Book Review: I Love Dirt

imageMost of us (adults as well as children) don’t spend the time outdoors that our ancestors did in the past. Because of this we’ve grown rather disconnected from the wonders of nature. Research has demonstrated how beneficial being outdoors is for children’s mental & emotional well-being and yet we may still neglect this part of our lives.
Jennifer Ward has put together a marvelous little book that gives all sorts of creative ways to interact with and explore our environment. Most of her suggestions are simply ways to open our eyes to the details around us. She alerts us to things we may not have noticed before. I know I especially need this. I want to spend time outdoors with my daughter but I oftentimes don’t know what I should be doing out there with her. After reading her book I now have lots of options! Most of her ideas do not require any special equipment other than the five senses. While reading, several art/craft projects did come to my mind that would compliment nicely the activities she mentions. I appreciate how the book is organized by the seasons, so you can just turn to the section that applies to you at the time. In my efforts to live a more simple yet deep life, this book will be most helpful. I plan on purchasing this as one of my primary resources for Emma’s home-school Kindergarten this year. 

Save Gas, Slow Down

image Want a way to save gas? According to CNNMoney.com all it takes it slowing down a little. Evidently going over 60 miles an hour reduces your fuel efficiency. For example, going 70 miles per hour is like paying an extra 54 cents per gallon on gas! We probably realize this but feel our time is more important. You might be surprised to know that very little time is actually saved. In light of this I’ve started slowing down on the expressway. I thought having people pass me would be embarrassing but I haven’t felt that way. Instead I feel good knowing I’m saving money and using less of our natural resources. I’m also finding that I’m not the only one slowing down. :)

Just a note: It’s always best to try walking, biking or using public transportation rather than driving, however I realize this isn’t always possible. Reducing the number of car trips we make and carpooling are also great options when driving.

Source: CNN Money - Speeding Wastes Gas

Conventional Farming and Pollinators

image While many people know organic produce is better for their health, some don’t realize just how beneficial it is to the environment. Sustainability is another great reason to choose organic over conventional.

I was surprised to learn that while there are over 4,000 different types of native bees and other pollinators in North America, honeybees are not actually native to the U.S. They were brought here by the first European settlers. Native pollinators depend on “weeds” for pollen when the primary crops are not in bloom. With the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, weeds have been eliminated and woodlands that serve as a nesting place for native pollinators have also been reduced. Large commercial farms have actually become dependent on honeybees to ensure pollination. This has put great strain on the honeybee population because they are shipped from place to place to pollinate various crops and are forced to work when they normally would be dormant.

Source: “Busy Bees” by Tom Christopher - Martha Stewart Living Magazine, June 2008

Buying Seafood

Seafood, if not polluted by mercury and if harvested in an eco-friendly way, makes an excellent addition to a healthy diet. According to Ideal Bite there will no more seafood left in our oceans by 2048 if we continue to harvest seafood the way we do. Current methods of harvesting are unsustainable and need to be changed. We can do our part by buying only fish harvested using sustainable fishing practices.

Environmental Defense offers a pocket guide to selecting seafood (Pocket Seafood Selector) that I’ve found quite helpful. It’s nice and small so it’s easy to keep in your purse or wallet for reference when you’re at the grocery store or a restaurant.

Celebrate Earth Day

image Happy Earth Day everyone! To celebrate Earth Day this year, I would like to challenge us all (myself included) to actually BE outside for awhile today. Even if only for a few minutes, being in nature can be such a healing and refreshing activity. Sometimes we can write about being green, buy green products, advocate for the environment and yet rarely even be in contact with creation.

So today go surround yourself with green (and no I don’t mean money)! Just sit in silence (outside) and feel the breeze, hear the birds and breath in the fresh air. If there’s a park nearby, have a picnic lunch or take a walk. If you’re stuck in an office all day, go buy a plant or two to put on your desk.

This planet with live on is absolutely stunning! May you be enchanted by its beauty today!

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