lucky to live in a place with lots of water, but it is a struggle to keep it clean. Many live with polluted wells and water from farm pollution. Why they have allowed farm run-off to pollute their wells is beyond me??? The farming industry has gotten away with polluting our water, and for some reason they now think they have that right. Where I live, farm run-off is the number one cause for the pollution of our water ways and ground water. Lack of regulation on agriculture can harm water resources when raising pork, beef and other livestock, along with sugar beets, corn and soy beans.
There are industrial cities like Houston, Texas, that allow industry to pollute air and water. Stronger regulation is needed to stop water and air pollution, but that is not happening in the United States anytime soon.
Agriculture and industry are major water pollutants, but so is plastic. As the spring flooding overflows the banks of creeks and rivers the winter trash is getting washed off the land, into our waterways, then into our oceans. With some personal responsibility we all can make a difference with our behavior to water.
On this World Water Day weekend I challenge you to go meatless, I challenge you to go plastic-free, and I challenge you to get outside and pick up trash.