Searching For More Diversity

This is a week to appreciate and celebrate our pollinators. In my yard there are many baby monarch caterpillars eating on milkweed, and eggs of the painted lady butterfly on pearly everlasting and pussy toes. A dragon fly has been following me around as I work, and the hummingbirds stop to check things out.  It is a beautiful exciting time!  Get outside and enjoy.

Monarch Caterpillars

Our insects and pollinators have been in serious decline the past few years. This is a week is to heighten our awareness of pollinators. Make an effort to spot some butterflies, bees, dragon flies, or maybe a hummingbird.

Create a yard pollinators want to visit.

Unfortunately, we have become a mono-culture world of asphalt, concrete, turf grass and hostas. Maybe you live in corn and soy bean country, more mono-cultures. Most of us can make changes to our environment to help pollinators. Maybe just place a pot of flowers on your deck, something that bees and butterflies like, or maybe replace a hosta with a wild geranium or native violets, maybe stop using chemicals on your lawn and turn it into a clover yard, or plant some bee balm, milkweed, coneflowers or sunflowers.

A new extensive UN study says we are on track to loose over a million spieces in the next few decades.  Pesticides are a problem for bees and insects, but the study says the lack of plant diversity is also a big problem. Our farmers plant too much corn and soybeans, and yards have too much turf grass and too many hostas!

Each one of us can make a difference, think diversity in your yard! How can you brighten your yard and make it more attractive to pollinators?

Find ideas from the Xerces Society or native plants from Audubon for your area here.

The urban and rural gardener all have an important part to play in the health of our pollinators. Diversity is important. Keep it simple to start,  native plants are  easy to grow, but don’t forget native trees, especially oaks, are excellent at adding diversity. Last, but most important, purchase plants from serious nurseries, and ask to make sure plants haven’t been treated with neonicotinoids.

“Nature needs to be appreciated for itself and viewed as natures health dictates our human health. Without healthy water, land and soil and wildlife we will not survive as human beings. We must set aside of land, and water bodies and protect them from development. We must be aggressive protecting our land water and wildlife.” Ecowatch,  read more here.

Neonicotinoids and Bees

Plastic-Free Day

 

Plastic-free shopping by filling your own containers

Reducing single-use plastic consumption is an important way we can make a positive change for our earth. We can make a big difference, and change the way we live our lives. Let’s start with One Plastic-Free Day, June 6. It’s not easy reducing your plastic foot-print, but it is possible. Becoming aware of all the plastic we purchase helps to start making change.

This cup is made of commercially compostable material.

It is my hope that if we don’t purchase plastic items corporations will realize they need to make bottles and containers out of something that decomposes and can be composted. The plastic and oil industry will do everything they can to stop progress. That is why the consumer needs to speak!

Plastics are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the fish we eat.  I think this raises the bar that we need to make changes to our plastic life-style and fast.

My plastic-free journey has taken several years, it has been challenging, but fun at the same time.  Filling bottles and containers with bulk item has just become habit. Food co-ops make it easy. It just takes a little organization to make a grocery list and figure which containers are needed for filling. I reuse the bottles and containers I have accumulated from earlier purchases. Also, we never eat at places that don’t use real dishes and utensils, but are still trying to remember to say, “No straw!” We never leave home without reusable water bottles and washable reusable bags. This past year we have begun making cookies, yogurt and humus with items from bulk shopping. Something I never wanted to take on, but now I make it fun, and zero waste cooking is healthy, rewarding and satisfying.

What are some items that are impossible to purchase in bulk and need to come in plastic?

Protein powder and vinegar need to be available in bulk

Here are a few quick easy zero waste ideas from my local county:  “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 Audubon’s easy ways to reduce plastic waste

https://health4earth.com/2019/04/18/boycott-plastic/

Joyful June

Spend time in nature
nature time
Enjoy

How can you find more joy in your day? What brings you joy? Actions For Happiness has a new  calendar to help us find Joy. See below.
My suggestions for Joy are spending time in green space, being mindful and aware, and smiling more. Enjoy a Joyful June.

Find Joy in your day.

Magnificent May

Find May beauty!

Marsh Marigold is one of the first spring wildflowers. They have a hardier look than the ephemerals.

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.

May is Magnificent
Ways to make your May meaningful

 

 

Target, Stop Single-use Plastic!

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

Reuse and refill your own bottles

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

Why isn’t recycling enough?

  1. We should all be demanding a zero waste economy with fees and bans on plastic, but of course, the plastics industry is in control
  2. See what happens to some of the material we recycle  here

Celebrate Trees

Trees clean our water and our air!

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

 

What is a Nature-Pill?

Get Outside and Enjoy!

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.

Enjoy!

“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 quiet place outside that helps you connect with nature.

Ten more reasons why you should connect with nature.

 

 

 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20793/10-great-reasons-to-get-outside-more-often.html