African Garden + water

Earth Day 2009

Today is Earth Day, when we all think about things we can do to promote the health of the planet. It's a bittersweet day, sad that there is a need for Earth Day at all. Once, the skies were always the clear blue shown in the above photo, but too often now, the skies in too many places are hazy and filled with pollution. Our rivers and lakes are tainted with chemicals. The good part is that we humans have finally realized the damage caused by the past 150 or so years of industrialization, and we are starting to attempt to remediate the damage. Here are some things I've done to think globally and act locally:I've reduced the size of the lawn

and replaced it with natives and well-behaved exotics that can get by on less moisture and don't need to be mowed every week;

planted trees and maintained the existing trees to provide cooling for people;

planted native plants to provide food

and shelter for wildlife, and to avoid the need for fertilizers;

and, most recently, got a rainbarrel

to reduce my reliance on the limited aquifers that supply water to my village. During the drought of 2005, my village imposed a complete ban on watering. I was limited to hauling the dehumidifier water and the water from the shower up stairs and outside in a bucket. I'll still be doing that, but if I had had a rainbarrel back then, I might have been able to save a couple of shrubs that died from drought. One thing I don't have is a raingarden, which may seem surprising until you take into account the incredibly well-drained nature of my soil. It's rare to find a puddle in the garden or lawn, even after that deluge last September. Someday, I hope to replace the asphalt of the driveway with permeable pavers. That would reduce the sole source of runoff from the property.There's plenty of room for improvement here; I'm definitely not any competition for Ed Begley, Jr. However, little things in aggregate can have a big impact. Happy Earth Day!

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Earth Day 2009 + water