Green Living: Wildlife & Agriculture Tips

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Water Consumption

According to the American Water Works Association Americans use nearly 347,000 million gallons of freshwater each day. Up to 70 percent of the water used is spread on lawns and gardens. An average family uses 69.3 gallons per day, a good portion (over 66 percent) is used in showers, washing machines and on toilet flushing. Here are some tips to conserve water:

1. Stop leaks.

2. Replace old toilets with more water efficient models.

3. Time to get a new close washer

4. Plant trees, vegetation and flowers that are right for your local climate.

5. Water your plants and lawn only when they need it

   

Wetlands

Wetlands are the transition between land and water. These areas are where the flow of water, the mixture of nutrients and the sun's energy collect to develop an ecosystem of water, soil and vegetation. There are four types of wetlands in the United States (marshes, swamps, bogs and fens). These areas provide a home for thousands of animal, bird, aquatic and plant species. Not only are they the habitat for wildlife, they provide flood control when rivers overrun. Wetlands absorb some of the overflow and slow floodwaters. It is estimated that the United States loses nearly 60,000 acres of wetlands eliminating the habitat for many creatures and is creating greater flooding. The Environmental Protection Agency is working to provide protection for wetlands and is working with other agencies and organizations to further protect, monitor and even restore wetlands.

   

Vanishing Bird Environments

The loss of land is a major threat to birds native to certain areas. Forests are constantly being cut down and eliminated so the land can be used for development, roadways and utilities. Millions of acres are disappearing, which means the habitat of wildlife including birds. Nearly 60 percent of the 740 million acres of forested land is held by private non-industrial and small landowners. These people make the decisions on how to use our the forests, which leaves bird habitats in danger of elimination. The National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy have programs that identify and bring attention to areas that are important to species of birds and their survival. Protecting and taking care of large pieces of land is a major step in saving bird habitats.

   

Ethanol

Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that is made from a renewable source. It is grain alcohol at its most basic. Ethanol is produced from crops such as corn. Pure ethanol is not used as motor fuel, instead a percentage is used along with gasoline. Benefits of using ethanol include: -Lower Fuel Costs -Increase in the octane rating of the fuel -Decrease in gasoline emissions -Reduction in United States dependence of foreign fuel -Use of domestically grown corps Any mixture of ethanol can be combined with gas, but these are the more common mixtures:

E10: A blend of 10 percent Ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline. This mixture is approved for use in any gas-consuming automobile made in the United States. Many automakers recommend using E10 because of it high-performance, clean-burning characteristics. Nearly one-third of our domestically produced gasoline is blended with ethanol.

E85: This is an alternative fuel with a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline. This is for use in Flexible fuel vehicles (FFV). More than four million FFV vehicles are on the road. More are being produced and E85 pumps are being installed in gas stations.

   

Green Seal

Green Seal is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to provide science-based environmental certification standards that are credible, transparent and essential to an educated and competitive society. Green Seal uses their knowledge and expertise to help end users and manufactures to make responsible choices that benefit businesses and protects the environment. Green Seal certifies nearly everything from coffee to air conditioners. Their seal can be found in many leading stores around the country. Companies can get their products certified at Green Seal by filling out the preliminary application at greenseal.org.

   

Organic Gardening

What is organic gardening? It is gardening without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on the plants. But, it is much more than this. Organic gardening is creating a whole natural system encompassing plants, water, soil, wildlife and insects. An organic gardener aims to work in harmony within the system while minimizing and replenishing the resources used. The soil is the starting point in the organic garden. Gardeners continuously add local organic matter to the ground such as grass clippings and vegetable kitchen scraps. These items help add nutrients to the soil important in growing your plants. Encourage natural predators of harmful garden bugs to roam freely in your plot. Frogs, birds, lizards and even ladybugs will help control pests. Make your garden an environment for these creatures. By doing this you help eliminate the need for pesticides and further harm to the environment. Water only when needed. Over watering can damage plants. Collect rainwater to use as watering. This is a great way to recycle natures showers.

   

The Future Of Seafood

Environmental issues, climate change and the consumer demand have contributed to certain populations of fish almost being eliminated from the face of the earth. Species such as Chilean seabass, monkfish, Atlantic cod and certain sharks are at dangerously low levels. You can take part in the future of these fish. Your choice of seafood can help determine their future by the principals of market supply and demand. The Seafood Wallet Card from The Audubon/Wildlife Conservation Society provides the state of fish in order form the least problematic at the top of the list to the most problematic at the bottom. The card is available at www.wcs.org/gofish.

   

Earth Day

The first Earth Day was held in 1970 as a grassroots movement to bring attention to the environment throughout the nation and the world. Senator Gaylord Nelson took a leading role in organizing the initial celebration. Nearly 20 million people take part around the world. Every year on April 22, the world recognizes Earth Day. But, to some everyday is Earth Day. Every single day we should all do at least one thing to make the world better. We can do this by walking or riding a bike when we have an opportunity rather than drive or by eliminating wasteful water usage. The future of our globe is in our hands. What we do now will determine the usefulness of our world for us and our future generations.

   

Pest Control Without Chemicals

Wouldn't it be nice to keep pests away from your plants and flowers outside without using pesticides that contaminate the ground? There are natural options to consider. Natural controls: Natural predators such as birds, toads and frogs dine on insects. Purple Martins love insects, as do bats. You can install a Purple Martin house near your gardens to welcome these helpers. Bugs including ladybugs, spiders, dragonflies, centipedes and ground beetles will feed on many of the garden pests. By Hand: Handpick or use a spade or hoe to pick and cut up weeds. Use natural mulch to help eliminate the growth of weeds. You can also pick pests from your plants or use a swatter. Set traps to control rodents and large bugs. These suggestions help you raise a natural garden eliminating the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

   

Creating A Green Environment In Your Backyard

Creating an environmentally friendly habitat for plants and wildlife is not that difficult at all. Here are some tips to create your own Green World: -Plant only trees common to the area -Do not replant flowers from the wild -Use only bulbs from cultivated stock -Use compost, grass clippings and vegetable table scraps to enrich the soil and eliminate the use of fertilizers -Never use pesticides. Encourage the presence of natural predators such as birds, frogs and ladybugs. -Use items such as buckets to collect rainwater to water your plants.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Candi Wingate