April 1, 2012

Earth Day ~ Every Day: Week Five

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My Week Four Assignment:

Trees are much more than big, woody plants to be used just to make a landscaping project "look good". Over the years, I've seen apartment complexes and businesses plant healthy little saplings in tiny six-foot sections of earth entirely surrounded by concrete and curbs. They're often placed, and then neglected while "business" continues as usual. They're often sickly and dying, battered by the unsupervised children of apartment complex residents, and suffocating amongst the exhaust from continual traffic all around them. If they do survive and actually grow (how landscapers can overlook the size a tree will eventually become is baffling to me), they're deemed too large and unruly to make the landscape "visually appealing" anymore, and may be cut down and replaced by more saplings.

I have never been an extremist regarding deforestation. With that, I mean that I haven't chained myself to a tree so that no one would cut it down. I do, however, understand that about 80% of the ancient forests that used to be here on Earth are now gone. Admittedly, I feel a bit powerless in "preventing" the continued loss of our forests and would like to believe that our hunger and need for wood products is being achieved by means of eco-friendly conservation. We can use wood without leaving the Earth barren.
"At first I thought I was fighting to save the rubber trees; then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realize I am fighting for humanity."
 - Chico Mendes, 1944-1988
During the years that I needed to burn wood to heat our home, we used approximately 22 cord of wood each year. Every single piece of wood was cut from trees that were already downed. No living tree was sacrificed to keep us warm. I've planted Pines and Oaks and Apple trees, among others, and have created large brush piles - leaving them on my property for the animals to use during the cold Michigan winters.

Earth Future offers Ten Ways to Preserve Our Forests, and there are numerous other places online to learn more about protecting our forests (ie: our habitat).

Earth Day ~ Every Day Week Five: 
Water Supply and Contamination Concerns
April 1-7, 2012

The focus for this week is conserving water and addressing water contamination concerns. It's relatively simple and inexpensive to reduce water use in our homes. Several ideas include the following:
  • Place a large (50-80 gallon) "rain barrel" underneath one of the downspouts from your eaves trough system. The water collected can be used to water plants, flower beds, vegetables (at ground level only...do not pour the water onto the actual parts you will be eating since it is filled with contamination), rinse off your lawn furniture or driveway, clean the gutters or rinse the siding. Do NOT drink the water collected in a rain barrel.
  • Install low-flow shower heads (2.5 gallons per minute or less).
  • Turn off the water, rather than letting it run, when you brush your teeth, shave or rinse the dishes.
  • If you have an older toilet, fill a 2 liter plastic soda bottle with water and place it inside the tank of the toilet so that it takes less water to fill the tank each time.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency lists several ways to help conserve water.

Water contamination comes from numerous sources. As I was preparing this week's introduction, I learned that something as simple as using a colored bar of soap can contribute to water pollution, and when using cleaning products, laundry detergents and other toiletries we can greatly reduce further water contamination simply by switching to natural, eco-friendly alternatives.

The Assignment for Week Five is, again, a fairly simple one. Choose any of the following to explore and write about:
  1. Discuss a dozen ways, or so, to conserve water within your home or work environment.
  2. Look up current statistical data or news regarding the extreme depletion of Earth's water supply already occurring, and share these facts/links along with your impressions.
  3. Explore eco-friendly products to replace current cleaning products currently available. These may be either homemade or purchased. Share your findings and experiences with the effectiveness of natural products you've tried. What are some of the ingredients considered most harmful to our water supply?
  4. Write anything you like in relation to conserving water or helping to prevent water contamination.

If you haven't joined in with our Earth Day ~ Every Day Campaign: 13 Weeks of Earth-Wise Exploration, it's never too late to begin! Just click the title of the Campaign directly above, read the brief instructions, and enter your blog URL in the comments section. The Earth thanks you for your efforts. ;)
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA.  She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.


roxie said...

Hi Polly , I just finished my week 5 post lol
I hope it is okay and does not sound to rushed .

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