See a Tree

Trees on bodies of water help to keep water clean.

May is Arbor Month. Do you have a favorite tree? When I was a child I had a young  basswood tree growing in my back yard. It was a little tree, but it had enormous leaves. I loved watching that tree grow and change! 

Jane Goodall

The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky” Jane Goodall

Before being logged pine trees originally covered northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Find a tree on your walk, in your yard, or neighborhood to enjoy. Observe it everyday. Watch how it changes, notice the shade it gives, the texture of its bark and leaves What kind of seeds does it have? Watch for new growth. How does it help wildlife? What attracted you to it? What beauty and diversity does it add to your environment? Give it a name.

I have a cedar in my backyard full of mysterious activity. All the birds that fly in and out of its secretive branches intrigues me. Cardinals have built a nest hidden in its branches, but it is too busy an environment to raise a family. It does feels like a friendly place, and all the birds love its shelter. I would love to hide in its branches to find out all that goes on within this cedar tree. Unfortunately, the cats in my neighborhood also sit and watch this tree full of bird activity. Please keep your cats inside!

May is a perfect month to plant trees, but always plant something native to your area, and please plant trees friendly to wildlife. Here is the National Wildlife Federation’s list of best trees for wildlife. Oaks are especially good for wildlife.

Trees are beautiful and add so much to make our environment special, but “Foremost might be trees’ role in purifying the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Of course, they also play a vital role in creating habitats for wild animals, providing food, water and shelter.” Jim Gilbert 

How do trees help keep water clean? Trees improve water quality by slowing rain as it falls to the Earth, and helping it soak into the soil. They also prevent soil from eroding into our waterways, reduce storm water runoff, and lessen flood damage.

Earth Day Wonder

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day let’s celebrate our Earth.  We ate all in this together, and it’s a wonder how interconnected we all are. Who would think the entire planet could work in solidarity for one thing, healing! Our forced isolation has begun to heal the Earth. The air is clearing, the waterways resting, and wildlife is happy to have quiet and some of their habitat back.

Our Earth is an amazing place, and on this Earth Day think about the wonders of our beautiful planet.

what a Wonderful World
Wonders of our Earth

There’s wonder everywhere, if only you look for it. Look for it. It might be in a tree outside your window, in the patch of sky you can see if you crane your neck, in the herbs you’re growing, in the nest the swans are building on that open stretch of marsh across the street.” Sam Sifton NYT

All these wonders are connected. We can make the world a better place when we work together in solidarity. Can something good come of this awful crisis? May science, justice and kindness transform our world into a new beginning. Take 3 breaths for peace, and celebrate wonder on this Earth Day!

11 actions for the planet during a pandemic

 

Plastic-free/Zerowaste Tuesday

Sadly all the shopping restrictions have made plastic-free shopping more difficult. Even my food coop won’t allow me to fill my own containers, but as we shop we can still work to purchase items with a minimum of packaging and strive for less waste.  Hopefully, in a few months things can safely start to get back to normal.

real plates
Always use real dishes, utensils, and glasses.

Spending the day at home makes it easy to be plastic-free. Always use real dishes, utensils and glasses/cups. Read about my plastic-free day here.

Too much food is waste!
How can you use those leftovers?

Make Tuesday the day to use up food left-overs from the week. Create wraps, soups or a stew from your left overs. Before the Coronavirus  40% of food was wasted in the United States. With so many hanging out at home I suspect that number is now lower. Let’s save water, labor and energy, and continue to reduce our food waste.

Food waste picture
Wasting food wastes water, energy and labor!

“Learn strategies to reduce food waste at Save the Food, (www.savethefood.com) and commit to taking action. Some ideas: improve your meal planning and stick to your grocery list, store food to make it last, reorganize and inventory your refrigerator or pantry, and keep track of perishable items and use them up before they spoil.” Hennepin County

Enjoy a Meatless Day

 

Start this week with a meatless Monday. Cooking meatless gives you a new fun challenge.

Meatless uses less carbon
In solidarity for a meatless day.

I love meatless Monday. It forces me to think about something different, and Monday is a good day to try a new vegetarian dish.  Today I am making a delicious split pea vegan soup. See the recipe here. It would be a miracle if you had the ingredients, but if you have some carrots, celery and beans or lentils you can create something rich using this recipe. We are all into substitutions right now and you can do this! Be creative and have fun, and give yourself something new to think about.

Beans and lentils cause 34 times LESS climate pollution than beef, and they are healthier for you! Read at NRDC.

It has been amazing how popular beans have been in this crisis. I hope you are enjoying and making healthy food choices. During this coronavirus crisis we need to be keeping our immune systems strong. Make a big deal out of what you are making for dinner, and enjoy a meatless day!

 

 

Spiritual Sunday

find beauty
Collective action can create a healthier and happier world.

What ever your spiritual practice, nature can heal us. Today find beauty and love whether through the gospel, through a poem or picture, time outside or a meditation. Dare to dream. Spend the day doing what you love and finding beauty in your day. If the weather permits go for a long walk. What do you love? how can you have more of what you love in your life? Find beauty from your walk or from your window. Wishing you peace.

Unplug today! Your Daily Good is to spend a day without screens! Can’t make it a whole day for one reason or another? We get it. What about an afternoon or even an hour? Spend the day doing something you love. I hope that is time outdoors with no phone.

Take three deep breaths for peace on earth.

Singing Saturday

 

loon
We all love the awesome call of the loon

I hope you can find peace with the sounds of nature. April is the best time of the year hear singing birds.  I have chickadees and cardinals singing outside my window. Ducks are flying overhead, frogs and crickets are singing. Maybe the wind or the sound of waves or running water gives you peace. Listen for an enjoyable sound, or maybe search for complete quiet.   What sounds of nature give you peace?

From 2 writers in the Star Tribune see below:  

“Whatever it is that gets us thinking “spring” should lift our spirits and nudge us forward in this period of newness. The despair surrounding COVID-19 leaves us numb and sad, but events in nature’s spring tell us of better things to come.

These spring mornings are the best time of year to hear the symphony of bird music. Listen as tree swallows chatter; mourning doves coo; ring-necked pheasants crow; both northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees whistle; common grackles squawk; red-winged blackbirds trill; Canada geese honk; American robins sing “cheer-up, cheer-up;” and woodpeckers drum.” Jim Gilbert

 

The white-throated -sparrow sound like a flute when it sings.

“It’s the start of spring in the north. The birds are returning and in contrast to other years when I step outside, I listen for and enjoy the singing. It’s everywhere I stop. I try to listen to what they say — I could be imagining it, but they are saying it all goes on. We’re here. Nature is here. Despite your stress, relax. There’s nothing you can do about the pandemic other than listen to nature and seek refuge in compassion and the truth.” Bryan Hansel

 

Friday Fun

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
—Christopher Robin ( sidewalk chalk work on my street)

butterfly
Can you find a butterfly?

Today have fun outside. Yesterday on my walk I saw an eagle sitting in its nest, a beautiful mourning cloak butterfly, and heard a grouse drumming its wings. Many of us are using nature to help us get through this coronavirus crisis. How can you more engage more with the outside? How about a scavenger hunt? Look for sidewalk art, a butterfly, a beautiful tree. Look for blooming flowers, a bird building a nest, an interesting cloud, or something that surprises you? How many new things in nature can you discover? Please have fun.

Bald Eagle
I saw an eagle sitting on their nest

The Daily Good suggests you take pictures of what you observe? Are you taking pictures of what you’re seeing around you? For today’s Daily Good, we invite you to take and share a picture with someone; you can even share it with a lot of someones by tagging it #TheDailyGood2020 on social media.

Thoughtful Thursday

kindness
Kindness creates a ripple, spread it now.

Thoughtful Thursday

Everyday should be kind and thoughtful, but make a special effort today. Our collective actions for kindness can make a difference. Put water in your bird baths, fill your bird feeders, check-in with someone you haven’t seen or heard from in awhile, especially those living by themselves.

Be kind and smile.

Let’s take collective action to flood our communities with positive energy and kindness even as we social distance.

It’s a perfect time to be outside and connect with nature. Many people are using nature to help them survive this crisis. An idea from the Daily Good: “Identify a plant, bird or bug in your immediate environment, whether that be through a window, in your yard or around your neighborhood. See that robin alighting on your fence or bee buzzing around your window box flowers? Pause a minute to really study it and think about what role it plays in the environment around you. If you don’t know what it is, try using a book or online tool to identify it.”

Clean Water Wednesday

poster for clean water
What can we do to keep our water clean?

Clean water, and water use are crucial to our health. Flooding and droughts are serious for our future, and we all have a right to clean drinking water. Become aware of your water usage and how lucky you are to have inexpensive clean drinking water. Water Wednesday is to concentrate on our water usage. It is a day to pick up litter, sweep our sidewalks, and clean debris from our storm drains.  Collective positive energy works! 

gratitude makes you happy
thank you

And an act of Gratitude from The Daily Good: Today’s Daily Good is to prepare notes of appreciation for your waste collection, postal or other workers who provide a public service. You can even ensure it is hands-free by taping it on your door or mailbox or hanging an appreciation in your window. However you communicate it, take a minute today to appreciate the hard work and dedication of those who show up for us and our communities day in and day out.