What did you do for Earth Day?

I have to admit I didn't do anything special. I had back to back meetings at work so I was off site most of the day driving alone in my car; not very environmentally friendly. There isn't any public transportation for outside of Valparaiso and the country roads aren't suited to bikes with people whipping around at 55 miles an hour. I wish there was someone to carpool with, but I think I'm the only employee in this part of town and I work pretty unique hours; 7-4 Sunday through Thursday.

I may not be able to cut down on my mileage to work and back but I can cut down on my mileage in the garden. Taltree has a number of golf carts and such to move its employees around inside the arboretum. They are all gas or diesel powered and they are much faster than walking. This week I decided to only use the carts if I had to move more stuff than I could carry, such as, when I needed to transport plants or take large tarps full of weeds out to the compost pile. I had my seasonal gal do the same.

It was an improvement in so many ways. Walking allowed me to see the gardens from the visitor's perspective. It helped me see areas that need work. Walking made me more efficient, not in how fast I got places, but I came more prepared because I knew I couldn't just zip back if I forgot a rake or my pruners. I also worked for longer in one area. I made fewer trips to the compost pile. Instead I made bigger piles and each cart load I took was full. I also saw that carts are disruptive. Visitors come to the arboretum and gardens to enjoy nature and relax. Look at the Taltree website, "Come on in," it says, "Unwind." It's hard to enjoy nature when golf carts are buzzing back and forth on the pathways you are wandering down. It's much nicer to see a gardener walk by. The last and most obvious benefit is we used less gas.

I am going to make this a permanent change for me. I will walk unless I need to haul more than I can carry myself. I will encourage my seasonal helper to do the same.

What improvements are you making in your life to be more Earth friendly?


  1. Lynette4/23/2010

    I spent the morning at my community garden plot putting in potatoes, shallots, a few herb and flower seeds. When I ran out of garden labels, I found some discarded bamboo poles and then resorted to sticks which made me feel earth friendly. Saw two snakes as I searched for sticks. I drove to my garden plot but ran two errands on the way. A good Earth Day for me.

    I'm reading Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden: The Classic Account of Hidatsa American Indian Gardening Techniques. Very interesting. I'm glad someone had the foresight back in 1917 to conduct these interviews.

  2. I car pooled from Bemidji to St. Paul and back with two fellow foresters who are much more experienced and much more powerful than me. It was entertaining, enlightening and saved some gas!

  3. I am an elementary teacher, so I took my students outside for every class. We spent a few minutes each time talking about the earth, ways to take care of it, what makes it special, etc. We even went on a scavenger hunt for things like: 3 different shades of green, 2 unique bird songs, 1 fun shape the clouds make. Children these days spend so much time indoors playing video games that I fear they don't often appreciate what's all around us.