Everyday, Earth Day

The earth is what we all have in common”  Wendell Berry

Yesterday, we saw the first Compton Tortoiseshell of the season
Yesterday, we saw the first Compton Tortoiseshell of the season

Happy Earth Day, hope you can get outside and enjoy the marvelous spring changes!  Go for a walk.

From http://www.startribune.com

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, was a day set aside to think about creating lifestyles to reduce waste and destruction of our environment.

One of the main messages many of us heard that day was that human life can continue on Earth only if people cooperate with nature. Strides have been made over the past 46 years in cleaning up many rivers and lakes, recycling, protecting natural ecosystems, becoming more aware of hazardous materials, and the list goes on. But we have a long way to go if we are to live in a sustainable way in harmony with nature.

There are things to do and things not to do when it comes to being a good steward of our planet, but one of the best may be to take pleasure in the true beauty of the Earth’s ecosystems and its creatures. Too, take time to learn about some of the plants and animals that share the Earth with us. It’s just about impossible to destroy something you understand and love.

Throughout the year, and especially April 22, with the wonders of spring all around us, we should make a point to get out and observe. Every forest, wetland and prairie remnant is full of spring signs — evidence that our Earth is designed as a place for life, no matter what foolish acts people may commit.                                       Jim Gilbert   http://www.startribune.com/appreciating-earth-s-beauty-is-one-way-to-steward/376565231/

http://www.startribune.com/today-s-earth-day-but-people-should-care-about-the-planet-every-day/376648961/  Dennis Anderson

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Where Have All the Pollinators Gone?

Plant your yard with plants the bees, butterflies and birds love
Plant your yard with plants the bees, butterflies and birds love

Each of us is so unaware of the damage we are doing to our earth.  This week I was at a seminar on pollinators.  Minnesota has lost two of its native butterflies, the Dakota Skipper and Poweshiek Skippering.  and many more bees and butterflies are declining in numbers. Also, I was surprised so many people don’t know about neonicotinoids.  Neonicotinoids are harmful systemic pesticides that weaken pollinators

Round up kills the plants bees and butterflies love!
Round up kills the plants that bees and butterflies need for food and egg laying !

Why is there is so much buzz about bees during the winter?  The United Nations announced that we are loosing many of our important pollinators that are vital to the pollination of many important food crops.

What is causing this loss? The major reasons we are loosing species of native butterflies, bees and birds is because of mono-crop planting, habitat loss, and our obsession with pesticides.  The combination of these three is making it hard for pollinators to survive.

Even a small yard can make a difference for pollinators.  First, add more native plants to your yard, they don’t need chemicals.  Plant for different bloom times, diverse flowers, and never purchase a plant treated with neonicotinoids ! Be careful and read directions with any chemicals you use on your yard….Try to go without!  Finally, bees and butterflies love blooming dandelions and clover…Let them bloom, then weed them out!

Below is from http://www.wildones.org/ What are native plants?

  • Native plants are needed as host and nectar plants as our native butterflies, bees and birds go about pollinating our food plants as they forage for their own sustenance.
  • Native plants have deep roots which absorb excess rainfall and prevent water from running directly into our rivers and streams helping to provide clean water for everyone.
  • Native plants instead of turf lawns help reduce our carbon footprint.

A Lot more to read:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/26/decline-of-bees-poses-potential-risks-to-major-crops-says-un

http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/02/wild_bees_path_extinction.html

http://ecowatch.com/2016/02/26/save-the-honeybee/

http://www.xerces.org/providing-wildflowers-for-pollinators/

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/26/468241649/report-more-pollinators-species-in-jeopardy-threatening-world-food-supply

http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/ipm/what-is-a-neonicotinoid/

Our Plastic Life is Sad

Plastic bottles on the way to the Agean Sea
A river of plastic bottles on the way to the Aegean Sea

A recent study by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation has found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  This is a terrible man-made crisis, and not enough is being done to stop the cascade of plastic.  Everyone of us needs to take personal responsibility to reduce our plastic consumption. The plastic industry is unchecked, and never should such a nuisance product been put into society without a plan to clean up or reuse.   We are stuck with plastic, but we can all reduce the amount of plastic we use today and every day from now on.  Especially think carefully before you purchase a plastic tubes that cannot be recycled. There is too much information in this post, but I hope you can find one thing below to help you to reduce your plastic consumption!

http://onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/stunning-infographic-shows-how-our-plastic-habit-impacts-the-ocean-and-marine-animals/

12packwaterbottles

14 Ways You Can #CrushPlastic in Your Daily Life

  1. Carry a spare canvas bag for groceries or small items you might purchase throughout your day.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one.
  3. Take a mug with you to work or class and ditch the plastic cups.
  4. Say no to plastic straws and utensils when eating out and bring your own stainless steel reusable ones.
  5. Use mason jars when grocery shopping to store all your bulk food items.
  6. Use cloth or reusable bags instead of produce bags when food shopping.
  7. Replace your plastic food storage bags with stainless steel tins or mason jars.
  8. DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-beauty/
  9. Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-cleaning/
  10. Avoid microbeads in your exfoliating face or body wash.
  11. Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
  12. Switch to bar soap and shampoo to avoid plastic packaging.
  13. Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-hygiene/
  14. Buy plastic-free beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, like bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free makeup brushes and natural material sponges.

https://health4earth.com/2015/05/05/surprising-things-about-plastic/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/people-who-prove-that-living-plastic-free-is-possible/

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/20/more-plastic-than-fish-in-ocean/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=137ca14cc3-Top_News_1_24_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-137ca14cc3-85912169

Superior Views, November and December

In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” Aristotle

Lake Superior in November
Lake Superior in November

Both November and December have been unseasonably warm! Warm sunny days alternating with rainy days.  It is quiet, very quiet.  Crows, the call of the pileated, and bald eagles maintaining a continuous chatter are about the only sounds.  Even the big lake has been on the quiet side especially with the wind from the SW.

Eagles sit in this white pine tree
Eagles sit in this white pine tree

Rough grouse and mystical snow buntings entertain as they fly up from the roadside. The large number of chickadees and grey squirrels is unusual, and I assume the mild weather has something to do with their numbers. Both chickadees and squirrels peek through the windows of our house watching our household. Chickadees were still eating flies off our house the first week of December, but cooler nights have turned the chickadees to the feeders, plants and trees.

An occasional 1000 foot ore boat passes through on horizon
An occasional 1000 foot ore boat passes through on horizon

While I was delighting in the charming chickadees. These stories about chickadees came from one of my favorite bird authors:  http://www.startribune.com/chickadees-go-to-charm-school/360852661/

Superior Views, my observations on Lake Superior