We can lower our carbon footprint and end climate change—here’s how, by RGC Guest Blogger & 2nd place HS blog winner Savannah Young

We can lower our carbon footprint and end climate change—here’s how, by RGC Guest Blogger & 2nd place HS blog winner Savannah Young

 It’s needless to say that there’s no shortage of plastic in the Roswell area. 

Between the sheer amount of straws given out at restaurants to the load of plastic bottles you can find on the side of the road, there’s no doubt that we need to make a change. 

However, while some may struggle to see that we need to make changes in our lives to help the environment long term, others may find it difficult to actually make the change.  

So, we’re throwing it back to elementary school and reminding everyone of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. 

I know, I know, it’s something we were taught at a very young age, right?  

As we get older, the three R’s slowly slip into the back of our minds. I mean, we no longer do those big earth day projects anymore, do we? That’s why it’s important that we keep the three R’s in our heads at all times, as it’s one of the steps towards a greener future for us and generations to come. 

So, let’s start off by talking about the most well-known R: Recycling.  

For any of those unfamiliar with recycling, it means “the action or process of converting waste into reusable material”.  

Here in Fulton County, we can recycle metals (aluminum, steel, tin), glass (bottles, jars), plastics 1, 2, 5 (including grocery bags, bubble wrap, and shrink wrap), and cardboard. 

And, while it’s great that so many people in Fulton County recycle, we could take it a step further—which brings us to our next R: reusing

For example, instead of recycling cardboard, you could find another use for it. You could use it for storage or as a way to mail gifts down to family and friends. As for plastics, you, too, could use it for storage (for cereal, snacks, etc.) and other household needs. And, for all those Pinterest lovers out there, Mason Jars have a variety of uses. 

While reusing is another amazing way to help the environment, we could take it even further than that. How, you may ask? 

We could reduce our use of single use items. Yes, I know, it seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it may be easier than it seems.  

For those who haven’t heard of reducing, it means to “make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.” 

If we were to stop purchasing one-use items, such as Q-tips, straws, and water bottles, we would be a few steps closer to being eco-friendly. 

If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to make the switch (or worried about the cost of going eco-friendly)—you don’t have to worry. After all, you can make small switches along the way, rather than completely giving up everything at one time. 

In order to make the switch, and help the earth in the long run, you need to go into it with an open mind and positive attitude. Instead of fearing the change, be open minded. Remember that you’re doing this for future generations, wildlife, and, most importantly, to save your earth.  

You may be one person, and while that may not seem like a huge difference, one person is all we need to get more on board with the idea of a greener and brighter future.  

Below, we’ve compiled a short list of links to eco-friendly switches you can make from your average, every day, one-use products. With your help, we can end climate change and lower our carbon footprint. 

Why am I Helping the Environment?…by Guest Blogger & 3rd Place Winner Maynor Chinchilla

Why am I Helping the Environment?…by Guest Blogger & 3rd Place Winner Maynor Chinchilla

I want you to think about the question “Why I am helping the environment?”. For a lot of people this question is difficult to answer because they may not help the environment or not ever think about it, and if you are one of those people here is the answer. We need to help our environment so we as the entire humanity can have a better future. Remember that this is the place that you are going to invite

What is the point of destroying your home and not having another place to live in

your children. Remember that their future is located in their home, and I don’t think someone can have a future when it does not even have a home. You are choosing between letting the kids live and die. Trust I know that those words are really strong but this is the reality. Right now we can have the chance to repair some of our environments and if we don’t take this chance these kids may not have the best future in life. If you ask Why? Here is your answer if we don’t change the way global warming is going. These kids would not be able to stop it. It’s like writing with a pen you can not erase, and yes you can cover it but it is always going to be in there. So let’s stop covering these problems and let’s try to repair it. Remember that humanity is strong and we have changed the way we do things all the time. Let’s become more modern and not just use the thing in our home. Let’s also keep our home stable, and ready for the future that comes. So be ready to help the earth and be ready to give them the future that they deserved. Let everyone say “I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.” And also let’s all find a better and more modern future for the good of our children, for the good of our home, and for the good of the entire humanity. I hope you help our generations to find a future.

Lets Learn how to protect the beauty around us

Now that we talk about why let’s talk about what we can do. Something that we can do is show care about it every time there is an election. Remember that the leaders would give us representation in the government. Which means that if we show care they would start to also show care about it. Let’s demand the care that this topic needs. Other activity that we can do is planting trees, but please do research to see if the tree belongs to your environment so you don’t create an invasive species. Other activity is recycling. This would help our future generation to have less starving communities because right now a lot of animals that we eat are dying because of contamination on water and earth. That is why after going into a park you need to remember to clean after yourself. Remember to stay safe and to help the future generations.

2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

2020 RGC High School Environmental Blog Post Competition Winners

Roswell Garden Club is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Environmental Blog Entry Competition:

1st place – The Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling, Tara Goff

2nd place – We Can Lower Our Carbon Footprint and End Climate Change—Here’s How, Savannah Young

3rd place – Why am I Helping the Environment?, Maynor Chinchilla

We encourage you to read the words of these student-bloggers from our community and take action on their suggestions. Let’s work together to take the National Garden Club, Inc.’s challenge and move from consumers to caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.

Garden Week in Georgia: Inspired by Earth Day? Now’s the Time to Start a Compost Bin by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Garden Week in Georgia: Inspired by Earth Day? Now’s the Time to Start a Compost Bin by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Many of us’ve thought about composting waste, but never made the time for it. While we’re staying at home, it’s the perfect time to start a compost bin  and develop the habit of composting. This DIY project can improve air quality, enrich the soil, and alleviate landfill woes. Kitchen and backyard composting is not only FREE and incredibly beneficial, it requires little effort—a definite win, win, win for gardeners.

According to the UGA Extension, “Composting is the natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic material into a soil amendment known as compost.” Compost is a magical soil enhancer. It helps retain moisture, eliminates the need to use commercial fertilizer, and encourages vigorous plant growth. A good garden can be made great by improving the soil with home-made humus.

Statistics show that compostable waste, which creates greenhouse gases as it decomposes, makes up almost 25% of the world’s garbage. The simple act of composting reduces the amount of garbage in landfills and improves air quality by breaking down waste quickly and safely. Let’s look at what goes into the compost bin and how to make an outdoors or indoors compost bin so the magic can happen.

Composting starts with layers of brown matter and green matter

  • Brown matter provides the carbon needed for composting
  • Brown matter includes dry leaves, wood chips, straw, sawdust, smushed egg shells, coffee filters, corn stalks, shredded brown corrugated cardboard, and shredded newspaper
  • According to Planet Natural Research Center’s Composting Paper: How to use cardboard and newspaper in your compost pile, you should only use plain newsprint and plain brown corrugated cardboard—no glossy pages, no colored ink, no bleached white paper
  • Green matter provides the nitrogen needed for composting and most of the nutrients that enhance the soil
  • Green matter includes food scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, manure, and recently pulled weeds
  • Never put cooked food, dairy products, meat, fish bones, or fat in your compost bin—these substances produce odors that can lure pests
  • Aim for a ratio of about 4 parts browns (carbon) : 1 part greens (nitrogen) for outdoors composting and 3 brown : 1 green indoors
    • If your compost is smelly (yuck!), add more browns
    • If your compost doesn’t get warm, add more greens
  • Read more at Gardening Know How: Understanding The Browns And Greens Mix For Compost
  • Be sure and mix in some water to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria/fungi—these helpful agents break everything down and eventually create rich, organic, nutrient-filled humus

Starting an indoors compost bin
There’s a wealth of great online resources for starting an indoors compost bin. Here are some excellent videos and articles to get you going in about 5 minutes.

  • Better Homes and Gardens’ article How to Make Your Own Indoor Composting Bin and 55 second video are chock full of information. If you want a small, sink-side or under-the-sink compost solution, start here—it’s concise, helpful and inspiring!
  • P. Allen Smith’s YouTube video DYI Trash Can Compost Bin is twice as long, covers a larger solution, and is also concise, helpful and inspiring—go figure
  • Bob Villa’s All You Need to Know about Indoor Composting is a great article with a wealth of information about multiple types of indoor composting

 Starting an outdoors compost bin
Although there are myriad compost-related bins, tools, and equipment available on the Internet, there is no need to purchase anything. I got started when a friend who owns a truck brought me 4 wooden pallets and told me to go buy 8 bungee cords; that’s simple construction, and it worked perfectly.

  • Place the bin conveniently near the house on a level, dry, shady spot with access to a hose
  • Don’t place the bin on tree roots
  • Air and water are critical to the composting process
  • Keep the pile moist and turn it with a pitch fork as you add ingredients; this maximizes the rate of decomposition

The thermophilic compost process takes place slowly, and the finished product can take months depending on maintenance and conditions. You will be rewarded for your patience. For detailed information on composting, download publications C816 and B1189 from extension.uga.edu.

Let’s get it started.

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Garden Week in Georgia: Arbor Day–Don’t Miss Your Chance to Celebrate Trees by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Arbor Day–Don’t Miss Your Chance to Celebrate Trees by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

There are so many ways that trees positively affect us, our communities, and our world. Check out the details on the Arbor Day Foundation website:  https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/

  • Trees help clean our air
  • Trees contribute to our health
  • Trees provide us with oxygen
  • Trees provide much-needed cooling
  • Trees help reduce the effects of climate change
  • Trees help us save energy
  • Trees benefit wildlife
  • Trees help reduce crime
  • Trees are a good investment of our public dollars
  • Trees increase our property values

 

Arbor Day Is Not Just Any Day

WHAT IS ARBOR DAY?

Arbor Day, much like Earth Day, is a holiday that celebrates nature.

Its purpose is to encourage people to plant trees, and many communities traditionally take the opportunity to organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events on or around the holiday. A popular Arbor Day tradition is to plant a tree in honor or memory of a loved one.

THE HISTORY OF ARBOR DAY

Arbor Day sprouted from the mind of a zealous tree lover named Julius Sterling Morton, who had a passion for planting all kinds of trees.

The first Arbor Day occurred on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It’s estimated that nearly one million trees were planted on this day.

By 1885, Arbor Day became a legal holiday in Nebraska. The date was changed to April 22 to honor Morton’s birthday. On that day, thousands of Nebraska City citizens turned out for one big party, including 1,000 school-children who formed a parade.

Within 20 years of its creation, the holiday was celebrated in every American state except Delaware, which eventually joined in.

Particularly pleasing to Morton was the fact that schools across the country began celebrating Arbor Day by dedicating the trees they planted to special people.

Fun Fact: Arbor Day was almost called Sylvan Day, which means “wooded.” Several members of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture favored it, but Morton argued that sylvan refers only to forest trees and that the name Arbor Day was most inclusive, covering forest trees and fruit trees.

 “Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

                –J. Sterling Morton.

Read More about Julius Sterling Morton and Arbor Day on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website: https://www.almanac.com/content/arbor-day-history-facts-date

Roswell Garden Club encourages you to consider joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Membership starts at $10, and new members choose one of these free gifts: 10 free trees for you, 10 trees planted in a threatened rainforest, or 10 trees planted in our nation’s forests. Check it out here: https://shop.arborday.org/content.aspx?page=memberships

Since October and November are the months to plant a tree in Georgia, be sure and choose FALL PLANTING. There are tutorials available on the internet about how to plant a tree, and extension.uga.edu provides great information and resources specifically for Georgia.

Garden Week in Georgia: Earth Day 2020 – 50 Years of Celebrating & Saving our Earth by RGC Bloggers Suzy Crowe & Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Earth Day 2020 – 50 Years of Celebrating & Saving our Earth by RGC Bloggers Suzy Crowe & Lisa Ethridge

Explore Earth Day 2020’s theme—Climate Action—by taking part in Earth Day Live. EarthDay.org is the place to be, not only to read about challenges we face but also to be inspired to make changes large and small to preserve our precious Earth. So what can you do online for Earth Day?

  • Watch Earth Day Live! See live performances, hear live messages and calls to action. The stream starts at 12:01 am ET and runs until 11:59 pm.
  • Take part in the Seawalls Stay-At-Home Mural Festival for our Planet. There are several free events to register for and take part in. If you don’t feel like participating in an event, browse 350 ocean-inspired murals from 15 countries around the Earth.
  • Tap into NASA’s Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary Toolkit. Check out the NASA Visualization Explorer.
  • Create some fun Earth Day art of your own with resources from Kathy Barbro’s Art Projects for Kids. You will recognize the featured image for this post if you go to Kathy’s siteit’s the free Earth Day Mini Mural.
  • On the Earth Day news page, read the Q&A Interview with Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day. Denis speaks about the past, present, and future of Earth Day. On the same page, explore 11 Actions for the Earth During a Pandemic.
  • Read Roswell High School students’ thoughts and suggestions regarding the environment. Their thoughts are in response to the Roswell Garden Club Environmental Competition Blog prompt:
    • Inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thernberg’s speech to the UN and the National Garden Club, Inc.’s Conservation Pledge – ‘I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.’ Roswell Garden Club invites high school students from public, private, and home schools in Roswell, GA, to write a blog post exploring how we in Roswell can become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.  The topic for the post, ‘Moving from consumers to caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife,’ lends itself to a variety of perspectives. Students are encouraged to blog about ways communities, organizations such as schools, families, and individuals can begin to have a positive impact on our world.”
  • Read our short History of Earth Day:

In the late 1960s, individuals and politicians embraced environmentalism. Graphic proof of the decline of water and air quality presented ominous images of international abuse of the planet. Activists made it clear that in order to secure a decent quality of life and a sustainable future, laws must be enacted and behaviors must be changed.

In 1970 politicians added Earth Day to the calendar to strengthen the message and unite supporters. Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s iconic poster designed to promote the first celebration depicts Pogo the possum surveying the trash-covered Okefenokee Swamp declaring, “We have met the enemy and he is us”. Message received—millions paid tribute to Mother Earth on April 22, 50 years ago.

Grass roots initiatives and meaningful political action produced unprecedented victories for the environment. Congress passed The National Environmental Policy Act in 1970, and two years later the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts followed. President Nixon proposed the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain and enforce environmental laws, work with industry to develop best practices, and co-ordinate educational outreach. While there is still room for improvement, the outlook for the environment is positive.

Through the years the number of government agencies and non-government organizations has burgeoned. The Internet provides links to millions of informative, eco-centered websites dedicated to raising awareness of the green movement. Widgets that calculate every aspect of our carbon footprint are available. Social media allows people from all over the world to comment and contribute. Bloggers raise awareness of issues and share personal views of timely topics. We no longer have to be our own enemy. Individuals can get involved and share responsibility for protecting the planet.

This year, join Roswell Garden Club and celebrate the earth on April 22 and throughout the year. Whether you attend an online community event, plant vegetables or flowers, pick up trash, or enjoy a walk, take time to focus on being a good steward of the environment. As one blogger put it, “To do something nice for the planet ultimately does something nice for you and all those you care about because, for now, we all live here.”

Note: The featured image for this post is Kathy Barbro’s free Earth Day Mini Mural, available at https://artprojectsforkids.org/free-mini-earth-day-mural/