Earth Saving Tips from
Earth ShareFall 1997
Fall Planting Pointers
Though many people gear up to work on their yards and gardens in the spring, fall is actually an ideal time for yard work. By the time autumn rolls around, summer heat waves are long past, rainfall is usually more plentiful, and new trees, bushes and flowers have a greater chance of surviving than they would if they were planted during a hotter season.
Here are a few ideas for bringing your garden to life in the fall:
Compost the leaves. Rake the leaves into a corner of your yard and leave them there until next fall. During the year, the leaves will decompose into a crunchy mulch you can use to insulate flowerbeds or improve soil texture.
Fertilize organically. When preparing your soil for next year, add organic, slow-release fertilizers that will help enhance your soil over time. Most garden stores today carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers; many catalogue companies also sell organic products. See Earth Share's Web site at www.earthshare.org for more tips on gardening organically or check out your library for more information.
Plant trees. Choose species native to your area as well as those that are drought and pest resistant and can grow in the kind of soil and amount of sunlight available on your property.
Gauge your garden. Replace plants that demand too much water or attract too many bugs.
Back to School
As the kids get ready to return to school why not teach them some simple conservation tips:
Lunch break. Pack kids' lunches in lunch pails or canvas bags instead of throwaway paper bags.
Consider reusing plastic sandwich bags or only using durable plastic containers. Start with the basics.
Remind kids to turn off the lights in the bathroom or cloak room when leaving, throw away trash found on the school playground, use both sides of the paper and save unused chalk, pens or art supplies.
Check out schools' recycling programs. Ask whether recycling bins are accessible and if the kids are encouraged to use them.
DON'T SPOOK MOTHER NATURE
Halloween can be a lot of fun, but it's also a time when you can either trick -- or treat -- Mother Nature. These tips will help you treat the Earth right on this spooky night.
Dress down. Rather than buy a new costume you (or your child) will only wear once and throw away, make one out of clothes and fabrics you already have. You can also get terrific "costumes" at thrift shops and yard sales. Swap costumes with neighbors and friends. Donate your kids' used costumes to day care centers or shelters.
Bag it. Send your kids out to collect their candy with reusable buckets, canvas bags or pillowcases.
Redecorate. Keep Halloween decorations from year to year so you don't need to buy new ones each season.
Recycle. Once Halloween is over, recycle your pumpkins, the straw you used to build scarecrows and any other organic material by composting it. The compost can be used as fertilizer for your garden.
Teach your children. Urge your children to dispose of their candy wrappers in their bags or in trash cans rather than on the street.
Keep it simple. When you're buying treats to give out, choose items that come in a minimum amount of packaging. Some folks skip the candy altogether in favor of useable treats like pencils, pens, funky erasers and even nickels! Believe It or Not! The typical U.S. house loses 25% of its heating and cooling energy through its windows. If all the windows in the U.S. were energy efficient, we'd save up to 2.5% of the amount of energy the U.S. consumes each year. We could save about 200 gallons of oil for every household in the U.S. if all windows in the country were efficient. Environmentally improved windows have the potential to pay back up to three times their cost in energy savings.
COOL THE GLOBE
Global warming occurs because carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gasses released by the combustion of fossil fuels are building up in the atmosphere and preventing the sun's heat from escaping back into space. Many scientists, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are concerned that global warming could lead to serious changes in our climate, causing more dangerous storms and hurricanes, rising sea levels, and the spread of tropical diseases. In
December, delegates from around the world will meet in Japan to determine ways their countries can reduce fossil fuel emissions.
You can do your part at home:
Drive a fuel-efficient car. If your new car gets 10 mpg more than your old one, you can reduce CO2 emissions by 2,500 pounds a year. Walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit. If you leave your car at home two days a week, you'll reduce CO2 emissions by 1,590 pounds a year.
Weatherize your home. Insulate walls and ceilings, caulk and weatherstrip around doors and windows, and wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 4,000 pounds a year. Use energy-efficient appliances. If you replaced your existing refrigerator with a high-efficiency model, you'd reduce your CO2 emissions by 220 pounds a year. Energy-efficient appliances are now available for microwave ovens, stoves, dishwashers and computers, as well.
Reduce, reuse and... Recycle? You guessed it. Buying food and other products in reusable or recyclable packaging can reduce CO2 emissions by 230 pounds a year, while recycling all of your home's waste newsprint, cardboard, glass and metal can reduce emissions an additional 850 pounds a year.
At the office, consider these additional ideas: Turn off the power. Flick off lights and turn off computers and other equipment when you leave your office for long periods of time. Use e-mail.
Use electronic mail and electronic faxes rather than paper and the postal system whenever possible.
Use a reusable mug. Choose reusable over throwaways as much as possible. Support company programs to save energy.
Participate in company carpools, waste paper recycling programs and environmentally friendly landscape strategies.
Tele-commute if possible.
With winter coming on, it makes sense to "tune up" your windows so they keep the heat in and help you save money on energy bills.
Consider these suggestions:
Caulk window frames. Don't let the hot air out. Caulk around window frames to prevent heated air from leaking out or cold air from sneaking in. Cover windows with curtains and shades. A wide variety of insulated curtains, shades and window treatments is commercially available from hardware stores as well as specialty decorating centers.
Check your telephone directory for nearby listings. Replace old windows with energy-efficient models. Single-pane glass provides only a thin barrier to the outside and can account for considerable heat loss and gain. You can replace single-pane windows with those made of double- or triple-panes, or with "low-e" glass, which allows full sunlight to pass through the window but reduces the amount of heat that is transmitted. You can also investigate heat-absorbing glass, which reduces the amount of heat that passes through the glass and into a room.