Earth Day and Sustainable Gardening

A brief history:
April 22nd marks the anniversary of the modern environmental movement that began in 1970. Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson, then U.S. senator from Wisconsin. Both troubled by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA and inspired by the student anti-war movement of the time, he wanted to start a national political conversation about environmental protection. On that first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million Americans rallied for a healthy and sustainable environment. Groups fighting for separate causes such as pesticide use, loss of wilderness, oil spills, and threats to wildlife unified under the banner of environmental protection. Political leaders across party lines worked together to address these common problems that harm us all. This year of action lead to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. In 1990, the movement went global with a focus on recycling. Today, the Earth Day Network is no longer a single day of action, but an ongoing campaign in areas such as renewable energy, climate change, deforestation, intersections with poverty, and student engagement and education.

Earth Day 2018, Ending Plastic Pollution:
The campaign for Earth Day 2018 is to end plastic pollution and is dedicated to “fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics.” Why is plastic pollution bad? Plastics are poisoning and injuring marine life, disrupting human hormones, littering our beaches and landscapes, and clogging our waste streams and landfills. Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces that enter the food chain and end up in the seafood that we eat. In short, plastic waste is threatening the survival of our planet.

Reduce, Reuse 
Here are Marchie’s Nursery, we are always looking for new clever ways to repurpose materials in an effort to reduce our waste and conserve resources. A few examples: the plastic mesh bags that our seed potatoes come in are used for wrapping trees to protect them for transport, shoe boxes and cardboard trays are sourced from local business for our customers to take their plants safely home in, our notepads for taking down phone messages and other communications are made from the blank sides of outdated inventory sheets, and we accept used plastic pots for reuse at the nursery.

Suggestions for reducing plastic use in the home garden:

  • Buy in bulk when possible
  • Reuse plastic soil/mulch/fertilizer bags to throw out yard waste or trash
  • Use wooden popsicle sticks or cut tags from milk jugs to mark plantings
  • Use hemp twine instead of plastic ties
  • Grow from seed and trade with friends
  • Return plastic pots to nurseries for reuse (many of our customers do this already!)

 

Resources:
https://www.earthday.org