Earth Day efforts in my backyard
Happy Earth Day, everyone. A whopping 50-years! As I watch events unfold on www.earthday.org with Ed Begley Jr., I’m trying to stay optimistic. It’s hard though when the coronavirus global crisis steals attention away from the equally serious long-term threat of climate change. The thing is the two go hand-in-hand, the more climate change affects the more a pandemic is inevitable.
While this administration is apathetic to make this breathing organism habitable for the next generation, others are not. They know that the fabric of life hangs in the balance. And, they know you don’t need to be extreme to do your part. Even small efforts make a big difference.
So to recognize this vulnerable milestone, I’d like to share some of their efforts.
First up, my neighbor, Marilyn, a bonafide gardener that has adopted an earth-friendly habit done not just today but every day. Marilyn picks up trash that litters the gully behind her house, the park across the street, and wherever else she finds it. Her efforts are backbreaking and she has scrapes and scars to prove it. Her work beautifies and safeguards the community from broken glass, plastic milk bottles, and mosquito-prone tires. Tires are properly recycled in Marilyn’s capable hands.
Her car is red for a reason; her bleeding heart for this planet is well-known at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and the Five Rivers Preserve in Bethlehem. She stewards events at both environmental centers. Thank you, Marilyn!
Up next is Tara and Jim. The couple is doing their part to carbon-reduce by owning a battery electric vehicle or BEV. No tailpipe on this beauty! I was so excited when they took me for a ride around the block this summer.
With a range of nearly 300 miles to a charge, their model, the Tesla Model 3, won Cars.com 2020 eco-friendly Car of the Year award recently. Some will argue that Tesla isn’t as sustainable as they brag. Electricity, they argue, has to come from somewhere, but Tara and Jim thought of that too. They invested in solar panels on their home. (I’ve had mine since 2013). Thank you, Tara and Jim.
Often we think of nature as something to observe only when we hike mountains. But, my friend Barbara has only to walk out her back door to be surrounded by it. Many moons ago, she started restoring the then-litter-infested wetlands along the Hudson River to their ecological wonder. She is one of the county’s leading climate activists and conservationists and lives symbiotically with the natural world.
She manages her vast plot by removing invasive species and replaces with native wildflowers, trees, and plants. With limited help, it’s a daunting conquest but somehow she manages to stay resilient. Her many bird feeders attract a field guide of migrating songbirds. They keep her company while she toils in dirt.
And lastly, what am I doing? Well, let’s talk about health and nutrition during quarantined cooking. Did you know that red meat production is the primary source of methane; A greenhouse gas that is 90% more potent than CO2?
I was raised on Wienerschnitzel and ice cream so giving up red meat and dairy took about five Earth Day anniversaries. But, the more mindful I became that a plant-based diet has one of the most beneficial impacts on the environment, the easier it was to embrace the alternatives.
Even George is fooled by the new plant-based plates I create. Many are great-tasting or become better when I toss in a few extra seasonings. Red pepper helps.
I also compost food scraps in a giant wheel that helps grow the veggie garden. Every year the cost of emerging plant proteins comes down so that helps in the winter when fresh is scarce.