We walk upright, have opposable thumbs, and can program an iPod. And with great power comes great responsibility. This Earthday, let us all remember that, regardless of religion, philosophy, or desktop computer platform, we are stewards of the Earth. In honor of that idea, I got together today with some friends of mine from the Pagans of Esty Street Team. What is that, you ask? Long story. Click on the link. Anyhow, we got together to share a few tips and ideas for making our footprint on this planet a little smaller. With their permission, I’ve collected them together for you.
We started with this bit of Yankee wisdom: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." The key idea here is to reuse, recycle, upcycle, and reduce as much as possible!
Things that you can’t recycle, and don’t want to reuse? Swap, share, giveaway - try freecycle.com to giveaway things in your area. Too much work? Opt for Goodwill, Salvation Army, Out of the Closet and other thrift stores that resell your donations and put the proceeds to good use with in the community.
Reuse water: plug the tub so that shower water doesn't drain, then haul buckets of grey water out into the garden so you don't have to use fresh hose water. Do the same with your dishwater. The soap will gently take care of garden pests, reducing your need for harmful pesticides. Also, if you have fruit trees, removing the fruit that drops every day will reduce the number of insects, lowering your need for pesticides once again.
Opt for low flow shower heads, low flow and air assist toilets. Try to cut 5 minutes off of your showering time. This can save over 10 gallons of water! Have a drippy faucet and no money/time for the plummer? Catch the water with a bucket and use that to water house and garden plants, or use it to fill your washing machine.
Pick up opened, half empty water bottles after athletic practice for watering delicate house plants and orchids, then recycle the bottles.
Start a compost heap or bucket. Coffee grounds, paper napkins, pet hair and orange peels are all things that can be composted, and there’s lots, lots more. If you don’t have a big back yard where a smelly compost barrel will go unnoticed, try red worm composting, a fast acting, low odor composting system that is great for indoors!
The choices you make at the grocery store can also be helpful at lowering your impact on the Earth. Things that are locally grown take less fossil fuels and energy to get to your store. And free range meat and eggs are usually produced in a manner that is better for the environment. And make educated choices about fish! Don't have your Fish List? Print this one out!
Lets face it, for the most part, our spell casting and ritual Work has a pretty small impact. But here are things you can do to make that footprint even smaller. Choose locally produced tools, or make your own, or recycle from objects you already have. Forage for organic materials to use - flowers, acorns and nuts, and sea shells can be used in ritual and found on your hikes, visits and vacations! Pinesap can be harvested gently, in small amounts, from pinecones and naturally occurring drips on pine trees. This sap can be used as incense. But be careful! It burns very hot!! Only use it with a very fire safe receptacle.
Save your candles and melt them down to make new ones.
Wax that you don’t want to reuse as a candle can be remelted and put into paper egg cartons with a pine cone or sawdust and make great fire starters.
Don't know what your carbon footprint is? Check out this calculator.
And here is a resource for all of us busy bee Pagans: Ways to go green in just 5 minutes.
I hope you found all of this helpful on this Earthday. Small changes, even just one or two at a time, can have a huge impact if we all do them together.