Of course there are always the hand-made coupons for mom to use that say things like: 1 hour of alone time, free week of Daddy and kids making dinner, mom’s choice movie night, 1 free breakfast in bed, 1 night out with mom’s girlfriends, etc. Pick out what your mom likes and start crafting these great coupons.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Posted by Marie at 8:18 AM
Friday, April 26, 2013
As we do many a Sunday morning, my husband, son and I walked to the local coffee shop. It is only 4 blocks away and we enjoy walking by the community garden and through downtown.
However, this past Sunday, the very Eve of Earth Day, I was troubled by what I saw.
Litter. Everywhere. In the streets, in the grassy right of way, in yards, on steps up to a porch, just anywhere you looked, there it was.
We generally will pick up cans or bottles on our walk back and had more than our bag could handle. And we didn’t even come close to getting 25% of it. I realize trash accumulates over the winter when people aren’t out and about to pick it up, but this seemed exceptional. Have people forgotten the proper place to put trash and recyclables? Or could it be the ever growing population of folks who throw their trash out at the curb loose or worse yet, out their car windows that are contributing to this mess?
I do live in a trying neighborhood, I’ll give you that. However, I see a lot of litter everywhere. Suburbia is not exempt from this. However, those people in suburbia seem to be doing a much better job at keeping their streets and lawns free of litter. The first nice day comes and you see them out in droves, cleaning up their yards.
Is it maybe that many of the people who live in my neighborhood are renters and therefore don’t care what the property and neighborhood looks like? Possible. Yet, where are the owners or management companies of these properties? Why don’t they care enough to clean it up and fine their residents for their disrespect of the property?
These are all things I will probably never know the answers to but certainly will keep searching. In the meantime, I guess we need to start bringing a few bags with us every time we leave the house. That’s our baby step toward a greener city center. What’s yours?
Posted by Marie at 8:02 AM
Friday, April 19, 2013
Did you know that Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd and marks the 43rd Earth Day? What are you doing to commemorate it? Each year I try to think of something to do to celebrate the beginnings of our national movement to a better, cleaner environment. I know we all hear that Earth Day is Everyday slogan and it is true. If you are a recycler, make your home more energy efficient, carpool or take mass transit or bike, and generally be a conscious consumer, you are putting this slogan into action. And that is what Earth Day is all about, action.
The first Earth Day in 1970 marked the beginning of a national movement to clean up our air and water (Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act), and establish the Endangered Species Act. Demonstrations were occurring all over the nation in response to polluting industries and the state of our natural environment. Public spaces all across the land were full of people who were concerned for the health and well-being of not only the environment, but themselves and future generations.
Here we are, 43 years later, still fighting these battles. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way since April 22, 1970, but we have new and tougher challenges facing us. Climate Change, whether you are a believer of the human impacts or not, is occurring. Weather patterns are changing, storms more frequent and more damaging costing us billions every year. Coastal populations are planning and implementing strategies to deal with sea level rise and some island nations have already left their homelands.
So, what will you do this Earth Day? Commit to saving energy, commit to saving water, and commit to buy a more fuel efficient car or be better about not driving everywhere, plant trees, plant a garden? I have done all of these things already but could still do more. We can always do more. After all, we are the generation of doing more with less right? Our challenges are big; there is no doubt about it. But, we have to rise to the challenge now, before it will take more sacrifice on our part and more irreversible detriment to our natural world.
What will YOU do?
Posted by Marie at 8:06 AM
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Spring is here! Though you wouldn’t know it with the near foot of snow we just received yesterday. Regardless, Spring planting, and planning for planting, is upon us. The snow won’t last forever so let’s talk about a few things that will help our gardens grow.
If you grow a food garden, remember that some plants take more of one thing than another from the soil so some nutrients can get depleted quickly. Apply a generous amount of compost and turn the soil. This will help your garden get all the nutrients it needs to grow. I have seen 12 foot tomato plants with tomatoes all the way to the top with a good compost mix applied!
In my garden, I try to make raised rows for plants with nice deep valleys between them. This helps with watering. Water in the valleys and put down straw to keep the sun from evaporating too much water (also prevents weeds), and you will conserve water usage.
It depends on where you live and what grows well there but try to get plants that are native to the area. That means less maintenance is required so you can have a beautiful garden that won’t require too many additional resources to maintain. Hey, I am all about having more time to do other things in the Spring and Summer.
What are some of your planting and gardening tips?
Posted by Marie at 8:15 AM
Friday, March 15, 2013
What is it about recycling that turns some people off and others get really excited about it? I heard a recent report about interviews with several hundred non-recyclers who gave many reasons for not recycling. Some of these were the usual ones that we recyclers hear all the time about it not being convenient, not knowing what the rules are, and not thinking it really does any good.
But the most often stated answer was very shocking to me. They most often stated reason was that they didn’t like the attitudes of those of us who do recycle. Saying that we act like we are better than them and it makes them want to throw it away instead of recycle just to spite us.
I have to wonder about this answer. It sounds more like a teenage rebellion response than a legitimate one. I admit; I do give people several economic and environmental benefit reasons to recycle that material they just threw away if I see it happen. But does this make it sound like I am better than them in their minds? Or do they just feel guilty and resent me for making them feel guilty?
So, what ideas are out there to help get the message out there about the benefits of recycling and how to recycle? The industry has tried many approaches but we still seem to stagnate. Please comment with your ideas and suggestions. Or, if you have different reasons why you don’t recycle (if you don’t recycle) please share as well.
Posted by Marie at 12:56 PM
Friday, February 15, 2013
It sounds strange but these thoughts and questions occur to me more than once a week. It’s not that I can’t do these projects. I consider myself fairly creative and am not shy with a hammer.
However, in all of this, I wonder if I am not just a bit jealous. Not of the cute things that come out of these projects but of the time that these DIY folks seem to have. In the meantime, I think I will just keep trying to consume less, and recycle what I can’t donate.
Tell me, do you pin to boards on Pinterest and actually get around to doing these projects?
Posted by Marie at 8:07 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2013
I was sitting in my living room playing with my son and his new toys from Christmas when he stopped paying attention to me and focused intently on his toy. As I watched him, I could see the gears turning in his head as he connected the dots and realized several things the toy could do that he hadn’t noticed before. His brow furrowed and he continued to do these new things over and over again. When he was satisfied that he had mastered this, he looked up at me and gave me a huge smile, looking thoroughly pleased at his ability.
I looked on with pride and reaffirmed his excitement with a big smile and a “yay!” We continued on with what we were doing.
This made me think about all of the times I had these same “aha” moments. Several of these came in college when I saw how classes seemed to correlate with others that you wouldn’t have expected. Topics like World Humanities and Waste Management don’t really seem like they have anything to do with one another upon first glance; especially when your world view is so limited at that point in life.
But, we live in a world where nothing really stands alone. Everything is connected in some way. As humans, we are constantly trying to relate new experiences with something we know so we can make sense out of it. We do this in conversations too.
So, why is it that some of us can’t see the connection between the economy and the environment and things that affect both? I am amazed still by the benefits of things like conservation and recycling, and their compounding benefits on the economy and the ecosystems that we depend on. Likewise, it is astounding how much degradation of these ecosystems occurs from consumerism, overuse, and negligence when you are not keeping these things in mind.
Consider this: When we recycle 1 ton of material (2000 pounds), we save 3 cubic yards of landfill space (and consequently the methane it will produce), trees (at 17 trees per ton of paper), energy, water, air pollutants, oil, soil erosion (from mining practices), and all of the added CO2 emissions from the extraction, transport, refining, and manufacturing of new materials.
Energy and water are our biggest threats in the near future. We have aging and at capacity transmission grids and our water supplies are strained by overuse and pollutants. There are more and more spills, accidents, and unintended consequences from our ways of extracting raw materials that cost taxpayers billions. Though, we don’t usually see these costs. Hidden costs.
Has there been an “aha” moment yet?
The only thing I can hope is that more people, and our government, will come to the realization that we need to make a bigger effort. Treat it like a new toy. It may take a little work and you may have to turn it over in your head several times but you will eventually see so many new possibilities.
Posted by Marie at 8:14 AM