A Win-win for Pollinators and People

How can you help our pollinators? Our pollinators are struggling to survive.  There are things we can do in our yards to help pollinators. The mono-culture of perfect green turf grass lawns does nothing to help our struggling pollinators.

Blue Salvia are loved by bees.
Blue Salvia are loved by bees. (not native)

I have been on a road trip from Minnesota, through Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska,  and South Dakota, and have been amazed at the manicured thick turf grass that dominates in parks and lawns.  Turf grass has no value for pollinators, and when fertilized adds unhealthy chemicals harmful to pollinators, humans, pets, wildlife and our water bodies.  Adding a diversity of fresh new plants and removing some lawn can make a big difference for our pollinators.

Walking a trail in Lincoln, Nebraska I was thrilled at their efforts to help our pollinators. They are allowing clover and native plants to grow. I even saw a few milkweed popping up.

Just a few changes can make a big difference for pollinators.(bees, butterflies, and birds)
Just a few changes can make a big difference for pollinators.(bees, butterflies, and birds)

Spring is a fabulous time to add new plants to your yard. A wide diversity of plants helps

Foam flower is an early blooming plant
Foam flower is an early blooming plant

our pollinators. Native plants don’t need chemicals so they are the healthiest for you, children, pets, and the pollinators.  More garden diversity, and less chemicals creates a win-win for our earth and us all!

Here is a good article on creating more diversity for pollinators.

Pussy toes add texture and interest
An early blooming plant, pussy-toes add texture and interest, and is a host plant to the painted lady butterfly

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Allowing the violets, Virginia waterleaf and dandelions(until they go to seed), and clover can create easy gardening and great pollinator habitat.

 

http://www.startribune.com/flower-power-season-long-blooms-are-a-win-win-for-people-and-pollinators/378411041/

https://health4earth.com/add-fun-pollinators-to-your-yard/

Always consider how to add more milkweed. Swamp milkweed has been the most successful for me.
Always consider how to add more milkweed. Swamp milkweed has been the most successful for me.
Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies.
Wild geranium, easy to grow, is loved by bees and butterflies and is early blooming

Reduce Consumption and Waste

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Earth Day Zero waste tips from http://earth911.com  Take a zero-waste pledge.

Challenge yourself to focus on the first of the 3 R’s and REDUCE your consumption
• To better visualize your efforts, use a glass jar or bowl to collect your waste for the day
• Use cloth produce bags for buying in bulk
• Visit a local farmer’s market for fresh produce, meats and cheeses.
• Bring lunch in a glass container or jar.
• Carry washable utensils and a cloth napkin in your lunch bag or purse.
• Take this day to de-junk your mailbox by removing yourself from mailing lists of unwanted promotions and catalogs. Earth 911

This is a good list, but to be really zero waste you need to compost food

Refilling a bottle of olive oil.
Refilling a bottle of olive oil.

scraps, and reuse and refill jars

Take a zero-waste pledge:

http://earth911.com/earth-day-pledge-2016/

The amazing Johnson family and zero waste: http://earth911.com/home-garden/7-steps-zero-waste-lifestyle/

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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Minneapolis Goes for Organics!

What is organics? Organics recycling includes collecting fruits, vegetables, bones,

Food Scraps Turned Into Compost
Food Scraps Turned Into Compost

meat, breads, eggshells, non-recyclable and food-soiled paper, and more for composting. The new organics recycling program is an easy way for residents to reduce waste.  The trucks haul this waste to the compost site where it is turned and heated and it turns into valuable compost to be used for gardening.

Please come to the event below to learn about Minneapolis’s new program and how to participate in this great program!

The Tangletown and Lynnhurst Neighborhood Associations are co-hosting a celebration of Minneapolis’ new organics recycling program on Saturday March 19th from 10am-1pm at the Lynnhurst Community Center (1345 W Minnehaha Parkway). Enjoy free pizza, games, children’s activities, and demonstrations. Stop by briefly or stay to catch a workshop at 10:30am or 11:45am.

Get your questions answered, sign up to be a volunteer Compost Captain, and enter to win a door prize. The first 200 attendees can also pick up free compostable bags. More info (and RSVP) at https://www.facebook.com/events/550666345107610/ Hope to see you there!

http://www.minneapolismn.gov/solid-waste/organics/index.htm

http://www.ehow.com/facts_4926119_what-compost-used.html

Our Purchases Fuel Climate Change

“A new study published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology shows that the stuff we

Do we need all the things we buy?
Do we need all the things we buy?

consume—from food to knick-knacks—is responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material, and water use” From Audubon and Grist.org

This post is a follow-up to two of my earlier posts.  Every time we make purchases we need to weigh what the impact is to the earth.  Purchasing high quality items that will last, fixing broken things, bundling our errands, and becoming climatarians are a few easy things to start with.

https://www.audubon.org/news/the-surprising-way-stuff-we-buy-fuels-climate-change

I like one of the comments from the above link:

“Some of us have become “anti-consumers”. Think 3 times before you purchase. Is it necessary? Can I get it second hand? Can I make it myself or just do without?
#VoluntarySimplicity may be our only hope.”

More to read:

http://www.npr.org/2016/03/13/470314387/this-jacket-will-last-30-years-guaranteed

https://health4earth.com/2015/12/28/climatarian-a-new-resolution/

https://health4earth.com/2016/03/06/e-commerce-comes-at-a-price/

http://grist.org/

March 8, International Women’s Day

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.international-womens-day-celebration-ideas-19

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Women still have high hurdles and a long way to go.

An interesting article below about, Annie Griffiths, a National Geographic photographer:  “Early in her career as a globe-trotting photographer for National Geographic, Annie Griffiths witnessed the profound impact of climate change on women and girls in developing countries. They were the ones who went in search of water. They nursed the sick as diseases spread. And when climate disasters hit, it was the women who stayed behind to see their children and parents to safety, often at their own peril.” http://www.startribune.com

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-native-annie-griffiths-shares-women-s-stories-worldwide-through-photos/371286691/

https://health4earth.com/2015/03/09/my-toast-to-women/

11046655_797838853627761_4847109012405165696_nhttp://www.internationalwomensday.com/

http://www.startribune.com/on-international-women-s-day-still-far-to-go/371459051/

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E-Commerce Comes At A Price

How can E-Commerce be more environmentally friendly?

 

wp-1457214784188.jpegAs a person who prefers to walk or take the bus to do my shopping, I thought Fed Ex and UPS delivering packages was a good thing; it cut down on my driving. packages came in cardboard, not plastic, and it seemed like an efficient way to shop. I don’t like some of the oversize shipping boxes, or the Styrofoam and packing peanuts I see littering the street.  The article below came as a surprise to me.

Online shopping has not helped the environment. It is not a sustainable way to live!

http://www.startribune.com/speedy-e-commerce-comes-at-a-price-to-the-environment/369384321/

What can you do instead? 1. Bundle your own shopping trips into one trip. 2. Slow down, do you really need an item shipped to you in 2 hours? 3. BUY LESS 4. Return Packing peanuts to UPS. 5. Reuse packaging.

What can shippers do to be more sustainable? Refuse to use Styrofoam? Bundle their deliveries? What do you think?

From http://www.earth911.com/

Are there more sustainable packing alternatives?

Biodegradable packing materials offer a low-waste alternative to polystyrene packing peanuts. High-profile companies, including Dell and furniture-maker Steelcase, have already embraced a foam-like packaging made from mushrooms, eliminating the waste from polystyrene.

When shipping packages yourself, simply use paper from your recycling bin to insulate breakables rather than reaching for polystyrene peanuts. Crumpled newsprint, junk mail and other waste paper will do the job just as well and will be far easier for your recipient to recycle.

 

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 Shared Responsibility!

12783686_10153903627054454_3345670645835104296_o“We need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by politics and greed.”

Super Tuesday, Please Participate!

Rising Oceans and A Migrant Crisis

The Oceans Are Rising
The Oceans Are Rising Faster than they have in 3,000 years

2015 was the warmest year on record, and January 2016 was the warmest recorded. Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin have enjoyed a mild winter.  The winter warmth has been pleasant, and because this is just weather, it will probably be brutal next year.  It is the long-term trends that are troubling.  Sadly, the problem lies in our oceans.  Eighty to ninety per cent of this heat goes into the oceans.  So of course the oceans are rising with the melting glaciers. Also, as the oceans heat they expand taking up more space. With record warm years, no wonder that the oceans are rising at a very fast rate.

Our planet is already in crisis as migrants are leaving Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. We haven’t seen anything in compared to the migrant crisis that will be created by the rising oceans. Those living on the ocean coasts and the islands that will be inundated and disappear will need to find new homes .

The Syrian crisis was caused in part by our warming earth, the continued rising of warm oceans will create migrant problems that will be an even greater challenge! Miami, Venice, Bangladesh and London are a few that could disappear.  Where will these people forced out of their disappearing cities, farms, and villages go?

Denial of our man-made climate crisis will not continue to work, and everyone needs to take personal responsibility to reduce their carbon footprints.  Just committing to turning off lights and to drive less can make a big difference.  What is one thing you do?

Read more below:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/22/seas-are-now-rising-faster-than-they-have-in-2800-years-scientists-say/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/02/23/as-the-arctic-roasts-alaska-bakes-in-one-of-its-warmest-winters-ever/?utm_content=buffer586cc&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/02/17/january_2016_was_the_hottest_january_on_record.html