Holistic Approach to Life Helps Save the Environment

Holistic Living There have been meat-eaters and there also have been those who vouch for vegetarianism. While the latter’s reasons may be religious, to ward off diseases or on humanitarian grounds, the former have tempted the latter with what they could be missing out on by depriving the latter’s taste-buds!

While it is futile convincing anyone to forsake their ideas, the world will be a better place for the future generations, if we adopt a holistic approach.

Saving the environment does not indicate that one should forsake meat alone; it means forsaking greed. Our eco-system is a well-balanced one, with the availability for every being’s needs, but not for every being’s greed! When we break this fragile eco-system thereby exploiting it, we are creating nothing but irreparable damage. If only the world’s builders mend their vandalizing ways, each time trees are cut down to make way for skyscrapers and hotels; if only seafarers are prudent to avoid oil-spillage; if only scientists realize the wreckage the discovery of nuclear weapons can create; if only you and I switch off the engine during a long wait; if only we during an excursion think before dirtying a pristine lake or hill, we would have managed to live a holistic life, safeguarding the world.

The herbivores depend on plants for food, the carnivores depend on herbivores and the dwindling population of either is absolutely dangerous for you and me.

Both developing as well as developed countries can do well to consider the imbalance staring at them and build a bridge to shorten the chasm. If you think population is the core culprit of developing countries, do think about the wastage of land and resources of developed countries! The United States alone has enough to feed the whole world.

Let’s start from home. Check on what is used in surplus and think of ways of curtailing this overuse. Think of ways of being a rolling potato instead of being a couch potato. A car-pool not only reduces pollution, but builds camaraderie too. Enjoy a walk with your companion rather than a drive. Ensure you consume very less electricity. A bored child can be taught the basics of gardening and made to sow seeds and tend to plants.

Find alternatives to substitute chemical pesticides. Sodium bicarbonate is an effective insect repellant when mixed with milk. Neem leaves and neem oil keep mosquitoes and even fungus at bay. Segregate organic and inorganic waste. While the former can be used as plant food, find if you can reuse inorganic waste in innovative ways. A simple man from India, Nek Chand did just that by creating a “Rock Garden” with waste like porcelain cups and saucers, electric bulbs, pens, bangles, et al!!

Make maximum use of the freely available resource such as sunlight, moonlight, the cool breeze, the rains, plants and trees etc. That’s what it means to living with nature harmoniously. Take initiative in learning about and implementing effective techniques like rainwater harvesting, vermiculture, solar homes, green energy products etc.

Say no to plastic and find substitutes for the same. Ask yourself if you certainly need a product, be it food or any product.

Catch them young – teach kids about going green

One of the best ways of keeping our environment clean and green is by teaching kids more about how we can keep our environment green. It is best to try to motivate them at a very young age. If we are able to tell them more about the benefits of going green at a young age, we will manage to get them hooked on to it for life. But we need to be imaginative when we discuss such topics with them. Kids don’t like when elders give them serious talks on any possible issue. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the environment or would not want to do anything to save it.

The trick is in getting them involved in activities that can be enjoyable as well as interesting. You can try any method that can get them involved in going green. Show the benefits of going green in a practical manner. This will have a bigger impact on them than just words. In case you are not able to come up with anything, here are some ways to try your luck with them:

You can start by encouraging them to save energy in every possible way in your house. The best way to do this is to first follow such the habits yourself. Your kids will be inspired to do the same when they see their parents doing anything that can save energy in the house. You can even have a competition in your house where the person who saves the most amount of energy will be rewarded with some catchy prize.

Try to teach them a number of ways to recycle the stuff that is lying waste at your place. You can start with paper; teach them to make paste out of it so that they can make paper bags and other things from it. This will also help them to cut down on the use of plastics at your place. In case there is waste cardboard, teach them a number of tricks so that they can build mini houses from it or models of cars. Give them paint so that they will have a nice time by making everything colorful. Remember only give them paints that are environmental friendly.

Take some time out of your busy schedule and spend it with your kids. Go for a walk in the countryside with them. They will be able to appreciate nature more when they are in close contact with it. Try to tell them more on animals and plants that they find interesting. This will help them to develop more interest in such plants and animals.

You need to tell them why use of plastic is bad for our environment – if you are able to do this then you will be able to prevent them from harming our planet in a major way. Plastic is one of the chief menaces that are creating major environmental problems on our planet.

Remember always be patient with your kids when you are discussing about the environment. It pays to be patient because if you can get them involved in the conservation of the environment, they will do their best in following this cause all their life.

Green Lifestyles

It occurred to me that some may feel only certain people can go green because the cost, work, and expected outcomes of those who chose to go green would certainly require a bit more income. However, no money at all is required to help the planet and there are no jet sets for those living green. No exclusive club awaits you nor will you receive any grand awards or positions because of your efforts.

What you will get is pride in doing something that will have benefits beyond the immediate and a sense of belonging since living green definitely ties you to the global community to which we all belong.

Simply growing your garden can become a symbol of a lifestyle change if you choose to let nature control pest and not chemicals. Many farmers are now doing just that and are reaping the benefits along with the healthier clientele that utilizes their produce. If they can do it on a large scale, then you can grow a summer garden on a small scale.

Here are some great gardening tips for growing herbs, veggies, and even watermelons without grabbing the pesticides.

To keep your tomato plants from being food for worms, surround them with the shells of eggs. Just crush them roughly and cover the ground around the base of the plant. The eggshells cut the worms and they won’t cross them.

Refrain from killing the spiders that take up residence in your garden. These creepy little friends make meals out of pests who would otherwise make a dinner of your garden. Nature is well balanced and versed in the preservation of what she grows.

Lady bugs do more than make cute things to play with on hot summer days by the children. They also eat aphids, which eat what you’re growing. Sprays can harm and kill these helpful insects, so don’t spray.

Bees, while bothersome at times, are a wanted insect when gardening. It is the work of these pollen collectors that ensure you have a yield at the end of the growing season. They are too busy pollinating to notice you anyway. Swatting at them only tells the bees you are a threat to their work and they will protect themselves with their stingers.

Citrus peels will keep your dog from joining the fray of insects in your garden and will repel cats as well. In addition, rodents don’t like them, either. Best of all, they won’t add any poisons to your ripened fruits and veggies that you will need to scrub off.

For your efforts, you can, at no cost at all, enjoy the taste of organically grown food that is healthy. In the off season, try to buy organic foods. Support those who are trying to live green while you are also doing you part and conservation can be had easily by all.

In the efforts of preservation and conservation are attainable by all, regardless of pocketbook size.

Getting Kids Involved in Conservation

Today as I cleaned up my office and sorted through an ever growing stack of paperwork, I opened my door and let in fresh air from the outside world.

First, there is a dollhouse in my office that is a constant source of stress relief and a great model for all of my designing ideas. (this is a great thing as it keeps me from moving furniture into odd arrangements and then moving it all back when I decide I don’t like it!) What I hadn’t counted on is the influx of neighborhood kids who stared longingly at my little world of miniatures. It wasn’t long before I had to give a play session to the kids (and to me). This is the one little disruption I enjoyed.

As we played, I began thinking of what to do a blog entry on for the night and realized that I had never asked a child what they thought living green was or how they thought one should go about living green.

“We can be like bunnies and eat the grass,” Chelsea, a four year old responded.

“No we can’t. That’s just dumb.” Her six year old and very sophisticated sister Jordan replied.

Logan, a little boy who lives just a few doors down from the girls, chimed in “It means we can’t pull up Mommy’s flowers ‘cuz they’re alive too and that would be killing.”

I chuckled but decided that perhaps a little experiment was in order. I pulled out the habitats I have for butterflies, ants, and frogs. I let the children decide which one they wanted to have for the experiment. Next, we collected some unsuspecting lizards, ants, and moths. I let the kids put in whatever they thought the animals would like in a natural world and got another surprise.

For those parents out there who don’t think your kids listen, please read on.

The children all chose vegetables for their new little friends. Unfortunately, the vegetables were the worst choices for food for the animals. I explained that the diets of their new “pets” were indeed many plants and foods that are not good for humans. The veggies, though, were like the pollution we put in the air with cars and the pesticides we use on our foods. They would slowly kill the very animals that the children had collected.

After a bit of research to show them using sites such as national geographic for kids, the children changed the natural world back to the way it should be for their pets. Then, we talked about how we could really do the same thing for ourselves.

I explained what organic meant and that it was kinder to the planet than any of the chemicals we used in a large portion of our foods. I discussed the experiments both NASA and Disney were running concerning how to grow food without water or soil and how to help the plants produce more fruits for eating.

They were most amazed with Disney’s 9 lb lemons. This lemon makes one gallon of lemonade and is grown organically. The sheer magic of this to them was that Disney created it so it had to be something from the fairies of Pixie Hollow and worth remembering.

By the time the afternoon was complete, I had gathered the mothers of these children and volunteered my teenage daughter and her friends for an outing to a local park this weekend. We are going to set the little pets free there and then work on teaching the children all about living green by helping to clean up the park.

I think if more of us did this just one weekend a month, there would be more understanding in the younger generation of what green living is and a better level of health in the older generations. In the middle of the conservation, you get some real quality time with the kids.

Our plan is to visit the science center as they have an area for kids to plant trees and flowers. Then, we’ll spend some time making a game of gathering the trash from the ground to make the park more beautiful. In return for their efforts, all the parents are giving the kids a pizza party. They’ll learn the beginnings of recycling and conserving our planet and we’ll be making memories to last into our golden years.

The idea is to get them involved. Kids will be more apt to be passionate about that which includes them than that which they are told they have to do without any input of their own. In the process, you will steer them toward a greener lifestyle without any resistance as they will be a part of it.

I think I’ll try to keep this as a monthly activity and get more children to join us as we begin teaching a little planet conservation to the next generation.

Recycling While Traveling

After spending a week in some really strange weather for Florida, I can’t say I wasn’t glad to reach dry land again yesterday when I arrived back at home. However, that little trip did teach me a lot about living green while traveling. It also provided some insight into how businesses and communities are working together to reduce the amount of waste produced.

Disney is one of the most popular vacation spots in the country. I had never been, so I hadn’t had a really good grasp of just how large this particular resort was in reality. It is vast in size and resembles a mid-sized city rather than a resort. Encompassed in its boundaries are every conceivable want of a tourist, vacationer, and even the business traveler could desire. In short, it is magnificent.

It is also extremely clean and environmentally friendly. The wildlife live side by side at Disney without either hindering the freedom of the other. This intrigued me, so I asked a few question on just how that could be since it doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else. The answers I received surprised me.

Disney has a multitude of recycling bins for various trash. This makes it a snap to continue recycling efforts while on vacation. To help reduce the confusion of mistakes in these bins, the receptacles had shaped openings to fit what should go inside. These were scattered throughout the park in vast numbers to encourage tourists to go green. They are simply painted and decorated to match whatever area you happen to be in. This keeps people happy as there are no eye sores and animals happy as there is less trash that can be harmful to them being left on the ground.

In fact, Disney goes even further in their conservation efforts than most vacation resorts. All of the benches in the Animal Kingdom are made from recycled plastic. They look and feel like wood, but are made entirely out of plastic that would have otherwise become part of a landfill. This greatly reduces the amount of trash inside the dumps and gives something that is needed back to the community. (Trust me, that park is huge and those benches are needed to rest very tired feet!)

Further, you can’t even get a straw in the Animal Kingdom because Disney doesn’t want them on the ground. They don’t want their animals to suffer at our carelessness. Some of the animals Disney shelters are on the endangered list, such as the manatee. For this reason, Disney takes extreme caution to preserve the natural world around us as much as possible while still delivering a magical experience that has become their trademark.

After learning about the efforts of Disney, I decided to look into what I could do with all of my discarded plastic trash at home. The possibilities are really endless-from molds to planters to containers for other items. One thing I discovered is that plastic shopping bags don’t have to end up in the trash at all. Out of boredom (read that as a need to relax and do nothing for a couple of hours), I began to braid some old shopping bags together. I spent most of the afternoon doing this yesterday and ended up with the best bath mat I’ve ever had!

I did put some double sided tape on the bottom of my plastic braided rug when I was finished to avoid slipping, but water won’t ruin this one and washing it is a breeze. I just have to rinse it every now and then under running water and I’m done.

I will be working on a completely recycled scrapbook and will post that with instructions as soon as I have it finished. So far, it is proving to be a most memorable method of preserving the trip to Disney. I’m finding as I research for this blog that going green is less work and much more fun than I ever imagined. In fact, it’s completely painless.

If you have ideas on how to recycle items and reduce the trash on the planet or on how to live a little greener, please feel free to share them with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Teens and Green: A Great Combination

In this article on going green, I would like to focus on a particular age group: teens. It is critical to understand certain truths about teens if you wish for them to live green…or any other way for that matter.

The teenage population must be regarded with respect and tasks, habits, and other requests you make should reflect a lot of coolness in order to be acceptable. This age group won’t be content with making kiddie crafts…unless it somehow helps them get a date for Friday night. They aren’t really into cleaning except when it guarantees the use of the car next Saturday. And, they have no intent on changing behavior unless they get something out of the deal–you know, extra spending money or some other privilege.

It isn’t that this group of society is bad. In fact, I think teens are absolutely wonderful. It’s more that teens aren’t little kids anymore and yet they aren’t adults with all the freedoms and responsibilities. In fact, a teen will inform you one second that they aren’t a baby and then argue they can’t do whatever it was that you asked because they’re just a kid the next.

What teens are great about is a cause. They love them. However, what you think is a cause may in fact be seen as something else you want them to do in their eyes. What you have to do is find a way to get your teen involved that is good for the earth and that relates to the lifestyle of teens in a big way.

Saving the planet, going green, and preserving nature are big for teens–just not in the way that you’re big on these items. For a teen, life is dramatic, dynamic, and always at full speed ahead. There are no such things as brakes, logic, rhyme and reason. There is an abundance of impulsiveness, spontaneous reactions, and emotional roller coasters.

To tap into this wide range of new and exciting aspects of teens in order to encourage green living, you just have to be creative. The following are ways to get your teen involved in green living without a huge headache:

*If you won’t do it, don’t ask your teen to do it. Teens are big on examples. Make sure your own examples show green living before you broach the subject with your teen.

*Introduce your teen to a world of volunteer activities. Animal shelters are wonderful places to show a teen how to preserve nature and provide a cause they can identify with. Consider that many teens feel rejected, abandoned, misunderstood, and mistreated by peers or other adults in some way. Teens relate and identify with the animals in shelters more readily than any other age group because of this and will fight to champion the animals toward a better life. In the process, you will see your teen’s self esteem improve, confidence rise, and mood change for the better. Volunteering at animal shelters teaches work ethic, preservation, compassion, and acceptance gently.

*Teens are proactive by nature. Encourage them to become involved in church, community, and green living. Help them organize activities such as cleaning up the park or planting trees or even hanging bird feeders in neighborhoods.You will discover that their ideas are often wonderful and worthwhile in our pursuit of going green. They will discover that they have value, can follow their dreams, and spend time with parents and other adults without it being painful.

*Teens make great mentors for the younger kids. Help your teen organize activities to get the children involved and watch the results blossom into something amazing.

Earth Day All Year Long

Earth Day. Have you ever really thought about what it really means? If you’re like most people, you observe this day set aside for the conservation of our natural resources but you don’t really connect with it on most levels. In fact, it probably never crosses your mind at all.

Earth day is more than just conservation. It is a significant reminder of our impact on the earth. Of all the land on the earth, we have a direct impact on 83% of it. That leaves only 17% of the land unaffected and unharmed by our very existence. What’s worse is the fact that we begin to destroy the earth from the very first day we are born. Of course, in the first few years of life the choice isn’t exactly ours, but it is these early years that form the base of the justification of our treatment of the planet afterward.

Many of the items we carelessly throw away, including vacuums and other household goods, contain plastics. Plastics take a very long time to biodegrade (3-5 hundred years) because they contain crude oil-which is what gives them the waterproof property we desire. Even disposable infant diapers contain the crude oil so that our children don’t soil us. This leads to happy parents, but a huge demand on a natural resource that is commonly known for its role in the automotive industry.

Basically, Earth Day is meant for us to become aware of our footprints. It is supposed to inspire us to recycle, reuse, reduce, and be kind to the planet all year long. When you consider some of the statistics of what we use during our lifetime, it’s easy to see how we can make a difference.

Below are some ideas that we can use each and every day to preserve the resources our earth gives to us. They aren’t hard to do and only take a few minutes out of our day. But, best of all, these simple steps can make a difference in the quality of life we live and in the conservation of nature for both us and future generations.

1. Packaging is a major problem. Most packages use plastic. Purchase items with the least amount of packaging to reduce the amount of waste. (i.e. Buy socks that aren’t in a plastic package but are instead wrapped with only a small connecting tag for store display)

2. Purchase organic vegetables and produce items that are free of packaging from farmer’s markets. Not only are you saving the planet from wrapping waste, but organic foods don’t use chemical pesticides or preservatives. It’s a great way to eat healthier and to encourage more farmers to avoid the poisonous compounds that add to the pollution of our planet.

3. Recycle trash. This seems simple enough, but most of what finds its way into our dumps could be reused if it had been sorted. Paper, plastic, glass, and metal can all be remelted,molded, or reshaped into a new product that doesn’t require us to use more of our natural resources.

4. If you live two miles or closer to where you work, walk or take a bicycle. Both are excellent forms of exercise that improve your health and emissions are not secreted into the air. This reduces both health insurance and air pollution.

5. Instead of cleaners that rely heavily on chemicals, choose the ones with all natural ingredients. For example, find toilet bowl cleaners that use helpful micro-organisims to degrade waste in sewer systems. Vinegar and water are wonderful for cleaning windows. There’s even several commercial cleaners that are now environmentally safe if you prefer ready made cleaning solutions for your needs.

6. Instead of reading your newspaper on newsprint, which requires a lot of trees for production, try listening to the news on an audible recording or reading it on the Internet. Most stories in the daily news can be had this way and don’t use any trees to make. Two of the best newspapers to offer audible recordings of daily news are The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. (And, if you’re wondering why trees are so important: Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis. We breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants, such as trees, intake carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.)

7. When choosing how to diaper your baby, consider the use of cloth diapers. These are washable and reusable, made from natural fibers, and are better for your baby’s skin. By choosing a more natural method, our dumps can see a dramatic decrease in use as the average baby will need almost 3,000 diaper changes in the first two years of life. That’s a lot of waste not going into landfills.

8. Reuse plastic bottles! Instead of buying a cleaner in a plastic spray bottle every time you need a new supply of the cleaner, purchase a concentrated refill that can be mixed with water in the original bottle from the first purchase. The amount of waste is greatly reduced and the spray bottle doesn’t find its way into a landfill.

9. If you purchase milk in a plastic jug, it doesn’t have to be thrown away when the milk is gone. These make great banks for loose change and planters. I love to let the kids decorate the jugs with other items that would normally end up in the trash such as colorful wrappers from cookies and chips. They love the unique banks they make and it helps the planet. The plants serve to help clean up the air in my home and it doesn’t cost me much to reuse what I already have.

10. Clothes also litter the landfills. Consider donating the gently worn items to Good Will or another charity in your area. For those items not so gently worn, consider making them into something else. Old socks make great puppets and cleaning cloths. Old jeans work well as oil rags for working on your car or in the garage. Also, if there is a quilting guild or sewing group in your area, see if they would be interested in clothing not suitable for donation. Many times, these groups will use them as scraps and create beautiful products from what you believed worthless.

There are many other ways to help save our planet and to conserve the natural resources we’ve come to take for granted. Don’t be afraid to try them out. Not only will the amount of trash and pollution decrease, but you may find some enjoyment from creating and being inventive.

Just think what a truly wonderful world we would live in if everyone did their part to conserve the beauty all around us.