Cheers for May! May is the queen of months. We celebrate mothers, observe baby wildlife, outdoor time and new beginnings.
I challenge you to spend a minimum of 10 minutes outside everyday during May. Take deep breaths and look for amazing changes in nature. Watch the trees change, listen and watch for birds, and look for new butterflies. Sit in the sun, go for a walk, turn off your phone and listen for the sounds of May. Appreciate the intense beauty of our Earth. Search for peace, smile and enjoy.
Trees are strength and beauty, resilience and change
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. ” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Snags, or dead trees, also give life to wildlife and landscapes. Don’t cut them down unless they are a danger to humans or buildings.
Trees can be dead but full of life and survival. Snags are home to many plants and animals
Fungi growing on a dead tree
Birds love dead trees, and many animals rely on dead, dying or hollow-rotted trees. Woodpeckers, bats, ants and caterpillars live in snags. Woodpeckers nest in cavities excavated in snags (or dead parts of living trees) while using those same dead trees to drill for food.
Trees offer shelter and safe places to perch and watch and rest. Trees, dead and live are complete neighborhoods. Dead trees are actually teeming with life! Fallen logs and snags play a vital role in the lifecycles of hundreds of species of wildlife, providing a place to nest, rest, eat and grow. Before you cut or burn logs and trees realize it is a vital part of the neighborhood!
Before you cut a leafless tree. Remember it is a friend to lots of birds and wildlife.
“More than four in ten Americans breathe unhealthy air, with a disportionate impact on people of color” Paul Douglas
Last year on Earth Day I wrote how happy I was that because so many were staying home during the pandemic our air was cleaner. I loved it! This year we have moved to backward mode. Again exhaust fills our air. Many have breathing issues and dirty air makes their health difficult. What can we do different as we recover from the Covid pandemic and the murder of George Floyd? Let’s work so we all experience healthy breaths of air.
I am a firm believer that awareness helps people to take responsibility to do better. That is what this blog is about. So what bugs me, and what can we all do better? We need to have a better awareness of how we pollute the air what black and brown people experience just a few blocks away.
Many idle their cars in on my street in South Minneapolis as they read and talk on their cell phones. They sit in parking lots with their engines running, polluting everyone’s air. I don’t get it? Turn off your engine, save gas, and make the air cleaner for all!
Another rage is yard pit fires, Yuck, they pollute our air!
Million of tons of plastic end up in our landfills and oceans. Have you thought of how the production of plastic harms our air? Chemical plants making plastic are enormous contributors to air pollution, and often they spew chemicals polluting poorer communities. Also, some cities have garbage burners burning plastic polluting neighborhoods of people without power and without a voice. Plastic pollution is a social justice issue. Maybe if we think of plastic pollution/air pollution when we purchase plastic items we can say, “No plastic!”
Welcome to spring and the marvelous month of April. Earth Day is on April 22, and Arbor Day is on April 30. What can we all do to make April special? Small actions by many can make a big difference. So how can we all make a daily difference? Whether you have meatless days, pick up litter, leave your car at home, plant for butterflies or go plastic-free, make everyday Earth special.
Everyday Is Earth Day
By Kelly Roper
Every day is earth day, Or at least it should be. We should take steps every day to save our planet, don’t you agree?
Try walking when it’s practical, And skip driving a car. It will help cut down emissions And raise air quality by far.
Reuse, renew, recycle, Think of how much you throw away. Our earth can only hold so much trash, One day there’ll be the devil to pay.
And when it comes to littering, It’s not enough to clean up after yourself. Leave places better than you find them, And pick up litter left by someone else.
Don’t spray your garden with pesticides, Protect the birds and the bees. Choose natural ways of deterring pests, That won’t carry poisons in the breeze.
These are easy things we all can do, To protect the earth for future generations. If we continue to ignore all the warning signs, We’ll face sad and irreversible ramifications.
May March sunshine on your shoulders make you happy!
Happy March! Be kind to the Earth, be kind to yourself, and be kind to others! The Actions for Happiness calendar ( below) has many good suggestions to be more mindful and spread kindness.
March brings me joy. The longer days and the hope of spring are motivators to get outside and notice the changes, even if it is just melting snow. Everyday the outdoor world is waiting to be explored, your own neighborhood is perfect. Even 5 minutes of mindful observation will lighten your mood. Breathe, smell the earth, let the sun, rain and snow tickle your face, touch the wind, talk to the trees, hear the sunrise/night fall, smile and be kind.
This March pay attention to how you can reduce your carbon footprint: Can you reduce idling your car or drive less? Can you eat less meat and waste less food? How can you reduce the waste and plastic you generate? Can you buy less things and be a smarter consumer? Just doing a little bit can make a positive difference. Thank you and good luck!
Covid-19 has been a plastic disaster. As we climb out of this abyss we must take single-use plastic seriously. We also need to hold companies accountable for bad packaging.
Why as taxpayers and citizens are we paying the price of this environmental disaster of plastic while the creators of this packaging have no responsibility? The landfills in the county where I live are full, and plastic trash can last for hundreds of years, maybe forever! What are the manufacturers of this plastic thinking other than profit? As consumers we are also at fault. If we keep buying this plastic packaging they will keep making it!
How can we all reduce our landfill trash? Surveying my garbage I find I have way too much plastic that cannot be recycled, and most of it is # 7 plastic that cannot be recycled. Why would companies use plastic that can’t be recycled? I decided to ask them. I sent an emails or telephoned Wyman’s Blueberries, Bob’s Red Mill, Morning Star and Gardein. A few companies admitted they wished their packaging was better, but it was a freshness and a cost issue to stay competitive. What about the costs to the environment and our health?
#7 plastic is a mixture of different plastics and it is designed to make it hard to know what it contains. It can contain harmful chemicals like BPA. Don’t purchase it, and don’t purchase any plastic that can’t be recycled!
Model a new way forward: “When we use disposable items, we send a message: this is what we want, keep it up, make more of this. When we refuse, and choose reusable, we model another way forward. Our choices can make a difference. Let’s make them count!” PlasticfreeTuesday
Also choose reusable masks and gloves!
Bob’s Red Mill was the most disappointing of the companies I contacted. They sell lots of products, many that are hard to find, and have a monopoly on some products. Bob’s has a trusted reputation of being healthy and sustainable. I am sad they use awful # 7 packaging, and at our house we won’t purchase their products or any #7 plastic until their packaging improves.
The good news is that by being a smarter shopper it is possible to find items that are packaged in recyclable #4 plastic. These #4 bags need to be dropped off at grocery stores for store recycling. They should not be placed with your normal plastic recycling because they disable the sorting machines.
Lets hold plastic producers accountable and avoid harmful plastic. It is always best to reuse bags and containers when possible, but sadly that often is not an option. However, with new awareness we can do better, one plastic item at a time.
“Consumption is a big challenge for us as humans–we need, we want lots of things…The vast majority of products end up in landfills, and over 60 % of fabric fibers are synthetics derived from fossils fuels so they don’t decay.” Designer Christian Siriano
SO, How can we become better consumers? We have incredible power with our consumer dollars. How can we use that power wisely? Why would you reinforce corporate greed with your purchases? Everyone wants to save money, but you are not saving money when you purchase lots of cheap things that will end up in the land fill next year!
Lots of environmental repair is needed, and I hope you will join me to help in 2021 and resolve to be a better consumer. Look at your habits and just make one change. See reading list below.
One of the most important forms of power we have is our ability to decide where and how we spend our money. When you pump LESS gas, and purchase less meat you’re saying something. When you contact businesses about their extreme plastic packaging, you’re doing something. When you shop local, support local farms and climate-smart brands, you’re making a difference by revealing a growing market for whom business as usual will not cut it. At our house we only make purchases at places that pay a minimum wage. If we can use our dollars to shop for quality, support local, green, and homegrown businesses. We can keep dollars in our own communities and make a statement. Buying less makes a statement too.
The thought of having plastic microfibers in the food I consume stirs me to reduce my plastic consumption and motivates me to become aware of my plastic and other unsustainable purchases.
Where can you start? First work to stop purchasing single-use plastic. Shop with your reusable bags, use a reusable water bottle, refuse straws/plastic utensils, and find an alternative to baggies. Maybe stop using sauce packets. Become aware of all the packaging that can’t be recycled.
Start working on one thing and go from there. You will not be perfect, but you can make a difference! Maybe you can start with an alternative to dryer sheets and hand wipes. I just discovered somethings I purchased during the pandemic are in #7 plastic(not recyclable). I’m contacting these companies, and ending my #7 plastic purchases! Education and awareness make such a difference. I hope the reading list below will heighten your awareness also!
Say no to fast fashion and purchase items that will last a long time
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” — Maya Angelou
Happy February, the days are longer, it will warm up this month and the celebration of Valentines Day! It is exciting that after almost a year some schools are going back to in-person learning. The challenge of many this month is to get vaccinated from COVID, and I wish you luck!
February is also important for Black History Month. How can we all work for a more just and equitable world?
The Action For Happiness calendar follows with ideas to challenge you to stay connected. Lets all renew some friendships, and challenge ourselves to spend more healthy time outside.
“We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be—a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.” Amanda Gorman
We, the successors of a country and a time,
Where a skinny black girl,
Descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,
Can dream of becoming president
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover. … The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”