Everyone tries to keep their lifestyle in check with more environmentally friendly habits at home, but it may be time to widen your reach. Look beyond your own domicile and help those in your community green up their lives too. You don’t have to be an “activist” to do some good for your ‘hood. Here are a few local ways to improve the environment where you live.
Plant a Tree
Or, lots of them. Find an area in your neighborhood that would be perfect for some tall, woody plants or is currently succumbing to soil erosion. Planting new trees is a great way to let nature take hold again and get a group of neighbors working together. Buy in bulk through the Arbor Day Foundation or ask a local nursery for a discount or donation. When your saplings grow larger, they’ll help cool your neighborhood, inhibit climate change, foster living habitats, and clean the air—all while increasing your property value.
Participate at the Park
Your local park or playground is a natural gathering place. These green spaces attract kids, pets, and families, and are the perfect spot to meet your friends and hang out. Help your local park continue to be a fun and relaxing place by picking up litter and collecting pet waste—even if it isn’t your own. Better yet, volunteer to help maintain or create a garden at the park. Be sure to use native species that are already familiar with the climate and soil in your area. They won’t need to be watered as often and typically require less maintenance. What about starting a community garden while you’re there?
Pick Up Litter
Look for litter beyond the park, too. While on a walk or jog around your community, carry a small trash bag with you to pick up waste. Trash that isn’t bound for recycling or a landfill sadly ends up in a stream. It’s also just plain ugly, creating a stigma that tends to promote more littering. Pursue organized litter cleanup events or create your own through Keep America Beautiful.
Get Involved in Your Watershed Group
No matter how close or far you live from the nearest stream or river, your actions affect its health. Everything on Earth rests on a watershed—the area of land around a body of water—and affects its quality. Find out which river is yours and discover if there’s a watershed group associated with it. These organizations often hold tours and educational events that teach you how to care for your watershed right from your own backyard.
One of the easiest ways to improve the environment is to recycle. A community that produces less trash by instead creating new products out of them is a great thing. Next time you’re hauling the trash and recyclables to the curb, chat with your neighbor about doing the same. To encourage others who may be less equipped, hand out recycling bags or help them replace broken bins. Go even further and volunteer with your local waste district or environmental health department.
Colony Collapse Disorder is a very real threat not only to bees, but to our food production as well. It’s not an easy job, but it’s not always an enormous commitment. Maintaining a bee hive can be quite rewarding, particularly to the bee colonies in your area. Beginner beekeeping has some strong support through major university extensions such as Ohio State, but beekeeping groups in your area can allow you to learn a great deal from those with local experience. With minimal equipment and a little space, you can get started quickly. Learn more about where to place a hive from Apiaries and Bees for Communities. Bees need a quiet spot with water and plenty of spring flowers, but the shade depends on your climate.
How else are you improving the environment where you live? Let us know in the comments or tweet @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Flickr
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.