Small changes, big difference

Every day can be Earth Day and if ‘shift’ needs to happen, then we can all help make it happen

Every day can be Earth Day and if ‘shift’ needs to happen, then we can all help make it happen.

We enjoy a wonderful lifestyle here and no one says you have to be perfect in an imperfect world. It’s just important to start putting our best grassroots, ‘green’ foot forward and let it grow and flourish from there.

So here are some suggestions for us to chew on or act on for a cleaner and greener Shuswap and beyond.

Switch your garden plants to native species that better suit our climate and require less (if any) watering; rearrange your existing garden beds if need be to group plants that have the same watering, exposure and soil needs to reduce watering and prevent diseases; water your lawn and gardens at the most opportune times and amounts; plant more food and herb pots for the sun deck and patio; less lawn, more gardens; get involved or initiate a community or school garden; support sustainable agriculture groups and farms; commit to buying at least one more organic item in the grocery store; support the farmers’ markets and farm-gate sales; maximize your garden space and grow more vertically; support Seedy Saturdays and buy only organic seeds; plant wayside gardens where appropriate and participate in farm and garden tours to see how others are making positive changes.

At work or at school campuses, see if you can initiate food or material waste reduction, energy conservation, pollution prevention by using greener cleaning products, water conservation, recycling and social justice programs; attend green home shows, seminars and workshops to glean ideas; bug all levels of political bodies to make healthy and sustainable changes for our environment and communities and create a holistic home by using cleaners and personal care products that are earth friendly.

Join local food action, water, fish and wildlife protection and naturalist organizations; volunteer to plant trees or restore damaged lands; grow edibles for the food banks, Second Harvest and school programs; get your kids or grand kids interested in gardening and fresh food; host healthy potlucks to cultivate community and share your harvest and ideas; compost to have an excellent supply of nutrients and microbes for your plants and use a healthy mulch cover to feed your soil food web and reduce watering needs; refuse to use toxic products and poisons in your landscape and encourage suppliers to carry more organic products (remember that every purchase you make is supporting a market share of something that the number crunchers are keeping a close eye on for consumer trends); if you have something to share, then speak to groups and network; start a healthy home-based business; become an urban farmer.

Take pride in your neighbourhood and community and pick up litter and keep your yard looking tidy and junk-free; recycle, repair, restore and re-gift your stuff so it doesn’t end up in the dump; utilize the great gifts nature gives us, such as rain water, leaves and fresh grass; educate yourself and be inspired by people all over the world who are making huge strides towards a greener future (see TEDtalks); vote where your values are or get politically involved yourself; support ‘green’ travel both abroad and locally, such as the Shuswap Trail Alliance; change your driving habits and walk, cycle or car pool more; grow flowers for all seasons for our pollinators; build, buy and gift mason bee, bat and bird houses and create habitat in your yard such as snake hideouts and ponds for nature’s critters; get into honeybees; check in on your animal husbandry practices; support businesses and farms that care about how animals are raised and slaughtered; change your eating and purchasing habits to support local farms and  businesses; put your money where your conscience is and invest in environmentally and socially responsible companies.

Remember what Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Let’s be that change we want to see for our future and work from the ground up, rather than waiting for it to come from the top down.