Friday, April 22, 2011

Always thinking green

I love nature and I love the outdoors. I love gardening and watching things flourish from a tiny seed into a fully ripe fruit or vegetable. Most of all, I like being green and making as little waste as possible, hoping this somehow makes our neighborhood a little greener.

My 15-ft Blue Jay sail boat on Irondequoit Bay.

I really developed this appreciation for nature while sailing. As you know, when you sail, you harvest the power of the wind and use that natural energy to move your boat. It's fun, challenging and unforgiving when you make a mistake. You are also having lots of fun for free because you're using renewable energy, swimming in clean fresh water --breathing fresh air, and enjoying the serenity and aesthetics that only nature can provide. This is where I really experience nature's beauty and maybe even God.

When I got married and moved out, I realized that now my wife and I are just another couple that uses our planet's limited renewable resources – we produce trash, which takes up space. (I know, this sounds pretty bad, but it's the truth.)

In the future, I would love to drive a hybrid, use solar/wind energy or use geothermal/hydrothermal energy to power our home and business. However, until that day, we as a house hold try our best –not just on Earth Day, but year round-- to do our part and help the planet. How?

For starters, we recycle what we can like paper, cans, cardboard, and plastic. It's as easy as throwing one of those items into a recycle bin as it is into a garbage bin.

Veggie clippings for compost pile. Decomposable things like onion and cucumber peels, tomato bits, and radish clippings make awesome earth worm food. And earth worms help the garden.

When we prepare food we save the clippings and peels for my compost bin. This reduces what goes into trash and makes excellent fertilizer for my garden. Plus, the earth worms love munching on that stuff.

Blooming sunflower in my garden. In the summer sunflowers attract bees, and in the Fall feed the birds.

In the summer time, I grow a garden. It's fun! It really is. I love getting my hands dirty. I enjoy waking up each morning and seeing how much the fruits and veggies have grown. The garden also attracts and feeds insects like bees, butterflies and birds. It really gives me a sense of belonging in the whole scheme of things. The byproduct of all this, are fresh, delicious and nutritious fruits and veggies literally, right outside our doorsteps.

Tomatoes as they start to form.

Saving electricity. This is a big one. All of our light bulbs in our home are compact fluorescent lamps. As you know, CFL's use much less energy and provide more light than conventional light bulbs.

Taking out the trash. I see a lot of our neighbors take out their trash cans to the curb each week. I doubt they are full. We take out our trash can to the curb when it's really full, and when both of our recycle bins are full. This, I believe saves the garbage truck time and fuel making that extra stop to pick up a half-empty bin. Maximum efficiency is our goal.

Buying local. This is another easy one. We support local farmers and buy fruits and veggies grown locally from a farmers market. This cuts down on the amount of fuel the farmer uses to ship their produce. Plus, it supports our local economy, and that's important too.

Vampire electronics. I'm sure you've heard of this one; it's those pesky electronics that draw power even when they are off and when you don't use them. For us, it's not leaving our laptops plugged in when they're not in use. Turning off the power strip to the TV, DVD, Internet, WIFI, cell phones, battery chargers, coffee maker and etc. Why leave them on when we are not home or sleeping?

There are a million other little things we all can do to to be conscientious about our environment. It can include, using rechargeable batteries, using refillable water bottles, and not throwing trash out the car window. I know these are not revolutionary ideas, but they are a step in the right direction. And we all need to start somewhere.