This is an exciting time for my yard! At this time of year my yard is overrun by monarch butterflies and hummingbirds. Total enjoyment!
The hummingbirds are gorging on the nectar feeder and on the cardinal flowers, and monarchs are obsessed with the blazing star flowers.
Then just like, that they are gone on a perilous journey, migrating to warmer climes. First the hummingbirds are gone, then a week or so later, no monarchs! I hope they aren’t caught in storms, or hit by cars, and that they all arrive in Mexico or Central America safely.
How can you have monarchs and hummingbirds in your yard? First, never use chemicals. Second, plant lots of milkweed, cardinal flowers and blazing star. Good Luck!
September 2. is National Hummingbird Day! A day to celebrate these amazing birds.
Humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and most of this plastic still exists on earth. Only 9 percent has been recycled, and 11 percent incinerated. That leaves 80 percent of the plastic ever produced floating around in our waterways, poisoning fish, or releasing chemicals in landfills. As citizens of this planet we should be doing everything we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
There were two sad set-backs for plastic in our environment this past week, and both were pandering to big business and lobbyists, or “filling the swamp”.
First, our national parks had made an effort to begin banning plastic water bottles, but the new deputy secretary of the interior, with ties to the plastic bottle industry, changed the policy. Read about it here.
Second, on what should have been an easy issue, the Minneapolis City Council tabled a five-cent fee to be placed on plastic bags. The lobbyists and the plastic industry wins over our lakes and streams.
Never should plastic have been allowed to be produced without a plan to dispose of it. Sixty-seven years later plastic manufacturers and lobbyists are thriving, and elected officials continue to “fill the swamp” taking campaign money from them. If our parks and cities don’t lead by example our environment lacks places it can turn for leadership!
Please do what you can to reduce your plastic foot-print!
Simple ways to reduce your plastic pollution:
Start simple and add one idea at a time
Bring your own shopping bags
Buy bulk and refill your own containers
Don’t purchase bottled water
Say “No” to straws, plastic spoons, forks, and knives
Always choose glass containers over plastic!
Never purchase products packaged in Styrofoam (Be aware of meat and produce trays)
I had just seen a hawk fly along Lake Superior, but was surprised when two large birds came crashing into a window where was sitting. This created a 45 minute ordeal below my window. The flicker cried, fought and cried some more, but the talons of the hawk had a firm grip. Blue jays and crows came to watch the commotion. The persistence of the hawk ruled and she was too strong and determined for the flicker. An unusual number of hawks in our neighborhood this August have changed the lives of chipmunks, squirrels, and the birds.
On a happier note, A a fresh bright monarch was drying her wings after emerging from her cocoon, and a monarch caterpillar was weaving herself into a cocoon and will hopefully evolve into a new monarch in two weeks.
The great south migration has started with groups of night-hawks and yellow-rump warblers migrating through, and in another week the hummingbirds will be gone, also. Harbingers of fall.
The flowers are at their peak and the bees are crazy for bee balm and anise hyssop. The wood-nymph butterflies have been plentiul, but they too are at the end of their life cycle to be replaced by white admirals, cabbage whites, and fritillaries.
It’s Meatless Monday
“Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein. Meat and cheese production also requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel and water. The animals generate toxic manure and wastewater that can pollute our groundwater, rivers, lakes and streams. The number one way you can reduce your carbon food print is by eating less meat and less dairy.” Do It Green Minnesota
Reduce your meat consumption, and also reduce your food waste. If everyone does a small amount it can make a big difference!
I hear many business leaders, and others use the word sustainable when referring to their businesses and their personal goals. I wonder what they mean, and what they are thinking??? Sustainability is a complex topic and can mean many things. Is it one of those code words that is full of hot air??
I think that sustainability means practices that protect the valuable resources of the planet for now and into the future.
The most quoted definition of sustainability is from the United Nations Economic Committee “Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.”
To me sustainability is about he future! It is about reusing and thinking ahead! I think being sustainable takes planning ahead and being prepared. Monday is the eclipse. Much of the United States will be outside. How can you be prepared for a Monday eclipse that doesn’t trash our earth? Plan ahead, fill your water bottles, pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers, gather your pin-holes or eye-approved glasses, and have sustainable fun!
Plastic came into being about 1950. It is lightweight and easy to make into many things. Unfortunately, plastic is awful for our wildlife and waterways. Both are choking on this ubiquitous plastic pollution.
What are microplastics? They are tiny pieces of plastic that come from our clothes, plastic litter, and synthetic fibers. Read or listen to the entire story at MPR.
At the present these plastic particles are too small to be strained out of our water treatment plants so they end up polluting our waterways, lakes and oceans. There is a new laundry bag you can purchase (see below) that will filter the microfiber when you wash your clothes.
I love this list from MPR:
5 things you can do to reduce microplastic pollution
Cut back on consuming single-use plastic products such as shopping bags, Starbucks cups and plastic utensils. Replace them with reusable items like travel mugs, silverware
and cloth bags.
Buy only facial scrubs, toothpaste and other personal care products made with natural exfoliants, such as oatmeal and salt.
Buy clothing made of organic or natural materials rather than synthetic fibers. Buy only what you need, and invest in higher-quality items so you don’t need to replace them as often.
Don’t wash your clothes as often, especially items made from synthetic fabrics like fleece jackets.
Invest in a mesh laundry bag, guppy friend, designed to capture shedding fibers during the washing cycle. Read about guppy friend here.