Earth Day: Time to take good care and at the same time, perhaps go without

There is something to be said for this idea of doing/going without. This is what this Earth Day (Apr. 22nd) message is about.

I look around, take an inventory of my personal space and, lo and behold, I find there are things in my life that could be done differently.

Inner space

Starting with the kitchen sink area, one of the most perplexing issues was how to keep the rest on which the dishwashing sponge sat from getting a buildup of mold on it. After repeated washings – in the automatic dishwasher, hand-scrubbing with a used toothbrush – I just up and threw the sponge rest away. Well, that was one way of solving this problem, maybe not the ideal solution, but it was effective.

Next has to do with food scraps – in other words, what to do with them. Many people know this story all too well.

But how we dispose of it, like grinding it up in the garbage disposer, throwing it in the under-the-sink kitchen waste container eventually making its way out with the rest of the home refuse, or sorting out the compostable material with what or from what would otherwise be landfill bound, can make all the difference in the world, and on Earth Day, that could be a big deal. Seriously.

And, then there’s the interior cleaning and vacuuming matter. Using products that are non-toxic but effective for me is the way to go. A vacuum cleaner that is bag-less and has a HEPA filter is ideal – in my view. Helps keep things like dust and allergens out of the air while cleanup is being done.

Oh, and one more thing. In California, a plastic bag ban is now in effect. Grocery stores and the like are required to observe the mandate and thus could have a huge, positive environmental impact and probably will.

Tinkering in the yard

This one’s easy. Keeping with the doing/going without theme, there is lawn mowing, edging, sweeping absent any harmful fumes. I’ve been over this ground several times before, but always bears repeating. So many of the implements available for taking care of the yard are rechargeable-battery operated. I know when I’m doing my own yard-grooming, cleanup work, I’m not polluting the air with toxic fumes. And, I have to tell you: it is a much more pleasant experience and seems less like a chore. Moreover, I’m not the type of homeowner who must have their yard manicured once a week, every week. I wait until the grass gets taller than most in my neighborhood, saving the mowing, etc. for a day more conducive to this type of activity (when air is cleaner; weather cooler) and for the residue cleanup part, I use a dustpan and broom. It may take longer to complete the yard work itself this way, but, I don’t mind, really.

As with yardwork, I know homeowners don’t all do their own landscape work, but I have ever since owning my own home. My second house I bought new. I was able to start from scratch and I opted for a xeriscape. In fact, the home’s backyard I terraced using railroad ties and planted shrubs, trees and ground cover all watered courtesy of a built-in sprinkler system (in back) and drip irrigation (in front). This yard definitely took a lot of work to maintain, but I didn’t miss a grass lawn one bit.

Living in my third home now and for more than 20 years, it’s back to mowing, but in a way where I am not required to drive to the gas station every so often to fill up a portable container with gas, which don’t miss doing at all. I gotta tell ya.

Less is more

So, you see, doing/going without can be an added plus.

Whoever it was who coined the expression “less is more,” well, they knew of which they were talking.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Images: United States Department of Agriculture (upper); NASA (lower)

This post was last revised on Apr. 21, 2020 @ 7:35 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

– Alan Kandel

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