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  • Pauline Hoffmann

Earth Day and National Park Week

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

One of my favorite weeks of the year is National Park Week. I love National Parks and have visited many in the U.S. and in Canada and Uganda (The picture with this blog post is of the Grand Tetons). My social media last week featured photos from my travels in parks in the U.S. and this week will feature photos from some of my international travels. Usually when I take photos in parks I don't take selfies because I am not the most interesting thing in the park. I want the landscape and wildlife to shine. I managed to find at least one selfie from each National Park I wanted to highlight with one exception but I think I found a reasonable alternative so no need to be blue (that's a hint). Check that alternative out this week.

I've had a blog post last week about National Parks and associated data. In this post I want to talk about Earth Day.

The first Earth Day was held in 1970, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement. I try to minimize my environmental footprint....and I am not always successful, but I do try.

What are some things I do to minimize my footprint?

When I spring clean the house (coming soon....), I hang the linens on the clothesline to dry. I also do this throughout the spring, summer and fall. It cuts down on energy used by the dryer

and also makes the linens smell divine! It's better than a fresh linen-scented candle. My mother used to hang clothes all year around. We used to be able to stand our jeans up in the house in the winter after she took them off the line. They weren't dry; they were frozen. Not good.

  • I periodically clean out my closets and donate whatever I no longer want or need - or whatever no longer fits. I just cleaned out my shoe closet and found several pairs that will find a very good home. Side note: I make my husband do this less periodically. He always asks, "why are we getting rid of my stuff and not yours?" Answer: Because I do this more often and don't have as much to get rid of at one time.

  • Along those same lines, we often take old t-shirts and other cotton clothing and make dog toys out of it. For example, we will take a t-shirt and tie a couple of knots in it. The dogs love it and they last longer than some of the store-bought dog toys. They aren't pretty, but like a kid with the box the toy came in, they don't care.

  • I brew my own coffee and I don't use the K-cups. I also use biodegradable paper filters. Now that spring has sprung, I will take the coffee grounds and use them in the garden. I found a tip (I can't remember where) that suggested that if you dig a hole for your plant, put the coffee grounds in the ground and then plant the plant, it will grow better. I have no idea if the plants grew better or not. I did get veggies from the plants so I guess?

  • I just bought a new bike! I will use it to commute to work! I won't. I work in my house. I just have to walk up the stairs.

  • I replaced my plastic storage containers (once they broke or were somehow destroyed - dogs chew on them if they are left on the counter) with glass. At least if the glass breaks, it's recyclable. I don't believe the plastic containers were.

  • Recycle! I have two bins in our vestibule for recycling. One is for papers and the other for glass, plastic, cardboard, etc. We have to take our garbage to the garbage center since we live in the country and those totes come in handy.

  • New York State instituted its "no single use plastic" ban a couple of years ago. That ban was relaxed during Covid but I keep my reusable bags in the back of my car so that I can run into the store and use them instead of plastic or paper. I thought it would be hard to get used to but it's remarkably easy.

  • Natural cleaning products are easy to make and use. Get yourself some water (the faucet works), some vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. That's all you need. I've read some fabulous tips and tricks for cleaning that I can share in a future blog post (a lemon in the microwave is genius!).

  • Compost...I bought a cute little kitchen counter compost container. I thought we would be able to compost with ease. And we could. Then we got chickens. Turns out the table scraps (most of them - not all) make a wonderful treat for the chickens. And their eggs are wonderful. I like to think the table scraps and free range capability have something to do with it.

Celebrate Earth Day by using one of my tips above or by just getting outside and breathing in the fresh air!

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