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Category Archives: Love Our Earth
Clutter can be an ongoing problem for many modern households. A problem that can seem overwhelming, it can sometimes can be difficult to fight the urge to simply shovel the whole mess into the garbage can and start anew. While this may remove the clutter from your kitchen counters for the short term, it is not usually the most effective way to deal with the clutter problem on a long term basis. Fortunately, there are ways to get control of the clutter that has invaded your home without taking such drastic steps as trashing it all.
1. Sort: The first step to removing clutter is to determine if an item is trash or if it can be placed in another, more appropriate category. Can the item be recycled? Or is it something that can be donated? Or does the item simply need to find a new permanent place to reside within your home to keep it out of your way?
2. Recycle: Many communities offer at least some type of recycling program. When trying to declutter, it is likely that some of the clutter can be recycled. You can either send the paper and appropriate plastics off to the recycling center or you can find new ways to extend the life of unused items. One example of recycling would be reusing a tired and frayed bath towel by cutting it up into smaller pieces to use for those hands on cleaning jobs such as dusting, cleaning the bathroom, or washing the car.
3. Donate: There are some items that are just collecting dust on your kitchen counter due to not being used, for example, but they work perfectly well. The bread machine that your husband bought you for your birthday could be an item that someone else will get lots of use out of. Instead of simply throwing the bread machine away, you could donate it. You will be helping to keep working items out of the landfills while also supporting your favorite charity.
4. Relocate: You can find new places for those items that seem to constantly clutter up your counter. Install a few hooks in the wall next to the front door and hang your keys and umbrella there for easy, yet out of the way, access. Designate a bin or other container as the home for backpacks and briefcases so that you can keep your counters free of clutter but still allow unfettered access to these important items that are needed on a daily basis.
You and your family want to become more environmentally friendly and be kinder to the earth. It can be difficult, however, to implement. This is particularly true when you factor in how busy people are these days. There are some simple ways that you work together to become a more green conscious family. If you need some pointers, read on.
• Get Back to Nature. Sometimes it is hard for people, especially children, to understand why it is important to conserve water and to throw litter in the garbage can instead of on the ground. By taking them to a park, you can point out its beauty. If there is trash on the playground or the trails, you can point it out to your children and ask them to help you pick it up. By doing so, you will be setting an example of how to take care of the earth.
• Find a Source of Water. If your neighborhood park has a stream or creek, use it as an opportunity to explain how all of the water that you and your family drink and use, comes from the same source as that stream or creek in the park. By turning off the water faucet at home while you are brushing your teeth, you and your family can help contribute to the conservation of this awesome natural resource.
• Tour a Recycling Facility. If you live in an area that supports a recycling facility, call to arrange a tour. Most children will be fascinated by learning the process that takes an item from being used and recycled to something new and different. Conversely, you can also take your family to a plant that processes both recyclables and garbage. You will be able to learn what happens to the trash and how the recyclables are sorted and processed as well.
• Make an Earth Jar. Sometimes everyone needs a little incentive to be more earth friendly at home. You can make a small Earth Jar that everyone contributes a small fee to when they throw away an item instead of recycling it or leave the lights on when they leave the room, for example. A nickel is a good fine amount to start with. When the jar is full, take the family out to ice cream.
• Designate an Earth Officer. At home, you can designate one of your children as an Earth Officer. This child will be responsible for reminding everyone to turn off the water while brushing their teeth or to turn off the lights when they leave the room. Violators will be reminded to put their fine money in the Earth Jar. Choose a new Earth Officer every week.
In today’s environmentally friendly world, it is now possible to have a sustainable home office. In fact, due to a wealth of creative ways to use, and reuse, items, it is not only possible, but quite easy to do so. You can make your home office more sustainable through your every day choices as well as when you stock it with the necessities. Indeed, here is one area where that old adage, reduce, reuse, recycle, rings loud and true. Read on below for some tips to get your creative juices flowing as you work to make your home office sustainable.
1. Start with the basics. It is the ideal time to think about sustainability when you are first setting up your home office . With careful planning, you can choose to repurpose your desk and office chair. Thrift stores, and other secondhand stores, often have well made options for desks. You might also find an office chair in good condition as well. You could recover the seat with some extra fabric that you have lying around your house. Instead of covering the floor with new carpet, consider bamboo flooring. This flooring is highly sustainable due, in part, to its quick growing nature.
2. Buy quality. If you are not able to find any furniture to repurpose, make sure that you buy high quality furniture made from eco-friendly materials and using eco-friendly practices. When you purchase high quality items, you will likely not have to replace them as much due to breakage. Pay particular attention to where the materials are sourced from and the processes that are used to make the furniture. You also need to be aware of how the furniture manufacturer treats their employees by ensuring that they are being paid a sustainable wage, for example.
3. Conserve resources. Once you have your home office set up, it is time to turn your attention to how you can carry your sustainability choices into your every day life. Opt to back up your important files to your hard drive rather than printing them out on paper and filing them away. If you also work out of your home office, consider printing out the necessary paperwork for clients only on an as needed basis. When it is time to print out documents, print out only one page at first. This helps to ensure that everything looks the way you want it to. Once you are pleased with the printed results, then you can safely print out the rest of the documents without the possibility of wasting paper.
When you’re looking for something to do with your children, consider taking a nature walk with them. Studies have shown nature walks improve your child’s emotional well being. Let’s take a look at how nature walks benefit your child and how to take a nature walk with your children.
Nature Walks Help Children Concentrate
Take a walk outside and you’ll notice a few things. You’ll notice you almost immediately feel calmer and more relaxed. You’ll notice your mind may stop jumping from thought to thought. Instead, of thinking about that project that’s due or that bill you have to pay, you’ll notice the rabbit sitting in the grass or the strange bird chirping in the tree. You’ll notice the colors of the leaves on the trees and feel the sunshine on your shoulders. In short, your mind clears and you begin to focus on the present moment.
The same thing happens for children. If your children are older then chances are they’re living extraordinarily busy lives. Nature walks will help them concentrate and focus on the present. In fact studies have shown that nature walks for children with attention deficit issues were just as effective if not more so than medication to improve their concentration.
Nature Walks Build Confidence
Nature walks tend to generate curiosity and a sense of exploration in children. They wonder what that funny orange moss was or why the snake was lying on that rock in the sun. This sense of wonder and curiosity helps them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s almost magical to watch children come out of their shells on a nature walk. Their shoulders straighten, their eyes light up and confidence and curiosity beam from them.
Nature Walks Boost Emotions
Many forms of therapy use Nature to treat depression, trauma, and to boost mood. This is because nature is a proven method to boost mood and reduce aggression in children. Scientists haven’t pinpointed the exact reasons why this occurs. Some theorize that sunlight has a chemical effect on mood. We do know that people suffer from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, which occurs during the long months of winter when people don’t receive enough sunlight.
Other’s have studied the effects of greenery on children and have found that children with more nature in their schools, more greenery, get better grades, have fewer behavior problems, and generally perform better in school.
If you’re new to nature walks, start small and local. Choose trails or parks nearby and let your family gradually build up to longer walks. Get your children interested by pointing out interesting features and encourage them to show you what interests them.
Many physicians and counselors actually prescribe “nature walk therapy” for their patients who are suffering from stress and anxiety issues, who have high blood pressure, depression or other mood related concerns or who need to improve their attention span.
In addition to helping children focus, giving them more self-confidence and boosting their mood, taking a nature walk with your children helps foster the bond between you and your children. It creates fond memories, lets your child know that you enjoy quiet time with them in nature and gives them an overall appreciation for life.
The sky is filled with fantasy and wonder. One can look up at those amazing stars for hours and contemplate the universe. Why not share this stargazing experience with your children?
Benefits of Stargazing with Children
Inspiring curiosity. Looking up at a night sky full of stars fills your child with wonder and delight. It sparks their imagination and their curiosity. So many questions pop into their fertile minds.
* What are the stars?
* How did they get there?
* How far away are they?
* Who put them there?
* What are they made of?
This gives you not only great insight into the mind of your children; it also gives you a valuable teaching moment. You can teach not only about science and astronomy but looking up to the sky also lends itself to wonderful religious and spiritual teaching moments.
Creating memories. What is your fondest childhood memory? For many, it’s that special one on one time with their parent(s). Stargazing provides you with that opportunity to connect with your children.
Calming. Children are so busy today they barely have time to think. If they’re not in school, they’re doing homework, playing sports, going to scouts and other after school activities, and hanging out with friends then they’re watching television, surfing the net or playing computer games. There’s very little time made for quiet.
Yet quiet time is exactly what children and adults need. Studies have shown that spending time simply looking at the sky or taking a walk in nature improves concentration, boost mood and generate feelings of well-being.
Getting Started Stargazing with Children
In order to create a memorable stargazing experience you’ll need to take a few steps. To begin with, you’ll need a comfortable place to lie down – grab a blanket and locate a place to stargaze.
If your children are younger, you may want to grab a few snacks. Decide in advance if you’re going to look at constellations. If you are, you may want to find a few pictures of the constellations show your children know what they’re looking for. Create a list of things to look find in the sky, like the North Star, Venus, the Milky Way and so on. Having a list seems to get the ball rolling and once you get them searching the night sky, they’ll take the ball and run with it.
If you have a telescope, then you can really focus on a few astronomical features, like exploring the craters on the moon.
Stargazing with your children is more than a learning opportunity, though it certainly is that, it also provides you a wonderful opportunity to connect with your children, to help them grow and foster a sense of well-being. Grab that blanket and get out there tonight!
Saving the planet, conserving and using sustainable products, has become more than a passing fad. It has evolved into a way of life. Being environmentally conscious often also means being financially conscious – it saves money. Let’s look at 7 things you can do every day to save the planet.
#1 Buy and use reusable shopping bags. Whenever you go shopping, whether it’s at the grocery store or clothing store, use reusable bags. You can often purchase these durable cloth bags at your local market or home store but you can also order designer reusable shopping bags online. You can even make your own. The cost of a reusable bag bought at the market costs just a few dollars and you’re saving the earth from overfull landfills. Plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose and paper bags use 14 million trees a year.
#2 Turn it off. Whether it’s lights or the water faucet, turn them off when you’re not using them. Every day we leave the water running while we brush our teeth, wash our face, shave and shampoo our hair. Turn it off when you’re not using it and save thousands of gallons of water each year. And if you’re in the habit of leaving the lights on when you leave the room a simple change in habit, turning them off when you leave the room, will save energy and money.
That goes for your computer too. When you’re not using it, rather than putting it into sleep mode, turn it off.
#3 Adjust your thermostat. This is an easy one. Simply lower your thermostat in the winter by 5 degrees and raise your thermostat 5 degrees in the summer and you’ll save both on your electric and gas utility bills, and you’ll save resources.
#4 Walk when you can. Walking is great exercise. It allows you to get valuable fresh air and sunshine and walking conserves fuel. If walking isn’t an option, consider a bicycle. You can cover the same amount of distance in about half the time and biking is exceptional exercise. You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to get on a bike, and your bike doesn’t need to be fancy. They’re making wonderful cruiser bikes which are comfortable and uncomplicated, no gears or disc brakes to worry about, and they’re good for holding baskets which you can fill with groceries or other items.
#5 Reduce, reuse, and recycle. We’re not just talking about the basics here. Yes, it’s great to reuse that bag your last birthday present came in however what about reusing the same water glass throughout the day to save washing the same dish repeatedly. You can also pour the stale water in your pet’s water dish into your plants. You can use food containers to pack your lunch instead of plastic baggies and plastic wrap. The options to reduce, reuse and recycle are endless. Take a look around your home and see where you can conserve
#6 When your light bulbs burn out, instead of replacing them with another standard light bulb, replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs. They’re energy smart and while they cost a touch more than a standard bulb, they last 10 times longer.
#7 As you run out of cleaning products in your home, replace them with natural or environmentally friendly cleaning products. Look for biodegradable products and if you’re unsure whether a product is environmentally safe, look for the health warnings. If it’s warning free, meaning nothing on the label says toxic, dangerous, warning or any other alarming notation, then you’re probably safe.
There are hundreds of small steps you can take every day to make the planet we live on a healthier and safer place to be. Start with these everyday tips, integrate them into your daily routine. Once they become a habit you can look for new eco friendly habits to adopt.
Birds are fantastic creatures. Not only do they serenade us with their sweet song and are lovely to watch but they also help keep our garden eco-system friendly. Birds remove a whole host of creatures and insects from the garden and help keep the vital balance in nature.
Feeding them is the number one way to increase their numbers in your garden. Here’s how to do it:
#1 – The best natural bird feeder is simply being as natural as possible in our food choices. Using natural twine, string up peanuts (in their shells) and hang from trees. You can also string up apples, rosehips, berries seed head and kitchen scraps.
Decorate your creations by tying fir cones to the bottom. For example you can attach a fir cone to the bottom of the string and place a few apples or fat balls on top. The fir cones will help the birds balance.
You can tie these edible bird feeders from old tree branches all around the garden – the more the merrier.
#2 – Construct your own feeder – This is far easier than it sounds. As long as the birds are fed you really don’t need anything fancy. An old piece of wood and something to attach it to will do – you can use the top of an old shed or a sturdy tree branch. Simply nail your platform in place and add nuts or seeds to attract the birds.
You can also use old twigs shaped and tied together to form a nest shape which you can then attach to the trees.
A pre-made bird house can be given a special touch with a little non-toxic paint and a few edible decorations such as hanging berries and peanuts.
# 3 – Don’t forget the water – Birds need hydration just like humans. If you don’t have an actual bird batch then simply add a few old pots of water throughout the garden. The birds will find their way to them and use the water to drink as well as cool down.
Making a natural bird feeder isn’t difficult. Simply use your imagination and remember the task at hand – keeping the birds fed and happy – it really doesn’t require a whole lot but you will get a lot of pleasure from enjoying these lovely creatures all year in the garden.