In honor of Earth day, educator Chelle M. decided to extend the celebrations to Earth week. She took the initiative to start a 7-day sustainability challenge during which she shared great resources and pieces of advice on sustainability and more eco-friendly habits for each day of the week, all of which you can find in the article down below.
Earth day + 1 | Our Digital Carbon Footprint
(taken from 8 Ways to Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint - which has some good advice including dimming screen brightness and adjusting your power settings)
Liam and Maria from CM2 gave a presentation on how our use of digital devices leaves a carbon footprint (bigger than you might have thought... ) so here are some steps according to Liam and Maria you can take right now to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Limit buying new tech devices (and choose companies that value sustainability practices)
2. Reduce screen time when poss - do you need all 3,4,5 devices going at the same time?
3. Downloading instead of streaming (vid, podcasts, music)
4. Use wifi rather than 4G
5. Unsubscribe from emails
6. Lower the resolution for Youtube and Netflix
7. Ecosia - and others - that donate or plant trees when used
Earth Day + 2 | Sustainable Coffee
How about establishing good habits around our coffee (and other hot drinks) consumption that we can consider continuing once we have the freedom to move around our communities?
Brewing Coffee at Home:
Aside from saving money... homebrew allows you to be in control of the 'behind the counter' practices that may also be unsustainable in a number of ways. Here are some tips about being sustainable home brewers:
1. Reduce excess brewing waste by using a reusable filter for your drip brewer,
2. Consider refillable or 100% compostable pods for your Keurig or similar system.
**A further note about drip coffee makers... they are often made out of plastic and cheaply made (needing to be replaced).
3. A simple French press system avoids this problem.
4. A variety of pour-over systems (some of them more portable - for future traveling, than others) are available.
5. Consider composting your used grounds after brewing (more on composting on Earth Day +4)
6. Buying ethically sourced coffee from companies that have CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices in place.
Other hot drinks... (hmmm like hot water?)
It is all in HOW you heat it!
Consider the most energy-efficient way to heat water... it is a toss-up between a kettle (which is on average 80% efficient) and a microwave (which is only 50%) efficient.
So why would we say it's a toss-up? It comes down to human behavior... you are typically more inclined to heat more water in a kettle than you are going to drink and therefore you end up using more energy each time you boil water. With a microwave, you tend to boil exactly the amount you are going to use.
Sooo - consider boiling only what you need in your kettle for that cup of delish hot water
Earth Day + 3 | Mindfulness Activity (Earth Day Focused)
Mindfulness is such a powerful practice - one that can be uplifting and supportive while helping us to be more focused. Today we are invited to consider Ubuntu in the sense that we are connected to our community and the whole Earth is our community.
There are different apps for mindfulness/meditation (here are some suggested by Tiffany and Lexie:
The following mindfulness sequence is taken from a blog post from Elisha Goldstein, a clinical psychologist - A 7 Step Meditation to Start Your (Earth) Day! published 20 Apr, 2018.
While it’s wonderful that we designate a particular day each year to celebrate Earth Day, how awesome would it be if we could embrace that awareness every single day? Nurturing feelings of connection to, and gratitude for, this earth not only ensures that we respect it more, it also feels good, which boosts well-being.
For today you might consider this sequence:
Find yourself a comfortable spot (hopefully you can sit outside in a yard, or on a balcony, or by a window...) and follow the sequence (maybe pre-read it and then settle in for a self guided session).
I invite you to drop your shoulders, settle in, and enjoy a meditation in appreciation of this glorious Earth of ours. You can practice this today, tomorrow, and any day you feel inclined.
7-Step Meditation to Celebrate Earth Day (everyday!)
Start off by sitting in a comfortable position – close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths.
Consider what the world needs more of – kindness, reverence for nature, respect for life, safe sanctuaries for wildlife, rain forests that provide unique ecosystems to support all forms of life.
Consider what the world needs less of – global stress, human disconnection, over-consumption, exploitation of species, world hunger, pollution.
Sense your connection to this planet – remember that you were born on/to this planet and it sustains your life.
Use your breath – come back to the breath, sensing it coming in then going out as it’s happening, breath by breath. As you’re breathing, imagine yourself as a conduit for this planet where whatever you breathe in the planet receives, and whatever you breathe out, the planet releases. Take a moment and breathe in whatever you feel is healthy and nourishing for the earth, then breathe out, releasing what is unhealthy or depleting to the planet. Repeat this process – breathe in what is healthy, visualizing the earth taking this nourishment through you, and breathe out what is unwanted, as you visualize the earth releasing any toxic forces, pain, and/or suffering.
Rest in heart – taking a moment to go deeper, allow yourself to settle into the feeling of giving that is here, to the feeling of a grounded and open heart.
Bring it to a close with intention – place your hands on your abdomen or heart and consider repeating this intention back to yourself for today: May I live each moment with compassion and awareness for this precious home and the life it sustains, including my own.
Now make a commitment to yourself to live in a way that expresses deep love for the planet and all life. Allow your wellspring for loving the planet to feel limitless and acknowledge how your actions have an effect on all living things.
Earth Day + 4 | Composting Food Waste
What is the deal with food waste?
When food is wasted, all of the resources used to produce it are also wasted; think of the freshwater used to grow the fruit, vegetables, and grains as well as soil nutrients containing nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Like all living organisms, plants are made up of cells. Within these cells occur numerous metabolic chemical reactions that are responsible for growth and reproduction including carbon. Since plants do not eat food like animals, they depend on nutrients in the soil to provide the basic chemicals for these metabolic reactions. The supply of these components in the soil is limited, however, and as plants are harvested, it dwindles, causing a reduction in the quality and yield of plants.
While fruit, vegetables, and grains are essential staples of a healthy diet, what we do with the scraps (skin we peel, bruises we cut off, ends we discard) is food waste (including things like coffee grounds). The carbon in the food waste combines with additional oxygen to form methane (CH4) which is a more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2).
If you are a vegetarian or vegan because you feel that eating is meat is unsustainable (bad for the environment) - think about how food waste adds to methane:
Methane is produced naturally when vegetation is burned, digested or rotted without the presence of oxygen. Large amounts of methane are released by cattle farming, waste dumps, rice farming, and the production of oil and gas.
LET'S GET REAL ABOUT COMPOSTING!
Find out more about the issue and how to make your own composting system at home from this GOA Catalyst Conference post from Abigail - Making Composting Accessible:
Tips for making compost - check out the Eden Project's simple to follow guide for a fuller commitment to composting.
Here is the golden rule of composting... make sure you layer and keep a balance of greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon).
(from Guide to Home Composting):
Earth Day + 5 | Planting and Gardening
Now that you are considering composting your food waste, why not consider some small or large scale gardening?
Indoor or Outdoor Herb Gardening
While we were in Melbourne, we planted and maintained (basically just watered) an herb garden that supplied us with fresh herbs for cooking. The advantages are plentiful:
1. Cooking with fresh herbs adds flavour
2. You can harvest your herbs just before cooking, ensuring they are not wilted
3. Your herbs are always available to you, no hassle of purchasing fresh herbs at a store
4. No packaging issues
5. Growing herbs is a calming and rewarding process
6. Herb gardens are an esthetic addition to your home
Earth Day + 6 | Planting and Gardening Part 2
You are totally stoked about planting and gardening and are ready to move to a larger scale (outdoors? hydroponics?)
Consider these statistics/advantages (passed along to us by Elyce who is embracing outdoor veggie gardening ATM - https://www.deep-roots-project.org/9-get-involved ** which by the way has great tips for gardening including planning, planting, and maintaining:
First time growing edibles?
Do you have an existing garden and want some ideas for increasing sustainability? Consider some of these ideas that Lee Carlton and his family have incorporated into their garden beds:
1. Using rain barrels to collect rain water
2. Drip irrigation system
3. Planting and positioning native plants
4. Use organic fertilizers (and compost)
5. Get your supplies from local shops and nurseries
6. Look into planting trees
Find more details in the attachment!
Consider a hydroponic garden... you can do this on a very small scale (indoors) or take on a larger project.
Kratky Method using mason jars - Small Scale.
pro-tips for Kratky method:
1. cover your mason jar (with paper is fine) so that algae doesn't grow in the water (but leave a slit so you can see the root systems)
2. you can make your own net pots from small plastic containers you might already have around the house
3. lighting is important - pick an area by a window or use grow lights
4. search for more 'how to' or DIY videos to get ideas (there are tons out there)