Not long ago I talked about an encounter with a TruGreen (ChemLawn) truck and feeling as though we were going to be asphyxiated as we drove by the chemical spray being applied to a neighborhood lawn.
I simultaneously felt a sense of guilt that I used to have a lawn service and those same chemicals were once sprayed on my yard. I still gasp at the thought. Those chemicals are pollutants that contaminate ground and surface water, as well as pose a threat to wildlife and beneficial insects. Plus they create serious health risks for humans, with children being the most vulnerable.
But those precious little feet can still have a healthy, green lawn. And if you just adopt some simple practices, you can have a nice, clear conscience too:
- Go easy on the watering – lawns only need an inch of water per week so this means about ONCE a week. And if mother nature is helping (via rain), even less frequently. Too many shallow waterings also bring roots to the surface and burn out the lawn faster.
- Don’t “mow low” – the optimal length is 3”, so don’t over-mow or mow too short. Taller grass grows a deeper root system, grows slower, requires less water and helps prevent weeds.
- Don’t “ bag it” – mulching mowers actually cut grass and chop it so it can act like mulch to hold moisture, but if you do have a bagging mower, consider composting the clippings.
- Consider timing – don’t mow in the heat of the day (grass loses moisture) and water in the early morning or evenings to prevent evaporation.
- Water wisely – actually water the lawn (not sidewalks and drives!), use timers or pay attention not to overwater and prevent waste.
- If you must control a few weeds – use white vinegar in a spray bottle and spot treat.
- Go crazy – sell your lawn mower and buy a push mower (although my husband’s not “buying that one” just yet!).
- Skip the fertilizers – even the organic kind. Honestly, do you really need them?
I think all we really want is a lawn that is healthy and green… a place where our kids can run, play and roll around without worry, and a sense that we aren’t doing more harm than good “in pursuit of the most pristine lawn on the block”. I assure you, your kids don’t care about that, but the environment surely does.
This weekend our family enjoyed a fabulous day of art and culture at an event called Parade the Circle. It literally brings art and culture to life when participants create interpretations of famous works of art and their artists through costumes, music and some of the most creative props I have ever seen.
After the parade the activities continued in a large park and we were enjoying the event until I noticed them dismantling the six enormous balloon arches that were used in the parade. By ones, twos, (SEVENS!), groups of balloons took to the sky… and I simply thought “Oh no. Someone make them stop!”
I’ve always been leery of balloons for the simple fear of my kids choking on one of them. But there is also an on-going debate about the environmental effect of balloons, and that is what concerned me with this event.
The balloon industry argues that, because they are made of latex, they biodegrade at the same rate as an oak leaf and have no effect on the environment. But environmentalists will disagree that the concern isn’t so much about their biodegradability, but the effect they have on animals that mistake them for food and consume them once they burst or come back down to ground. Animals also become entangled in the strings and ribbons that are still attached.
Studies of marine animals that have beached themselves have turned up digestive systems blocked with deflated or partial deflated balloons, suggesting that they actually beached themselves to get out of their painful misery. That’s all I need to hear.
While I’m not suggesting that we all swear off balloons (because my kids would definitely be bummed!) I am suggesting that we take responsibility in just four simple ways:
- Keep balloons indoors
- Never purposely release them into the sky
- When they are outdoors, weight them down to prevent “escape” and
- Detach the strings and simply dispose of them properly when you’re finished with them
Everyone loves a parade and every kid loves a balloon, but what goes up must come down, and it’s a landing that can have a harsh and destructive reality.
In honor of Mom Goes Green’s one year anniversary, I’m going to go easy on myself today and not boggle my brain for a witty post…
I am, however, going to tell you where to find some fab information on going green. Straight from the mecca of every video on the planet, You Tube has teamed with Sun Chips and launched Live Green, a channel dedicated to all things green. From greening your home, your community and your life, it will be found here, all in one convenient location… ready for your choosing and viewing.
There is also a great opportunity up for grabs… do you have an amazing idea that has been bouncing around in your head for so long it hurts? Well, Sun Chips and National Geographic have also teamed up to create the Green Effect. Submit your own unique idea for creating a green movement or program in your community and five lucky winners will receive a $20,000 grant to make their dream happen. Imagine the possibilities.
So bookmark it, tune in, get informed and dream big. You could have the idea to make the next “big difference!”
I’m still sitting in awe… Mom Goes Green is one year old today!
I remember a time when I was brushing off my husband’s suggestion that I start my own blog. What could I possibly have to say? Well, apparently A LOT.
June 10, 2008, was my first post and here I am, 176 posts later. One almost every other day.
I’ve journeyed through:
I’ve barely made a dime, and questioned whether I should continue on occasion, but when I look back at well-over a thousand comments, I know it was worthwhile. I don’t have plans of quitting anytime soon, but even if I stopped today, I realize that somehow, somewhere, I made a difference.
Thank you for joining my journey to “go green”!
With love & appreciation for reading me — Mom Goes Green
Friday I had a proud moment. Our daughter “showed her green side”.
I was at her school for a full-day event to celebrate her school’s students reading two million minutes this year! (Bravo!) Part of the day’s activities was a book fair and so, naturally, our daughter found plenty of “Mom, can I have these” items.
As we stood in line and she noticed the kids before her having their purchases placed in plastic bags she said “Mom, do you think I can tell them I don’t want a plastic bag and I’ll just carry my books instead?” (insert beaming, proud smile here!) I told her “Absolutely!”, but she was shot down at checkout when they told her that all purchases needed to be in bags so they knew that the books were paid for. Happily, I can tell you that she did NOT like that idea.
Not until this moment did I realize that I actually need to arm my seven-year old with her own reusable bag. I also realized that the solution was sitting back in my car in my own purse. I have a great compact reusable bag from Earth SAKS that folds down into its own little case and would be perfect to send with her to school and keep in her book bag.
This was another one of my “a-ha moments.” I’ve been so busy worrying about my own reusable bags that I’ve completely overlooked the fact that our kids need them too, and I have left them unarmed for far too long.
Needless to say, the Earth SAKS bag has taken up new residency with our daughter. The school year may be nearly over, but all the ways she’ll soon put it to use are only beginning!