Today, April 22 is Earth Day! Earth Day has been around a long time, in fact, I can’t remember a year without it. I had to look and see how it got started (one site I think did the history well was the EPA). I read several websites and realized that the earliest years of my life didn’t have Earth Day officially, but those years were marked by the protests that led to the creation of a day set aside to focus national attention on the environment. And later that year the EPA was created.
Knowing the day was created to get people to focus on the environment, I have to say that just sounds like a weird deal. The fact is though, there are probably lots of Americans who likely don’t think about the environment very often. I don’t know too many of those folks though. The folks I know, tend to have worked environmental respect into their daily routines.
- My 15 year old nephew was recently at my house and enjoyed a IZZE (the clementine flavor which is both of our favorites!) He finished the drink and went to put it in the kitchen and then came back asking where he should put it for recycling. Recycling for my family extends to all sorts of things! Curbside programs in town are a great way to participate with things that just went in the trash when I was a kid. There’s a great list of Memphis resources here. With household items, clothes, etc, we rarely throw stuff away, just find it a new home! My sister’s classroom, a yard sale, friends or family, a charity we like, etc. If we think something could be useful to others after fulfilling its time in one of our homes, it is offered up.
- One of my #FoodChat friends, ChrissieM from Australia, shares the recycling bug (she also shares her birthday celebration with Earth Day!). And she also pointed out a great environmental activity — she plants native trees and plants! That means things I don’t see a lot of as Chrissie plants eucalyptus, banksia, bottle brush, and the national emblem, wattle (yes, I had to google them!). This is something that makes so much sense that we have had major efforts to do it along our highways in the US thanks to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The Center has a great reference that can help you discover native plants for your area. Plants that thrive where you are take advantage of the environment as-is AND make for a beautiful landscape.
- Pamela Bartholomew (Twitter & blog) works with the Tennessee Ag Department doing agritourism. Her family farm includes cattle, hogs and goats! To keep their carbon footprint down, the family purchases all the feed they use locally. In fact, she’s proud to point out that it comes from within 7 miles of the family farm!
- I didn’t talk to Annie Havens my good friend & Skype buddy with @GreenSoil (blog/site) and a famous Moo Pea Tea sells a product in home-sized versions that farmers and ranchers have used for generations! Manure is a great fertilizer! She is great friends with the #gardenchat peeps that are so fun to talk to!
- #Blogchat buddy Jason Houck (Twitter & blog) who lives in Hickory, NC is doing his part to conserve water by turning it off when he’s not using it. Even during simple things like shaving or brushing your teeth, turning the water off makes a difference.
- One of the dairy folks I met on Twitter, Rob Hull of Hull Dairy, told me that conserving electricity in innovative ways was something their dairy checked into early. One of the things they do conserves resources while getting the milk to the desired temperature quickly. To do that, they have a plate cooler that uses water to help cool the milk faster. The warm water is sent to cows for them to drink! So I could understand, Rob sent me more info from the Center for EcoTechnology.
- With those two folks talking about water, I just feel I have to point out it is DEFINITELY one of our most precious resources so limiting waste like Jason does or finding ways to use it most effectively like Rob, conservation totally rocks! Folks at my office – yep, Monsanto – are also finding ways to do this through breeding improved lines, developing new agronomic practices and working on biotechnology. More info at improveagriculture.com. And of course farmers and lots of others are developing other innovative ways to conserve water, soil, fuel, etc.
- Tim Bryan of GreenLeaf BBQ in Livermore, California tells me they source many local and all natural BBQ products. I love the fact he adds that they never use disposable cook utensils and use minimal paper in the business. (Tim should update his blog a bit more 😉 )
Building List of Blog Links on Friday
- My friend Darin Grimm wrote an Earth Day post too. Love the farmer viewpoint.
- Friends at Griggs Dakota have a couple of great posts you should check out that talk about the things they do on their farm http://bit.ly/64Bxwa and http://bit.ly/9Kdt3F are the links!
- Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy posted about Earth Day – it even includes a MooTube minute talking about how his family & others care
- My coworker Glynn reflects on the first Earth Day and how his family is observing this one, as well as the similarities of farmers who love the Earth
- Jeff Fowle talks about some of the things he’s got going on at his northern California ranch that reflect the Earth Day spirit.
- The folks at Tanglewood Farm are limiting electricity today and have a number of things they do daily to keep a smaller footprint and in Xan’s baking world she made Earth Day scones (and now I’m hungry!)
- Another colleague, Michael Doane, is launching a new blog series on improveag.com with a few questions. We’d love your ideas.
- My friend and Texas cotton farmer Steve Olson wrote a guest post on some of the changes he’s seen in the past 20 years.
- Michigan dairy pal Ashley Messing talks about some of the things her family does with the environment top of mind.